Wednesday, June 4: sights of the Grand Loop
On our first full day in Yellowstone, we had a lot of must-sees on our list. After a quick breakfast at the cafeteria to save us time (noticing a pattern yet?), we started out on the Grand Loop, making our first stop at Tower Falls. From there, we headed towards Lamar River Valley to get an idea of where we’d be doing our backcountry camping the next day. Then, we circled back down to the southwest side of the park to see Old Faithful, the geothermal pools, and Old Faithful Lodge.
As we drove around the park, we made numerous stops to view wildlife. It was easy to look for the tell-tale sign of several cars pulled over, with people looking through binoculars or camera lenses and pointing into the wilderness. We got a very close look at an elk chilling out beneath a tree only 25 yards away from gawking tourists (and a park ranger making sure we kept a safe distance).
As it grew close to sunset, we made our last sightseeing stop at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Not far from our lookout point, an osprey was engaged in an ongoing battle with a raven while its mate sat on their nest, protecting their eggs. A small group of us watched, trading off binoculars and watching some Planet Earth-style action go down. We drove up to Inspiration Point to get a truly breathtaking view of the canyon.
Wildlife sightings: badger, swan, elk, pronghorns, ospreys, raven, mule deer, bison
Landmarks visited: Old Faithful, tons of geothermal pools and hot springs, Grand Prismatic Spring, Tower Falls, Firehole Falls, Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Yellowstone Falls