“Yellowstone is my happy place”

Day 3. 

One week ago right now I was driving down through Paradise Valley, Montana.  I live an hour and a half from another Paradise, on Mt. Rainier, but this one’s just as beautiful in its own way.  L saw a swan and we saw a couple of running antelope, and we crossed into the Park at Gardiner, through the Roosevelt Arch.  “For the benefit and enjoyment of the people.”  Not quite as much snow as in that picture, but still some up on the hills.

We spent the rest of the morning exploring the visitor center, taking a short tour of Fort Yellowstone, and wandering around the lower part of Mammoth Hot Springs.

After lunch in the hotel, we headed south, stopping almost immediately to drive the one-way road around the upper part of the Springs.  The side of Orange Mound Spring looks ever more like an off-color Cthulu.
A few elk consented to have their pictures taken along the way, as did a bison bull.
On our way to Old Faithful, where we had reservations for four nights, we stopped at Norris Geyser Basin and walked the trail through Porcelain Basin, which is always one of my favorites.  It’s the most acidic thermal area in the park.  The water has roughly the pH of battery acid.  Don’t get splashed [g].  Because of this, it’s also one of the most rapidly changing thermal areas in the park.  My personal favorites are the myriad small spitters that sound like someone blowing a raspberry.
We got into Old Faithful village late in the afternoon, and checked into our cabin at the lodge, then watched our first eruption of the trip (and L’s first ever) of Old Faithful itself. 
 I went for a walk after we picnicked in our cabin, to catch the evening light, and because I simply couldn’t wait until morning to get out there.  I strolled around Geyser Hill, and the light was gorgeous.  Not to mention the fact that the Upper Geyser Basin is one of my absolute favorite places on the planet.
More tomorrow.