We took our time a bit more this morning, up at 8, breakfast and packed the car. The five minute drive back to Jackson saved us 10c / gallon on fuel and then we were on our way. Teton was still gorgeous but there was little wildlife to be found as we drove through.
Between the two parks a lot of the trees had been destroyed by fire, small pockets seemed to still be smouldering.
Into Yellowstone via the south gate about 1pm and as it was last time, not a lot happening for some time. We stopped at Lewis Falls and took a little walk along the Snake River. Not much further along at Lewis Lake we stopped for for lunch and took a little walk along the shore. It's much colder than Teton without the mountains for shelter the wind rips through.
We spotted a few elk along the way early on including a mother feeding her faun and a couple of good sized bucks.
We took a spin around the boardwalk at the West Thumb thermal area. The levels of the pools seems lower than we recall but there's still plenty of heat going on. I think cos it was earlier than last timers were no elk in the area but there was plenty of evidence they still frequent the area!
We followed the west side of Yellowstone lake around and checked out the sulphur cauldron, it certainly lived up to its name!
Before we knew it we were in Hayden Valley, just as we remembered it, full of bison, lots of bison all quietly grazing or drinking. Such an awesome sight. Driving along the river we watched geese, ducks, scaups and swans feeding, some of the geese were on land grazing. When it came to those in the river we saw more bums than heads lol
The next stop was for our second ever coyote, like yesterday's one it was hunting. Stalking and pouncing on small prey. This time it was a lot closer, maybe 100m away. We watched til he moved on in search of more tucker.
We'd been seeing snow on the peaks and thought we could see clouds that looked like they were dumping snow but we were still surprised to round a corner and see it settled beside the road. It has been cold today, I think the max it's got to is about 13C but has felt colder due to icy winds.
The next stop was incredible, a mama black bear and two cubs just above the road. That was another half hour well spent watching them. Very cool.
After that it was a couple of long horn sheep in the same spot as a lone bison, antelope and more bison, some just beside or on the road totally oblivious to our presence.
As before at Mammoth Hot Springs the mule deer ruled making it slow going as we attempted to exit the park to our hotel in Gardiner. There were a lot including a big buck with impressive antlers. He was trying to keep his girls in line and even threatened to take on a car!
All up it was a terrific days wildlife viewing.
We drove the short distance to Gardiner Montana and checked into our hotel. Our back door leads to a drop down to the river, across on the other side an elk family were grazing. We watched them for awhile complete with lots of posturing from him to keep Mum and baby in line.
We had a quiet drink and caught up on some net stuff on our verandah. I looked up and found we had a visitor, a huge Buck was gently grazing and was joined by a large female. A perfect end to our day.
We have a kitchen here so cooked a great dinner, watched a couple of downloaded shows and had an earlyish night.