Day 5: Yellowstone Lake and Tetons Camping

After the disaster that was the Avalanche Peak Trail, we went to dinner since we were famished and worn out. A bison was grazing just outside the first place we found for dinner. I was so dirty and smelly–it didn’t seem right to be in a restaurant with clean people. So I cleaned up a bit in the restroom. I already felt utterly defeated for the day, thanks to the trail.

After dinner, we started out touring Yellowstone by driving around Yellowstone Lake. This is one of my favorite lakes by bar, I absolutely loved it. The sand is a mix of black obsidian and pumice stone, a combination I had never seen before. The water was so clear and so cold.

Yellowstone Lake
Yellowstone Lake

Driving around after that, we spotted our first big animal–a huge bull elk in full velvet. He was right alongside the road, but people were still getting way too close, turning their backs to him holding small children for a photo op. It may not be the rut yet so they’re not as aggressive, but I wouldn’t want to turn my back on an animal that size.

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Our next stop was lower geyser basin–the mud pots/paint pots are too cool! If ever there was any doubt that we were near a large volcano, these thermopiles erased it. In the field across from this mud pot, a female elk was grazing.

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Not having any particular event in mind afterward, we made our way up to Old Faithful to see if we could get some cool sunset shots. We got there just in time, as the sun was setting and Old Faithful put on her show. (If I ever figure out how to post my videos, I’ll do so; this one is awesome!)

Old Faithful at sunset
Old Faithful at sunset

This was just too much fun:
Our next dilemma was where to stay for the night (remember the whole we-don’t-have-reservations thing? Yeah.) Being the week of the holiday, most of the hotels/cabins/campgrounds were already full. After some frustrated searching, we did manage to find a campsite near the Grand Tetons that even came with showers and a view of the stars, even if it was a bit cloudy.

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