It was not my intention to go through the park this go round. I wanted to spend more time and be able to hike around a bit. But I was so close, how could I not just go in and take a peek? So I drove a little further south and went in the ‘West Entrance.’ I followed the trains of other vehicles and saw all the same sites as every other tourist in there. I clicked my shutter in all the same places and oohed and aahed at the appropriate times. Like when I saw a bison for the first time. About 20 feet away from me:
And when I saw some of the geothermal features of the park, like this acidic and alluringly blue pool:
I saw a managed fire as it burned through the park. I took a picture with me in it to prove I was there:
And I stopped at all the overpasses to see things like the yellowstone river as it passes through some yellow stone:
After about four hours I had to decide if I was staying in the park or not for the night. A quick check at one of the campgrounds, and the ridiculous price to stay told me what I would be doing. I headed up towards Cooke City and turned off on a dirt road a few miles outside of the park. After about thirty minutes of putzing around random dirt trails I made camp:
It had a pretty nice view:
I decided to sleep in the truck to save myself the trouble of setting up the tent. I made my first camp fire of the trip, and cooked a sweet potato next to a can of black beans in the fire. Delicious. Morning time came and it was time to leave. And boy was it smoky! I drove back into the park and watched the sun rise through a thick cloud that had settled over the entire park overnight:
It was pretty, as the sun through smoke can be:
Unfortunately, after the sunrise all the smoke did was obscure the lovely vistas. Like the ‘Grand Canyon’ of yellowstone. I saw this:
I’m sure it’s much more grand when you can see it.
So I decided to start skipping the big vistas, and visited another set of thermal pools. The cool morning air made it very beautiful:
I saw some young bison right on the walkway:
And then their dad got a little too close for my comfort, and started stamping his paw at me in an aggressive manner.
I got the hell out of there and left the park through the East entrance. I’d had enough of the tourist game, and besides; it was time to get the dog out of the truck and do some hiking. I decided to head East through Wyoming.