Animals, the Grand Canyon, and a Steak Cookout

Yellowstone National Park Travel Blog

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Lake Yellowstone

After a very satisfying breakfast at Hamilton's, we finished loading our car, checked out of Old Faithful Inn and headed for Hayden Valley between Lake and Canyon.  The drive up was uneventful; we made a short stop at the Lake area, drove past the hotel which is probably the fanciest-looking one in the park.

We approached Hayden Valley with anticipation; viewing the animals is one of our favorite parts of visiting Yellowstone, and we hadn't seen very many yet.  However, we drove through several miles of the valley without spotting anything more exciting than a few geese.  Then we came upon our first herd of bison/buffalo.  This group wandered close to road; in fact, several of them decided to cross the road while we were watching.

  Several babies frolicked near their mothers.  I forgot how you can hear them snort when they're that close.  After we had viewed our fill of the herd, we continued on through the valley until we came upon another group of vehicles pulled-over.  In the distance to the left, a larger herd of bison grazed on the hillside, but we knew this wasn't enough to merit that many parked cars (besides, everyone was looking in the opposite direction).  We soon found out the focus of the attention: a mother wolf and four or five pups on the other side of the river.  This area of Hayden Valley was the rendezvous point for the pack; while the other four adults were out hunting, this 7-yr old female looked after all the pack's pups, hers and those of a 2-yr old female.
  We had our binoculars but were blessed to be offered a look through the scope of a knowledgeable wolf watcher.  He filled us in about the pack: their prior rendezvous point up the valley, the interactions among pack members, the personalities of the pups especially a little black one who had the potential to become an alpha male upon growing up.

We did a little bit of back-tracking in order to tour the Mud Volcano/Sulphur Caldron area.  The "mud" and "sulphur" in the names describe the area very well; the most difficult part of the trail probably is dealing with the smell.  Formations here feature names such as "Black Dragon's Caldron," "Sour Lake," and "Dragon's Mouth."

At Canyon we grabbed food in the cafeteria and then my mom started a load at the laundromat at the campground.

at Mud Volcano
  The rest of the family drove over to Dunraven Lodge where we would be spending the night.  The lodge fit in with its natural surroundings (better than the old cabins in the area) and was definitely a more recent building project (the stairwells still had a new smell to them).

Once the laundry was done, we took advantage of the remaining time before needing to drive up to Roosevelt for the cookout to tour the North Rim of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.  Now this canyon is not as big as the Grand Canyon in Arizona but it is still impressive and definitely beautiful.  (Plus, since it is on a smaller scale, it is easier to see the walls and the river.)  We followed the North Rim trail for a ways and then at Lookout Point continued down into the canyon through a series of switchbacks for a slightly closer view of the Lower Falls.

Canyon
  Going down is always easier than coming up, but we had strong motivation for making our way out of the canyon in decent time: tonight was the Steak Cookout up at Roosevelt.

Each year that we have visited Yellowstone National Park, we have repeated certain activities: watching Old Faithful erupt, looking for the bison herds in Hayden Valley, hiking in the Canyon.  Another tradition is the Old West Cookout where we load into stagecoaches (some guests choose to ride horseback) and travel a little ways off the beaten path for an evening of food and music.  On the ride one of the two guides fills the wagon passengers in on the history of the park and the specific valley where the cookout is held.  The dinner this year offered steak (or for the vegetarian, a veggie burger), corn, baked beans, cornbread muffins, watermelon, coleslaw, potato salad, and fruit crisp.

We arrived back at Roosevelt Lodge before dark; however, rain was threatening once more as we started back to Canyon.  We made a quick stop at the Calcite Spring Overlook but did not venture far down the path as lightning decided to make an appearance (we did not think being on an exposed height was our best idea).

Aditu says:
Do you have to stay at Roosevelt lodge to do the cookout? That's exactly what I'm looking for when I go in Aug, my mom and my friend don't ride horses but I do and that would be perfect. Any info you have would be greatly appreciated!
Posted on: Jun 29, 2008
Galadrims says:
It seems you had a great time in Yellowstone National Park, the photos are beautiful,I love this blog.
Thank you for this!!.
Posted on: Aug 10, 2007
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Lake Yellowstone
Lake Yellowstone
at Mud Volcano
at Mud Volcano
Canyon
Canyon
bald eagle
bald eagle
Hayden Valley
Hayden Valley
Bison
Bison
Black Dragon Caldron/Sour Lake
Black Dragon Caldron/Sour Lake
in the laundromat
in the laundromat
Yellowstone River in the Grand Can…
Yellowstone River in the Grand Ca…
Canyon wall
Canyon wall
Lower Falls
Lower Falls
Lower Falls
Lower Falls
Lower Falls
Lower Falls
Canyon
Canyon
moose
moose
Stagecoaches
Stagecoaches
Horses in the valley at the cookout
Horses in the valley at the cookout
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