We got up at 4:00 am to make it out into the park and try to spot some animals. We saw a black bear (but it was brown in color - name is quite misleading).
We stopped by the Lake Lodge on Yellowstone Lake to use the potty and get some caffeine since we'd been up so early. There are pit toilets throughout the park and I try my best not to use pit toilets if I can help it, so I make a point of using flush toilets at the lodges when possible.
Highlight of the day:
Sipping on a mocha cappuccino, sitting on a rocking chair on the porch of the Lake Lodge overlooking the lake.
Quote of the day, after Greg took a picture of me:
S: I don't like this picture. My eyes are squinty in it.
G: Newsflash. You're Asian.
After the Lake Lodge, we visited the Mud Volcano area, then stopped by Mammoth where I was able to write up and mail some postcards. The Mammoth Hotel has a map room that has a giant map of the US, made out of all different types of wood, which is kind of neat to look at. I also chowed down on a Wilcoxson's ice cream bar at the Mammoth general store (mint of course), which Greg has a pretty good action shot of (though it's not the most flattering picture of me. The phrase "chowing down" doesn't really mesh with the phrase "good picture").
During the day, we:
- went to Mammoth Hot Springs and walked around the terraces
- saw the Artist Paint Pots
- visited the ranger museum that used to be an Army outpost in the early 1900s
- saw the Fountain Paint Pots
- hiked to and climbed up the hill behind Grand Prismatic to get a better view than what we got from the boardwalk (we saw what looked to be a raven land on the waters of the Grand Primastic - did it not know the water is hot?)
- took the Firehole Lake drive
- walked around the geyers in Norris
- saw a grizzly bear
- saw bighorn sheep
We've been using this Rough Guide to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons and it is actually a great guidebook. It has snippets of history in it, which I'm a fan of. I'd really be set if I had access to Wikipedia as we were going through the park, but - surprise! - data service is not available throughout the whole park. Too much nature all up in it.
On our way back to our rental towards the ends of the day, we were kind of nervous about the gas situation. In Norris, we had 21 miles to go in order to make it to Mammoth, and our car only showed 22 miles of gas left. We ended up being able to make it all the way to Gardiner since there was a lot of downhill between Norris and Gardiner. WIN!
For dinner, we went to the dining room at Chico Hot Springs. It's apparently a popular and fancy place to eat in the area. We ordered BBQ Bison Short-Rib Ravioli for an appetizer. Although it was super delicious, apparently you only get four ravioli. Lame. But, the actual dinner entree portions were decent enough to make me feel like we weren't being robbed. I ordered filet mignon, Greg got prime rib, and my dad got duck. All pretty delicious as well, as expected for such a relatively nice restaurant. Compared to how much you'd be paying to eat in Gardiner for shiz, Chico Hot Springs was a pretty good dinner value.