Jake, Tony, & Veronika went up earlier on Friday. Kelly & I took off after work. It’s about a 6 hour drive. It was pretty dark by the time we got close to the park. About 20 miles from the inn, we saw a lumbering shadow. I think we both realized it was a bear about the same time. We squealed like little girls and held hands for about a mile. The bear was just walking on the side of the road but it couldn’t have been more than 5 to 10 feet from the car. That’s the closest I’ve been to a bear in the wild for sure. I said a prayer, talked Kelly through some breathing exercises, and then we sang primary songs for most of the rest of the drive.
We stayed at the Old Faithful Inn. Normally I prefer to tent camp, however this trip was different than other trips. Also the cold and the bear sighting had me very happy to be indoors. Plus the inn was really cool. It’s been around for a really long time. It’s a legitimate log built building. The main part of the building/lobby is open all the way to the ceiling which is really high up. I was fascinated by the architecture and original hardware of the building.
Our room was about the size of my bedroom and had 2 queen beds and a sink. Our room was a great deal because it didn’t have its own bathroom. There was a community bathroom with showers down the hall. The tiling in the bathroom was very cool. The real gem for me was one an employee showed us a room with two big, old soaking tubs. Each had its separate room off the main hall.
Saturday I took a peak out the window and saw a geyser going off and assumed it was Old Fiathful. It turns out it was actually Beehive which is rare cause it goes off when it wants to and only once or twice a day.
We got up and went exploring around the upper geyser basin. That’s were Old Faithful is located (hence Old Faithful Inn). Jake made exploring that area even better by sharing his vast knowledge about not just each geyser or pool, but the processes that create them.
I realized how amazing that whole area really is. Also, I realized what a dynamic and living environment it is. Part aesthetics, part science, all awesome.
We brought our own breakfast and lunch stuff, but ate dinner Saturday night in the dining room at the inn. The food was pretty good. I tried everyone’s meals of course. I liked everything. We took our time and had a great meal and conversation. Right after we ordered a couple of desserts, the fire alarm went off and the inn was completely evacuated into the chilly night. I think some other guests were irritated but our group and some others had fun with it. Several of the dinner groups took the opportunity to dine and dash apparently. We went back, got our dessert, and even paid for our meal.
We played a little “durak “ on the balcony to the lobby on our floor. This is a Russian card game Veronika taught us. It was fun. I was beat and went to bed around 11:30.
Sunday I was first up at about 8:00 am. I went and used one of the soaking tubs. It was fabulous. It was so nice. Some day I will have a deep tub. In my dream home, I don’t need a big bathroom; I just need a deep tub. I was still the only one up so I went around the inn and outside and took some pictures, made friends with a little family from Bombai, and learned about the skeletal structure of bison (very interesting, don’t irritate them, they will mess you up).
I'll share with you a little something I picked up about the naming of geysers and hot pools. If it's named after you, you're either really rich or you died in it. I think I'll play it safe and just hope I never have one named after me.
We packed up and headed out first to Upper Geyser Basin. It think that is where Celestine Pool is which was our first tale of death took place. The pools may look clear and cozy, but they are so hot they will kill you, so don't jump in them.
I like my brother.
We then headed to the Grand Canyon (of Yellowstone). The upper and lower falls there were amazing and beautiful, but as I mentioned the trails we wanted to go on were closed. Jake and Tony were there last year and able to access all the trails. So our plan for Sunday constitutionals turned into more of a car tour of the park. I’ve been to Yellowstone in the summers so it was kind of fun to see the spring (late winter) landscape.
We went home by way of the Tetons. My favorite stop was Jenny Lake. I think we camped there when I was a kid. The Tetons are amazing mountains. They are so steep. The snow on them made them even more majestic.
Just like the previous weekend, what made this trip really amazing was the people I was with. It was fun to get to know Veronika even better. If I could monopolize all of Kelly’s time, I totally would. I love to learn from Jake, joke around, and share “feelings”. Tony is not just my brother but one of my best friends. He is happy, positive, and just a good man.
It was really a quick trip, but it has me hungry to go back to Yellowstone and the Tetons. The next camping trip planned is in Ogden Valley. The crew is going to try and climb all the way to Ben Lomond Peak. I actually have a bike ride that morning, so I don’t know if I’ll make the whole trip with them. I’m planning to get to the trail after the ride and at least catch them on their way back down. We’ll see what happens. Last year they didn’t make it to the peak because of the snow. This year we’ve had even more snow, so it will be interesting.
Animals we saw: Bears, Elk, Bison, Marmot, Squirrel, Chipmunk, Giant Crows (one we named Candik), and Moose.