We had a leisurely start to the day packing up all the items that we had laid out to dry and charge the night before, the stopping at the Walmart in Cody for foodstuffs and getting gas. We got back into Yellowstone through the East entrance (#1 on the map).
We happened upon a herd of bighorn sheep not far into the park (probably around Sylvan Pass) and stopped to take pictures until they wandered across the road, hopped the fence and headed down into a valley.
We made a brief stop along the north end of Yellowstone Lake to take some pictures of some bison (#2 – they hadn’t gotten old yet). We wandered over to the lake and discovered that the sun had heated the shoreline rocks enough to make them hot, but the lake was still entirely frozen except for a 10ft wide ring around the edge.
Third stop was a the Sulphur Cauldron prior to the drive through Hayden Valley – which is where it was later suggested that a lot of wildlife could be spotted.
We stopped at the Canyon Village Visitor Center (#3) and were informed that the Boiling River was closed due to high water and that many of the trails were also closed due to feet of snow still on them. We gathered a bit more info on where to go to see various things and animals.
We finally made our way to Norris Campground (#4). We were a bit later getting there than we should have been (probably because we stopped three times for pictures on the drive in) and most of the sites, including all of the drive-up sites were taken, so we found a spot on the walk-in stretch. It was about a 100 yard walk from the car to the camp site, so it was rough, but we managed. Like the Tetons, there were sections of Norris Campground, and indeed entire campgrounds which were not open yet for the season.
A bit after noon we headed up toward Mammoth Hot Springs (#5). The area has one of the park’s hotels and lots of sulfur pots, springs, and their associated mineral formations and of course, bison. We did a few walking tours around some of the springs, taking pictures, etc.
We got to see two fun things on this round, both involving Asian tourists. First was a man who decided he wanted a picture of his son with the Bison, so as the kid was screaming and crying he poses the kid in front of a bison for a picture. It seemed to be common that people didn’t have much regard for the danger the bison could pose if they took the notion.
Second, we had parked at a formation (only car in the small lot) and were walking around it when the couple pulled in and instead of parking in the spaces, just left the car idling across three parking spots. The guy had neon shoes, cuffed skinny jeans, a puffy blue vest, a headband and some very jittery mannerisms. Every time he moved to something new it was as if he had just noticed it and needed to get there ASAP so he’d run over there in a dainty little trot. This became especially entertaining when another car pulled up and he came racing out from behind the formation (in his awkward trot-run), ran around the car, slapped the doors shut, hoped in and moved the car to park normally. This was all entertaining, but what really topped it off was the new arrival proceeded to pull in and park in the exact same way that he had been just moments before – taking up half the spots in the lot.
Once we made our way through the stop-and-see points we walked into the little town for a few moments and had a chance to see a small herd of bison grazing their way through town with a couple calves in the bunch.
We stopped to collect some fire wood on the way back, and ended up getting back pretty late. We made a small fire, cooked some tortellini for dinner and boiled some eggs for the next few days.
In case you want more Yellowstone Maps and also the source for the one I copied: http://www.nps.gov/hfc/cfm/carto-detail.cfm?Alpha=YELL