Weather: rain, rain, hail, rain, clouds, su--nope rain, sunset. Mid-40s
Steps: Shaun - 9,272; Shannon - 10,192
Varmints: elk, holy shit bison, and a coyote
Well, the picture above about sums up our day: thwarted at every turn.
It started out promising enough. We got up and went to the Old Faithful Visitor's Center, where we were able to check out their pretty excellent exhibits on the natural processes in Yellowstone. We watched their pre- and post- Old Faithful eruption movies and caught the geyser eruption itself from a different vantage point than yesterday.
Since it was pouring down rain, we decided to postpone the three-mile hike through the geyser basin and instead drive north to the west entrance to see the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone. On the way, we stopped at Gibbon Falls, which were pretty cool despite the rain. As we were entering the parking lot for the falls, though, there was a big long traffic backup that we thought we had avoided by viewing the falls, but alas, we were thwarted again! We sat in traffic for a good hour only traveling eight miles or so. Why you ask?
This is why. Everyone and their brother were stopping to check out the coyote who, admittedly, was very cool, but seriously man.....eight miles, in an hour? That's insane! Maybe there had been more to see than when we got there, or more probably people thought this little guy was a wolf, but it still seems like a gross overreaction to me.
After the Great Coyote Congestion, we continued on to the Artist Paint Pots, which was another geyser basin that was only a mile or so of walking in the rain instead of three. Still, it was pretty miserable, so I'm glad we decided to ditch the Old Faithful basin. This one was pretty cool, with colorful mud pots, fumaroles, and hot springs, so we were happy with our choice. The only problem was that while we were stripping out of our wet coats and other outerwear, I slammed my right thumb in the car door, and boy howdy, did it hurt! Shan came running over with the first aid kit because her first glance at it was blood running down my hand, but my first priority was staying conscious, not cleaning the sicker out! The very last thing I could imagine was rubbing something over it, so I just put a bunch of pressure on it, an ice pack, and Shannon drove for the next leg of the trip. Am I tough or what?
We finally made it to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, and it was a very cool place. It is a non-profit place that takes in animals that would have otherwise been destroyed for various reasons. They have several grizzlies, two of which are shown above, six wolves, and several birds of prey. As you can see, it was still raining, but we didn't care. We got to see them feed and "add enrichment" to one of the wolf dens, and we could have sat and watched these incredibly beautiful animals all day. It was quite a place.