The theme for today was bear-searching! Above all other types of wildlife, we really wanted to see a bear. They’re supposed to be abounding here in Yellowstone; everywhere we go, there are signs telling us how to “Be Bear Aware” and what to do if you meet a bear, and how to act when you’re on your hikes to prevent a run-in with a bear. All of these led my sisters and me to believe these amazing, furry, terrifying creatures were everywhere!
In the morning, we went on a hike called “Elephant Back Hike,” which is, according to one of the park guides, a local favorite – traipsing up a mountain peak in the woods until you finally arrive at the pinnacle, where there’s a stunning view of Yellowstone Lake with the Absaroka Mountain Range in the background. However, we did not see a bear, let alone any wildlife! (We did see snow, though… Weren’t we just in the desert a few days ago?!)
We arrived back to the RV only to find out that my grandma and the dogs had seen a huge bison right in front of the RV! After bemoaning our bad luck for a bit, we made lunch and saw…
No, just kidding. We did see a coyote, though! It looked almost like a fox at first (it was quite small) but it was definitely a coyote.
Following lunch, we headed up to the Mammoth Hot Springs, and as soon as we arrived there, all over the grass, were…
Kidding again (unfortunately). There were a ton of elk, though, eating away at the grass and flowers un in the Mammoth Hot Springs area. Suddenly, though, they all darted away. We were so confused as to why they’d just dart when, looking behind us, we spotted a huge storm cloud. Sure enough, the elk were right in running away, for a few seconds later we were thrust into the midst of a huge snowstorm. A snowstorm! In June! It’s practically an abomination!
Turns out we should have heeded the elk’s warning. We waited out the snowstorm watching a twenty minute video on Yellowstone National Park and how it was established before we ventured outside again to explore the hot springs.
Eventually, we realized we needed more groceries, so we headed to Montana (another state to add to the list! I think we’re up to eleven now) to stock up. We wandered around the little village of Gardiner for a bit, where they have a store dedicated entirely to cowboy apparel! I wanted to buy nearly everything in the shop! But then again, I also wanted to buy nearly everything in the fine arts and jewelry shop right next door…my tastes are so varied.
On the way home, we saw a field full of bison! They are massive creatures, quite amazing really, but deceitfully look a bit like a grizzly from a distance.
So, unfortunately, we ended our day with freezing cold weather, snow, and no bear sightings.
Our one funny tidbit of conversation (apparently our humor is diminishing with the length of our trip):
Dad: “They’re bringing the flag down.”
Me: “No, they’re bringing it to half-mast.”
Me: “It’s a national tragedy: it’s snowing in June!”
The photo above is of the park ranger securing the American flag. I could hardly take a picture without snow flying into the lens, but here I find it gives a bit more sense of the unceasing snowfall.