arch at north entrance to Yellowstone


In my mind, I have made Yellowstone larger than life.  We traveled there when our children were young and we have talked about it ever since.  As an outdoor lover, this park is everything. Going there for the second time could have let us down, but it didn’t.

North entrance to Yellowstone
geyser at Yellowstone
river running through Yellowstone

our rental

Yellowstone was really just a part of our return home from Glacier.  Since we had been there before, we had in mind what we wanted to see and do most.  Our rental at the north entrance pleasantly surprised us with a lovely apartment all decked out in bison, a beautiful outdoor area, and a view of the Park.  Oh, and don’t let me forget to mention that we were met by a whole herd of elk lying about just below our apartment.

Buffalo Room, Gardiner, Montana
Elk at our rental
Airbnb at north entrance to Yellowstone

on the hunt for wildlife inside Yellowstone National Park

We went inside the park that evening because we knew we were only going to have one full day there.  While there, we caught a beautiful sunset, spent some time at Mammoth Hot Springs, and saw pronghorn, elk and bison.  The next morning we woke up really early and were in the park by around 6.  It wasn’t long until we saw our first black bear.  There were also numerous bison and elk.  As we traveled through the park looking at the soaring views, we tried to compare them to Glacier. The two parks have an entirely different feel, so we decided there was no comparison.  We knew we wanted to do Lamar and Hayden Valleys to look for wildlife so that was on the agenda for the day.

First of all, we were a little disappointed not to be able to observe the wolf pack that is commonly seen at Lamar valley.  We had brought binoculars; however, a spotting scope is what those who were seeing the wolves were using.  We were happy to see the bison herds with their babies and a couple of coyotes and some mule deer, but our search was not over.  Spotting a grizzly was really important to us, especially me.  We got lucky and saw another black bear as we traveled toward Beartooth Highway. 

Finally, grizzlies in Yellowstone

After spending a little time in Silver Gate and eating a late breakfast at a rustic cafe, we re-entered the park.  We decided to try a little dirt road that led about a mile along a stream.  As we were coming back out, dejected that we still hadn’t caught sight of a grizzly, I saw something brown at the edge of some pines. I immediately realized it was not only one but two grizzlies.  Grabbing the binoculars, I jumped out of the car and told Kenny to get the camera.  By the time he got the car off the road, the grizzlies were not in range for our phone cameras.  We watched them for about fifteen minutes with the binoculars thinking how blessed we were to witness this part of creation.

Later in the day, we saw another grizzly and some amazing bull elk and lots more bison with their sweet calves.  All in all, the wildlife hunting adventure was a great success.  We also revisited some of the geysers and waterfalls that we remembered from before.  By suppertime, we were so tired we could hardly make it back to Gardiner, where we were staying.  We ate a quick, not so great dinner, and headed back to our lovely abode for the evening.  That little bit of rest was just what we needed to get us ready for the next leg of our journey that would lead us back toward Kentucky.

bison at Yellowstone
black bear at Yellowstone
elk at Yellowstone

east entrance

Early the next morning we headed out through the park toward the east entrance.  We stopped at a few more geysers and mineral pools on the way and also couldn’t pass up photographing a few more wildflowers.  It was so hard for us to leave this amazing place thinking it could be another twenty years before we visited again.

As we passed through the east entrance, we could see that we were in for an amazing drive. That made leaving a little easier.  The Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway from the park to near Cody, Wyoming was nothing short of amazing.  The red rock cliffs and canyons were otherworldly.  We stopped in historic Cody to buy some souvenirs and had lunch at The Irma, Buffalo Bill’s restaurant. We then headed to Casper for the night.  Everyone we met in Wyoming were friendly folks and we definitely want to visit again someday! If you are interested in any of our tips for traveling west, take a look at Reflections from the Road.

wildflowers at Yellowstone
Mammoth mineral springs at Yellowstone
scenery leaving East entrance of Yellowstone

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