We don’t want to commit to come back to West Yellowstone tonight and therefore take all our belongings with us and leave the Moose Creek Inn at 8:00 am. Before heading into the park we fill up gasoline and clean the windshield. It is around 30 Fahrenheit (0 Celsius) again this morning and the water freezes on the windshield. The sky is clear blue and we are driving east again into the sun, which came up only a short while ago.
Our plan is to drive all the way to Hayden Valley again to maybe find some bears today. The owner of the Motel told us that they are most active the first 2 hours after the sunrise. After a few miles into the park we get stopped and have to wait about 20 minutes at a construction site (they are redoing the roads and probably want to finish before the first snow falls).
At Madison we turn left towards Norris and there we take a right towards Canyon Village. Since it is that cold we see the steam from the Norris Basin rising into the sky and change our minds: we turn around and go to the Norris Basin first.
It is amazing and looks completely different in the morning sun with that much more steam than two days ago in the afternoon, when it was almost 50 Fahrenheit (20 Grad) warmer. We spend almost 3 hours walking around and taking pictures (Marco takes about 480 pictures!). At first we were dressed with three layers of clothes and at the end we were down to one layer and I had a whole bunch of warm clothes under my arm. This second visit was well worth it!
At around noon we arrive at Canyon Village. From there I call the Moose Creek Inn and leave a message asking if we could have the room again for another night. Then we head south and take the next road left towards the “North Rim”. This is the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, impressive with its colors and steep slopes and deep down in the canyon the Yellowstone River. Yesterday we had a look into the same canyon from the South Rim.
Eventually, we arrive at Hayden Valley. The light today is amazing, the colors of these meadows and grassland are breathtaking. Buffalos are everywhere to be seen either singe animals or in herds, Canada Geese are swimming in Yellowstone River and Coyotes are chasing their prey. We drive all the way to the lake. We park and walk over the Yellowstone River bridge and down to the lake shore. It is indescribable, everything is perfect: the light, the colors and the scenery.
Late afternoon we start driving back the same way we came. At one of the pull-outs along the road we see a whole bunch of people pointing their cameras and binoculars all in one direction. We are trying to find what they are seeing, but fail. I get out of the car and ask a guy. He immediately offers me to look through his camera: a bear with her young! They are very far away though and despite our big zoom lens they are too far away to take pictures. But, at least we have seen them!
Today we return to the motel a bit earlier. Arriving there the owner tells us that they actually didn’t have any rooms available anymore and that he upgraded us to a cabin – we thankfully accept. The cabin is very cosy, it has a living room with kitchenette and a separate bedroom, it is all made out of wood (Blockhuette) – we think about staying for while.
Dinner is cheap today: Kentucky Fried Chicken (well, it fulfilled the purpose). Back in the room we look through the more than 800 pictures of the day and weed the few not-so-good ones out.