August 2, 2008
After spending our first night in Salt Lake City, Utah, we arrive at Yellowstone by early afternoon. It has been eight years since we have visited the park, and I am anxious to see the changes. Only a few minutes into the park, and I am already amazed at the growth of the new lodge pole pines which have been growing since the devastating fires of 1988 which decimated much of the populated areas of the park. I am pleased to see that the tiny trees which had been below my knees are now towering above our heads. Mother Nature is a great physician.
We head towards our cabin at Lake Hotel on the edge of Lake Yellowstone, but we don’t make it far before we stop to photograph a few elk grazing in a meadow.
Our youngest has his own camera and wants to break it in. As we approach the west side of the park, we become aware of large plumes of smoke and begin to wonder if we will have a place to stay for the night. We are glad to discover the fires are burning between Canyon and Lake Hotel, allowing visitors to still stay in the park.
We are thrilled to see
our first bison and not surprised when it leads to a “bison jam”. This visitor does not seem to be aware of the little factoid that bisons raise their tail when feeling threatened or aggressive.
We maneuver through the vehicles, check in to our quaint cabin and hurry to make our reservations at the Lake Hotel restaurant, one of the “finer dining” establishments in the park.
We hurry out to spend the evening wildlife watching in Hayden Valley, just north of the lake area. We are not disappointed. A large grizzly stands up on rear haunches and sniffs the wind before wandering off into the nearby forest. All in all, a wonderful first day.