After a relatively sleepless night due to Clark's stomach virus, we successfully got a late check-out time of 12 noon. Not late enough, but better than nothing.
Clark really wanted to come with us, and tried to get up and get dressed, but was too fatigued (his own words) to do so. Grandma suggested she hang out until noon with him staying in bed, and the rest of us go see Mammoth Hot Springs. It felt bad to do such a thing, but it did make sense.
The other three kids and I set off to see what was so Mammoth. As you can see from the cover photo of this entry, it was very different than our Geyser Basin walk from the day before. This area consisted of another boardwalk that switchbacked up through some mammoth calcite buildups from various hot springs. Altogether, it was supposed to be a 2 hour "hike" up the boardwalk. Being the travelers that we are, we sprinted through it in about an hour. It was very weird and interesting, but I felt that only two of the areas were worthy of photos. This one here, and one other in our photo album. The rest of it was kind of deserty, but not very exciting.
We got back just in time for check-out and Clark was feeling well enough to travel. Just. We stopped at a little cafeteria for lunch, Clark had some ice chips while we ate, and then started driving east from Mammoth to see the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and the Upper and Lower Falls. We were promised that this was where most wildlife would be seen, and the girls were very excited.
We put Clark in the front seat, and he laid it back as far as he could, took a pillow and blanket, and curled up for the entire drive. His head was killing him.
As we drove along, we stopped in numerous places, whenever we saw a mass of cars pulled alongside the road, and checked out what the scenery was. We saw moose, elk, water falls, beautiful mountain views, etc. The girls' highlight was stopping and hearing that we were at an impasse because a coyote had just chased a black bear cub up a tree and then killed a baby elk. Right beside the road! We couldn't see the carnage, but we could see the mother elk on a distant hill watching the scene. It was a "Circle of Life" moment.
Clark finally felt better, sat up and said he felt 100% and was hungry. We stopped and got him a muffin and some water. As soon as he had a drink, he immediately complained of severe pain in his kidney area. So bad that we had to stop by the roadside and let him out to stretch. It relieved it enough for him to get back in the car, but scared us enough to decide we needed to get to a town and a doctor. So, we turned around without seeing the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone or the Upper and Lower Falls and headed towards our next stop, Gardiner, MT.
We got to our campground, and Clark proclaimed he thought it had been a cramp. It didn't stop me from googling what could possibly ail him and discovering that there was only one Dr. around and it was at Mammoth in Yellowstone. We settled in for the night in our pop-up, after eating another delicious meal of ramen and peanut butter and honey sandwiches. The kids refused to go out. Clark went to sleep at about 8:30. We anxiously awaited morning to see how he felt.