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Yellowstone, Day 2 – Part 2

Another great day! The plan for day 2 was to see Old Faithful, because you can’t go to Yellowstone and not see Old Faithful. In fact until we got to Yellowstone I couldn’t have told you there was more to do beyond seeing Old Faithful. So the day before we talked to the visitor center about the best time to go. Their answer was of course, before the tour buses which I was completely on board with. The tour bus can arrive as early as 9 and it’s a hour away so I was looking for a 7:30 departure.

After bundling up in our pj’s, hiking socks and hoodies we went to bed hoping for a warmer night. Thank goodness we had a much warmer night! Of course it might have been because of our bedtime wardrobe upgrades but I think a lot of it was because our tent had been set up all day and collected some heat. Either way we had a great night; me sleeping soundly at a reasonable hour and my little one playing and bouncing around the tent till who knows when…

The next morning, I (the one that went to bed on time) woke up rested and warm listening to the sound of the rain on the tent at 7:00 am. It was actually a lovely sound. I could have laid there and listened for a long time but we had places to be! So I dragged myself out of my warm, cozy sleeping bag and did the traditional morning sprint through the cold to the unheated restrooms. I was back in my sleeping bag warming up in record time. (Average temperature was probably about 45 this time of day). After regaining my wits about me I got dressed and got ready.

Normally, the rain would have been a nice excuse to sleep in and rethink our day’s plan. But in the case of this particular day our plan was to spend the first hour in the car so there wasn’t much to rethink. Also, I was hoping the rain was keeping other people from having an early start and being in our way, so I was even more motivated to get going!

After I was dressed and had the car ready and an on the go breakfast waiting by each of our car seats I moved my little one, who was apparently up late partying, from her sleeping bag directly to the preheated car. She didn’t stay asleep but she was not feeling the same excitement to start the day, so she woke up slowly over the next hour.

We made it to Old Faithful and after getting someone dressed, we were on our way at 9:00 o’clock sharp, not too bad. After taking the required tourist pictures and wandering around unproductively for 20 minutes we thought it might be better to talk to someone that knew what was going on. Apparently there are 5 geysers they predict and there are miles of boardwalks and roads connecting them and countless lesser geysers and hot springs.

You can watch Old Faithful right from the visitor center as most people do, or that’s what it looked like based on the crowds. But there are also a couple viewpoints of it as well, so that’s where we headed. We found our spot, hunkered down in the cold for about 30 minutes and then…. wooshhhhhh, Old Faithful!

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The original plan had us checking out the village and then moving onto a different afternoon activity. That was before I knew how much more there was to see. So quite to my little ones surprise we followed up the viewing of Old Faithful with a 3 mile walk; she was so excited (not really). While I had food for a week in the car I didn’t have any with me because I thought this was going to be a quick stop. Amateur mistake; luckily the promise of hot chocolate was enough to keep her moving forward. During our walk we saw countless small geysers and springs of all different shapes and scales. We even timed it just about right and got to watch another one of the geysers they predict, Daisy.

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As promised when we returned to the village I made us a picnic lunch in the car and we wondered into the lodge in search of hot chocolate. We had a coffee cart that was perfect and now armed lunch and the required hot chocolate and found a picnic location in a large balcony that overlooked Old Faithful.

After lunch we took a little walk checking out the other shops and services in the village and spending some time in the exhibit hall of the visitors’ center. A place my 4 year can spend hours in. I’m the one dragging her out of every exhibit hall we visit after we have long surpassed my interest and attention span.

From there I had wanted to drive back to the village we were staying in stopping at all the viewpoints along the way. The weather which had remained cloudy but had stayed mostly dry was not looking so stable at the moment. So I wasn’t sure a plan of hopping in and out of the car was the best option. instead we headed in the opposite direction to check out Grant Village; another village we considered staying in. I had wanted to scout it out for future visits. As it turns out I am so glad we stayed in Canyon Village and would do that again. It was a beautiful drive through and we got to check out Yellowstone Lake.

The drive back from Grant Village to Canyon Village took us past Old Faithful again. And as it was raining this time we stopped for dinner since we weren’t going to be able to light out camping stove and make dinner in the rain as planned.

We settled in at the Bear Pit and had some more hot chocolate and worked on her Junior Ranger book and had a nice, warm and dry dinner.

Then the most exciting part. We headed back to the visitor center for the official Junior Ranger swearing in! – my little one’s favorite part of the trip (along with the bison)!

We then headed back to our tent with 1 stop along the way for a little walk before changing into pj’s. When we made it back to the tent one of us was already asleep!

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