Odometer: approx. 16,570
We just cannot leave yet. The weather is still nice and warm, even though there is a 30% chance of rain today. But, we feel we have to go towards the east entrance, Lamar Valley, again. We liked it so much and, first, did not have enough time there and, second, for some reason the camera messed up some of the top shots Marco took.
Since yesterday was such an exhausting long day, we take it a bit slower today. We drive past the Norris Basin towards Canyon Village and there turn north. About half way to Tower Roosevelt we pass Mount Washburn and a couple miles later turn right into a gravel road that leads further up at the back side of Mount Washburn. The view from up here is breathtaking. We see the vast valleys and mountains to the east, north and west – and this is only part of Yellowstone. We also see where the fires are still burning.
The current weather condition with the approaching rain clouds pushes the smoke down into the valley. It’s laying there heavily as we drive through. It’s getting better the closer we come to Tower Roosevelt, where we turn right and leave the smoke behind us.
On the way we see a small group of Aspen trees between the road and Yellowstone river. The leafes have all colors from green to golden and even red and with the sun the trees are literally shining. This is fall pure!
Roosevelt Lodge is already closed for the season, so we head on without coffee and snacks and turn right towards the north east exit.
We drive through the Lamar Valley again. The atmosphere today is completely different than it was yesterday. The rain clouds approach slowly but surely and offer a fascinating change of light and shade. We see buffalo again, but no coyotes and magpies, the carcass is gone, some animal must have carried away what was left of it.
Early afternoon, close to the park exit, we turn around and start driving back the same way we came. We pass the first rain clouds – for us the first real rain in months!
At the Norris Basin, thick, black rain clouds are hanging in the sky and are threatening to unload. We think that this change of sun and black clouds must provide a special atmosphere at the Basin and park the car. Once more (for the third time) we head down to the geysers and Marco takes some really great pictures. The clouds are approaching quickly though and we have to hurry back, we hear thunder rolling and indeed get wet on the last 200 yards.
Between Madison and West Yellowstone we suddenly see a whole lot of people standing at Gibbon River, we join them and soon see what they see: otters! Two otters are playing in the water, it is like watching a movie, they are really showing off just in front of us. We stay there for quite a while because we just cannot get enough.
We finally leave Yellowstone with a heavy heart. It is hard to leave, but we tell ourselves that we always can come back – and, we definitely will!
The girl at the Moose Creek Inn gives us the names of a few more restaurants in town that are still open. So we are having dinner at the “Three Bear Restaurant” – finally something else than Pizza!