First we had to make a stop at the KIWI restaurant in West Yellowstone for some famous meat pies, which we put in the cooler to keep for later. The nice lady who owns the store, makes homemade meat pies every morning, but they are usually sold out by the time we get there. She is from New Zealand and can hardly wait to get back. Her shop is for sale, in case anyone is interested.
Once inside the park we scouted out short hikes for the grandchildren and found three. Look for a separate post on them following this one.
We then went in search of animals. We knew bison rut was in full swing so we headed to Hayden Valley. On the way we saw a white wolf in Gibbon Meadow who was walking away from an elk kill that the rangers obviously knew about, because they had barricaded walkers from getting off the road in that area. I did not get any pictures of it as we could only see it with binoculars.
The Museum of the Park Ranger has never been open when we have driven past it, so that was also a priority.
There are some very nice static displays and a theater room with two movie choices. One is the history of the park ranger (30 minutes). The second is a nice 8 minute slide show to Kenny Loggins' song 'Conviction of the Heart'. Nicely done. It would make a nice stop for restless legs. There is even a very nice public wash room with a spigot outside to rinse off your feet or refill water bottles.
|The playbill for the two movies shown in the theater.|
On the way to Hayden we stopped and watched a medium sized grizzly foraging in the grassy area on the other side of the Yellowstone River.
In Hayden Valley we saw several large herds of bison all chasing, dusting, pawing the dirt, and the various other things they do when in rut. The grunting and bellowing noises they make could be heard loudly from the road. We also saw several herds of elk. Two very impressive bull elk with amazing racks were stopping traffic in the Canyon area. I missed taking pictures of these two because of the crush of cars and people. The bullhorn of the ranger ordering people away discouraged us also.
After two of our exploratory hikes, we headed back to Gibbon Meadow to discover that there were now two different wolves on the elk kill - a beautiful silver and black one and a grey and white one. The first white one was not seen in the afternoon. We stayed until they were finished eating and wandered off to rest in the trees.
Dinner was late and light when we got home, as it was near 9 pm. I had a half a meat pie and Brian had toast. It proved a great day to be in the park and celebrate 33 years together, watching the animals.