We are staying at the ‘Painted Buffalo Lodge’ – about two hours drive from Yellowstone.
Me, being constitutionally unable to resist something that is free, thought we should take the hotel’s free breakfast when it opened at half six and then hit the road, but I got outvoted on that one and so we went for an even earlier start and were driving out the parking lot at six ….
The sunrises here are pretty amazing, they come on quickly and dramatically. I got very excited when we went over a hill and saw a gorgeous burst of sunlight appear on the horizon, in a cleft between two valleys, cutting through the early morning gloom. Until Mrs Bunting pointed out that it was a headlight from a distant SUV.
But nature managed to match anything man can create :
Highlight – Old Faithful
It’s a massive cliche to select Old Faithful as a highlight, but God it’s impressive. The backdrop looks in part like a movie set of a lunar landscape with smoke coming out of the ground :
If you haven’t seen it in the flesh yourself then a similar effect (on a smaller scale) can be created in the comfort of you’re own home by adopting the cooking techniques of Martin Biggs, one of my friends from university.
He pierced the lid of a Fray Bentos pie after cooking it for thirty minutes, rather than before putting it in the oven, and the explosion of steam looks pretty similar (coincidentally, the filthy sulphuric smell that is all around the various geysers reminded me of my time sharing a house with him as well).
But there was plenty of other things to see. Another highlight was the Yellowstone Grand Canyon. Here’s a few photos of that and some other things we saw :
Walking around England, there is little to fear from the indigenous wildlife. A badger could give you TB if you’re particularly unlucky (or particularly friendly), but there aren’t any that are capable of killing you. The most you have to worry about really is a nibble from a squirrel.
The sheer array of animals here that are capable of sending you to an early grave is quite scary.
Two species of bear, wolves, coyotes, elk, bison, the list of critters who can gore, bite or rip you limb from limb is a long one. So, whilst I did want to see the wildlife, I was feeling a bit of trepidation.
In the end, we escaped unscathed. I did see a snake (they didn’t even warn us about snakes). It was so cleverly disguised that you can’t even see it in the photos I took …
Apart from that, we saw bison. Lots of bison. So many that we got stuck in a traffic jam as some crossed the road. Here’s a few of them grazing at dawn:
And here’s a less fortunate one that I saw between two slices of bread on my table tonight :
Aim for tomorrow
Persuade Mrs Bunting to buy a pair of matching ‘his and hers’ cowboy boots. I reckon that at least one of us would look pretty darn cute in cowboy boots, a plaid shirt, a denim skirt, and a Stetson.