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  • Lyndell Daniel

Mammoth to Old Faithful

We decided to make a last minute change to our itinerary, which saw us staying at Yellowstone Riverside Cottages, Gardiner for two nights. The quaint town of Gardiner, sits on the north edge of Yellowstone, making it a convenient gateway town. It's the only year-round entrance to the park.

If staying in Mammoth Hot Springs or in Gardiner, I would highly recommend a dip in the Boiling River, which is right near the North Entrance to Yellowstone. You experience pockets of intensely freezing cold water and then move slightly to find hot boiling water - very strange on the senses.

We wanted a change of action and decided on Zip Lining and White Water Rafting down Yellowstone River. This was an excellent way to spend the day in Gardiner.

The Montana Whitewater Rafting company had a great set up and it was directly next door to where we were staying.

We shared our lunch space with the pronghorns, who had wandered into town and were just relaxing in the park outside the iconic Roosevelt Arch.

Due to its year-round access and comparatively mild winters, Mammoth has always been the headquarters for the park. All of the red-roofed, many-chimneyed buildings in the Mammoth area are part of historic Fort Yellowstone. Beginning in 1886, after 14 years of poor civilian management of the park, the Cavalry was called upon to manage the park’s resources and visitors. Because the Cavalry only expected to be here a short while, they built a temporary post near the base of the Terraces called Camp Sheridan. After five cold, harsh winters, they realized that their stay in the park was going to be longer than expected, so they built Fort Yellowstone, a permanent post.

On the two nights we stayed in Gardiner, we drove to Mammoth Hot Springs around 5.30pm and sat watching the Elk as they meandered into the main street and congregated around the buildings. This was an amazing experience and one I wouldn't miss. We never left the area until around 8.30pm.

On our way to Old Faithful, we stopped in at Norris Geyser Basin. Norris Geyser Basin is the hottest and most changeable thermal area in Yellowstone.

There is never a shortage of Bison to watch and these enormous creatures frequently stop traffic around Yellowstone National Park.

"Yellowstone is the only place in the United States where bison (Bison bison) have lived continuously since prehistoric times. Yellowstone bison are exceptional because they comprise the nation’s largest bison population on public land and are among the few bison herds that have not been hybridized through interbreeding with cattle."

I could spend ages just watching the wildlife in Yellowstone, especially the squirrels and chipmunks. One of the rewards for hiking the many trails in the Valley is having these cheeky little rascals come to see what you are doing.

We had made our way to Old Faithful, the last stop for us in Yellowstone. We had spent the most amazing time in Yellowstone National Park and it was going to be disappointing to leave. The inside of Old Faithful.

We had checked the times out for the eruption of Old Faithful and watched its eruption during the day. It was extremely cold that night, but I wanted to make sure I got a night shot. We arrived early to set up our gear and sat for 30 minutes freezing our butts off, with only two other people. It was certainly worth it - one of the magical times in Yellowstone.

I loved the accomodation in Old Faithful Inn and when we turned up their was a stuffed Bison on our bed - and you guessed it - I purchased this little Bison.

And you can not visit Yellowstone National Park without passing many of these brightly coloured yellow buses. A fleet of eight vintage White Motor Co. buses ferry visitors on guided wildlife-watching tours, photo safaris, sunset tours, and more. The distinctive antique yellow vehicles have retractable canvas roofs and panoramic windows, making them ideal for sightseeing. Plus, I'm told, they’re really cool to ride around in.

Our time in Yellowstone had come to an end and we had an early morning start to return to Salt Lake City for our flight; and what an unbelievable early morning show Yellowstone point on for us. All four photos were captured on my mobile.

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