Day 11 National Park Road trip
We woke up early in the morning, before sunrise. It was foggy outside as we climbed into our mini van and drove to Lamar Valley.
We knew the fog we probably prevent us from seeing the elusive wolves of Yellowstone, but since we made the effort, we decided to try anyways. We drove for awhile, catching a glimpse of a sleeping bison here and there.
After about 15 minutes, we came to an area that seemed to be covered to large stones. By now the sun was rising, so there was more light. In a few seconds I realized that the land was covered with hundreds of bison! We had already seen bison in Hayden Valley but this sight was magical.
My favorite was seeing the calves with their moms. We eventually turned around and drove back to the cabin.
I’ve heard there are two types of Yellowstone lovers, the geyser folks and the wildlife folks. We all decided we were definitely the wildlife folks.
Back at the cabin, we brewed coffee and made oatmeal on our little portable camping stove outside the cabin on a picnic table. Then we packed up. We made a quick stop to the camp store to buy a couple of gifts for friends and then drove to Tower Falls. We stopped for a coffee break and admired the falls from a scenic overlook but decided not to hike down.
After viewing the falls, we drove to Mount Washburn. There are two ways to go up to the top of this peak. You can go the longer route, or the shorter steeper route. We opted for the slightly longer route.
Initially, this walk starts up a little steep and rocky. I would definitely make sure you wear proper shoes, pack water and snacks and use the restroom! Once you are done with that initial difficult rocky path, the trail becomes smoother and the ascension isn’t as steep.
We hiked for a while and eventually came to the first lookout. Here there are a few benches and mountain goats! Seeing wildlife up close is scary and exciting. We carefully walked passed some. trying out best not to get too close.
We ate our snacks on the bench. We contemplated either continuing our hike to the very top or heading back. We decided to head back because we knew our youngest only had so much energy before he’d have a meltdown. He was enjoying the hike and we didn’t want to push our luck. The hike to the top would be bucket list for next time.
On the way back, we trail was getting more and more crowded. It was nice running into other families, who sometimes stopped us and asked us about the trail. But it is definitely a different vibe than when the trail was empty earlier in the morning.
We piled back into the car and moved on towards Old Faithful. As I’ve mentioned before, driving from point to point in Yellowstone can take longer than you’d normally anticipate. As you get closer to visitor centers, traffic will increase as well. We finally arrived to Old Faithful Visitor Center.
We first stopped at the visitor center to pick up schedule of events. Then, we headed over to Old Faithful Inn to eat lunch.
The dining room at Old Faithful Inn is quite wonderful. It has the great lodge atmosphere. After the long hike at Mt. Washburn, we really enjoyed our lunch.
You can also take a tour of the Old Faithful Inn, which we took and enjoyed. We were actually staying at the Inn. Initially, my parents were planning on coming to the park with us, so I booked hotel rooms instead of camping. That meant booking our rooms on May 1 one year prior. It’s a pain but was well worth it.
Our room was a suite but no bathroom. The bathrooms were located down the hall, but like the Theodore Roosevelt cabin, our rooms had two sinks. The rooms were rustic and clean. I really liked staying there. The shared bathroom was really clean and well maintained as well.
After dinner, we attended a ranger talk at the Old Faithful visitor center. It was about women in the National Park System. It was a great talk!