We had another great day today, once again driving through some amazing scenery. We started by driving back into Yellowstone, once again we were stopped several times by bison on the roads. We then pulled over when we saw a Bald Eagle near the road (not the one in the photo).
We then passed the campground and saw that there had been plenty of snow overnight. Damien was disappointed to have missed it, Nadia not so much... A little further up the road we came across our own snow and stepped out of the car to enjoy the snow.
We continued through the park to Mammoth where there are some hot springs and quite a bit of accommodation. We stopped here and headed out on a hike called the Beaver Ponds Trail. This is a 5 mile long loop that starts in a lovely woodland and continues into more open fields. We were warned at the start to be on the look out for Elk, Deer, Moose and Bears, so Nadia was certainly keeping a very good eye out. The wind at this point was cool but the sun was warm, so it was a lovely start. Beaver Ponds themselves are in a valley about half way through the walk and the area got pretty damp and boggy. We also walked by some very cute steams. It was at the point that the clouds started to close in. Once again we had an opportunity to experience snow, quite a bit of snow, as it turns out. After the boggyness of the ponds it was nice to walk into more open fields and see the weather clear up again. We did see some Elk in the distance, but apart from that we did not have any wild encounters. It was a really lovely walk that we both enjoyed.
We then exited Yellowstone and headed North towards Great Falls. We took a bit of a back road and stopped along the way scenic and historical markers. These markers proved to be great for watching wildlife as well. At one of these markers we were surprised to see a coyote calmly trotting past us on a ledge a few metres below us. At another marker, Nadia turned around to see a Bald Eagle perched on a fence on the other side of the road. Damien rushed over with the camera and got a couple of shots off before the eagle took off, flew a couple of circles about 5 metres over our heads and then quickly became a speck in the distance. We also saw several other raptors on the drive, including a Golden Eagle and several hawks.
All in all, we had a really great driving day - a day with a lot of highlights.