Z, D, and my mom (who goes by Gemma for D), ventured to Yellowstone National Park to see the park in it’s fall glory. We started the trip off with a few bumps. Our travel to Bozeman, Montana went well after a slight scare as we sat in our first flight, grounded on the tarmac with the threat that we would have to wait an hour before leaving. This is pretty much terrible news when travelling with a toddler and knowing that this was only the first of two flights for the day. Thankfully, we took off about 15 minutes later and landed in Minneapolis with no problems. A couple of hours later We landed in Bozeman, which has the most beautiful airport I’ve ever seen. It feels and looks more like a lodge. It was very beautiful and definitely gives you the feel of the west upon arrival. When we arrived at our hotel at 10:15pm, Z realized that he had left our iPad on the plane. I frantically called the airport and was relieved to hear that our iPad had been found and I could go pick it up in the morning. Relief! (But I did question Z if this was a ploy to get one of the new iPad Pros with an almost 13″ inch screen). We got our iPad back in the morning, but only after my breath was taken away by the beautiful sunrise over the mountains as I left the hotel parking lot. It was amazing.
We enjoyed breakfast with my cousin and her son, who is 4 months younger than D, and then drove down to the northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park after a quick Target run for essentials like snacks and water (and some more dollar bin items that I never need, but always seem to find a way into the cart). As we entered the park, we came to the Mammoth Hot Springs area, and immediately found ourselves surrounded by elk on the expansive green lawns. We tried to stop and take pictures, but a ranger came over and nicely informed me that the large elk across the road (the one with the huge antlers) had already hit three vehicles that day, and I should probably move on. I listened to the ranger and we moved along. We explored the terraces near mammoth hot springs and saw our first bison, which was very exciting to D, who kept pointing at it. We drove along the upper terraces drive and saw our first geysers and hot springs in Yellowstone.
We took our time driving down in the occasional drizzling rain to the Old Faithful Inn, where we stayed for our trip. We watched Old Faithful erupt while we waited for our room to be ready, and it was pretty fantastic watching the geyser shoot approximately 100ft into the air. We checked into our room, which was an absolutely beautiful two bedroom room in the old house part of the Inn. The room had log walls, beautiful light pictures, and a really amazing bathroom with a claw foot tub.
We rushed to the cafeteria for a low key dinner with some bison meatloaf, bison chili, and jack daniels pulled pork, and began our walk back to the inn. The drizzling rain had picked up, and we began to hear thunder. Then, that drizzling rain turned into small hail, then larger snow/hail, and the thundersnow also included some lightning. We hurried back to the inn as fast as we could. We shook ourselves off and settled in to warm up. We had a pretty wild first day in Yellowstone, and it only got better from there.