We left Bozeman this morning in a drizzly, cold rain. I didn't mind the cold, but the rain was unfortunate. The place we stayed in Bozeman seemed unusual, in that it looks like a very rural farming area that is slowly being civilized. All of the new stuff looked brand new, even smelled brand new, but it was interspersed with old, dilapidated buildings and barns. I really liked the place, though. It's a relatively small town*, and it looks like a nice palace to live! We drove through some beautiful country: lots of hills and low mountains covered with dark pines. Even in the rain, you could tell it was a beautiful place. It reminded me a lot of driving to Nederlands , the place Josh took me into the mountains in Colorado. Our drive took us through the Gallatin National Forest, where we saw some snow, and the Gallatin River. The mountains out here look like they're melting into the ground. Mr. Lee says that these mountains are very old, so that's probably why. I wish we could have stopped to take more picture, but the weather was kind of yuck, and we didn't have very good light. We did stop a couple of times, but it was so freaking cold and rainy that we didn't stay out long.
We finally made it to west Yellowstone to get a bite of lunch at around 11:30. West Yellowstone is a sort of skeezy little tourist town just across the border of Wyoming. Don't worry, I say skeezy with love. It was one of those places for tourists with rows of souvenir shops, restaurants with clever names and museums of local interest, and I actually love places like that. It was small and cute. I forgot to get a foot picture there. :( We didn't stay long, though, because our next stop was in Idaho!
Mr. Lee took us to Idaho at my request, because I'd never been there before. Despite my fondest dreams and wishes, it did not smell like freshly cooked French fries. He also said he wanted to show us an interesting place, which turned out to be Big Springs, which was a small place where a natural spring bubbled up. It was really, very beautiful. The water was so clear, and if you stood in the right place, you could see where it came out of the ground. I don't think I'd ever seen the actual source of a spring before!
It had started to spit snow, and rain a bit, so we got back into the car and went back to West Yellowstone. We had to get a couple of things at the market, and we stopped in one of the souvenir shops (because I'm a gift shop junkie!), and then we were off to our next destination.
We made it to Yellowstone National Parker not long after, and we almost immediately saw some elk! We went a little further, and found a nice place to take some pictures. It was just COVERED with wildlife feces. Ick. I haven't had to tiptoe through a field like that since dad raised cows in our back pasture. Bison, elk, deer, moose, you name it, it had pooped there. Seriously, I think the new motto of Yellowstone National Park should be: "Yellowstone: Seriously, Watch Your Step." I got tired of dodging turds, so we got back into the car and drove till we saw some bison eating near a parking spot, and we were able to get pretty close.
They weren't scared of us, but I think it was because they knew they could stomp us to death. I tried to talk to him, but he ignored me. I decided at that point to eat one of his brethren in revenge.
(Is it weird that I now want to taste pretty much every animal that lives in this park? I've never had the urge to eat wildlife before, but now it's a goal of mine!)
We stopped at one of the geyser areas to see some little geysers and mud pits. It was neato, but it smelled so very bad.
As lovely as this is...it smelled so bad!
It had gotten so cold that I wound up standing in the stream of sulfur smoke just to keep warm, so I'm sue I smelled nice after we left. We decided to just go on to our next hotel. We were lucky enough to get a room for the night at The Old Faithful Inn! It's usually booked up a year or more in advance, but someone must've cancelled because Mr. Lee got a room! It's 109 years old, and it's made of twisty wood and beams. We didn't stay in the oldest part of the hotel, but our room was still attached to the building. The rooms are kind of spartan, but it was ok. This is the kind of place where you don't spend much time in the rooms. The hotel put a stuffed bison on the bed, which I thought we got to keep - like the little bars of soap - but alas you had to buy them. Since I'd already named it, Mr. Lee got said he'd add it to our bill. :) We put out stuff down and explored until our dinner reservation. We found out that on Tuesday, May 21, the cast of the Today Show was going to be broadcasting from this hotel. Camera guys and a director were busy planning shots and putting together equipment, and we stopped and talked to one guy for a minute. Too bad we won't be here. I could have streaked during the broadcast!
We went into dinner and ordered our food. I got a really delicious bowl of pea soup and some bison pot roast! Unfortunately, there was some kind of oil or spice in the food that I must be allergic to. I only got a couple of bites into my pot roast, when something inside of me went terribly wrong. It wasn't a sick feeling, it was more like I got stabbed in the gut. I thought it would pass, but it didn't. I had to go back to the room, curl into a ball and lie down. I got briefly, but awfully ill, and it finally passed, but not for a while. After I felt a bit better, we walked outside to watch Old Faithful erupt.
It's weird waiting for a geyser to go. It steams a lot, and there are brief moments where you think it's about to happen, but it quiets down again. It's like waiting on a sneeze! It was still freezing and raining outside, and a whole bunch of people gathered around on the sidewalks to watch. The time came...and went. I was convinced we had somehow broken it. There is actually a 10 minute window both ways where the geyser can go, but it passed that window. I had fashioned a burka out of my scarf, because my ears were freezing, but I didn't give up! It finally blew up, or whatever it does, and I was suitably impressed.
Thar she blows!!
Of course, I did have a moment of clarity in which I realized how insane it seemed for a bunch of people, mostly adults, standing around in the freezing rain, waiting on the earth to sneeze.
After that we called it a day. I still wasn't feeling so hot, Mr. lee and Steve were ready to go back, so now we're in our room, chilling out (literally. It's freaking cold and all we have is a steam radiator in here) and planning our day tomorrow!
*EDIT - Apparently I only saw a very small edge of Bozeman.