This morning started with an insight into the Mormon way of life. Yep! We went to church! Not really sure what to expect, we donned our Sunday best and went on our way.
Neither of us have spent much time in church but the Mormon service wasn't much different to the Christian services we have been to. The Mormon community is extremely friendly and welcoming. Everyone knows everyone and helps each other out, it was really nice to see.
After church ended we decided to hit the road to get to Yellowstone as early as possible. Big thanks to the Harris family for hosting us!! We love you!
We decided that our first port of call needed to be to get some lunch. However, we forgot that in Utah, everything is closed on Sundays. Everything.
Everything that is, except the clouds. They opened right on top of us and poured ice cold rain all over the road, making for a very wet and miserable start to the journey. Fingers crossed this isn't an omen of things to come!!
After a couple of hours the weather cleared up and we even found a place that was open so we could buy snacks. Obviously, this made us a lot happier.
We crossed 3 more states off our list today: Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, taking our total so far to 6. The closer we got to Yellowstone, the better the weather got - although seeing snow on the ground in what is supposed to be summer is totally bizarre!
On the drive we were lucky enough to see a bald eagle flying around! I was so excited to see one in the wild but trying to get a picture of a moving bird from a moving car was more than impossible!! Those things are quick!
We finally found our campsite, checked in and promptly bundled ourselves up in extra layers for our adventure into the park. Right as we went to leave, BFF asked me where the cabin key was. Somehow in the space of 5 minutes I had managed to lose it with no recollection of where it might be. We pulled out all our bags etc looking for it before I found it. In my pocket...
Yellowstone National Park is SO pretty. Even with snow lurking around. Only a few minutes into the park we saw an elk (BFF remains adamant it was a horse but I swear it was an elk!) and we even saw a second bald eagle on the way in!! But after BFF getting frustrated with my inability to get a decent picture of it, we decided it was better if we pulled over and I took over the driving and she took over the photography. Much less stress for both of us that way.
After a little while we saw a large crowd of people pulled over at the side of the road and taking pictures of something. Of course I wanted to see what the fuss was all about so I pulled over too. But I failed to notice the large dip at the edge of the road onto the shoulder, so we pulled over with a large thud and then realised we wouldn't be able to get out again. Oops.
Nevertheless, we got out the car to have a look. Turns out there was a white fox tanning in the grass - a very rare sight!!
The fox even started calling to his friends in the mountain behind us, and they called back! It was very cool.
Soon the time came for us to move on. Or at least try to as best we could with a stuck car. Cue an awkward conversation with the man in the car behind us who had to back up a long way so we could reverse onto a smoother bit of road. He definitely didn't hide his laughter very well!
Finally free, we continued on, feeling every ounce the intrepid explorers we like to think we are. It wasn't long before we saw another lot of stopped cars, except this time they were stopped in the road.
There were bison everywhere! They apparently do as they please and were quite happy to walk in front of cars and pose for photos. They even had babies with them who were completely adorable. Worth stopping traffic for. Or so we thought. We quickly learned there are loads of bison and after the first lot, stopping for herds every few miles suddenly wasn't as fun.
We decided to head towards the Mammoth Hot Springs to the north of the park, stopping off at a lot of other springs and geysers along the way for pretty photo opportunities.
We may have stopped too often because it took us about 3 hours to finally get there, and when we did, we were a little disappointed! They looked nothing like what we expected, potentially because the water had all dried out so were were just looking at some steamy white rocks that smelled like rotten eggs. It is also entirely possible that we completely missed the really cool part we were looking for. We are very talented like that...
Oh well. We saw lots of very pretty views and cool things along the way, and hundreds of bison. So we headed back to the campsite feeling pretty good about ourselves and excited for tomorrow's plan.
About halfway back to the campsite we saw another line of traffic on the road where people had stopped to let the bison cross. Although this time, they were out of their cars with cameras.
Turns out it wasn't bison, it was a bear!! An actual, real life bear!! I pulled over up the road and we ran back to try and get a picture. The bear was just mooching around in a field, seemingly oblivious to his rapidly growing audience.
He was pretty far away so I only managed to get one photo on my camera that looks more like a furry dot than a bear but I don't even care. The fact that I saw a bear in real life is more than I ever expected on this trip so photo or no photo, my summer has been made and it's only day 6!
After staring at the bear, and risking hypothermia as the temperature sank with the sun, for as long as we could, we reluctantly headed back to our cabin. In all the excitement we realised we forgot to have dinner. By this point it was 10pm and everywhere was shut so we made do with snacks from the car. Nothing says nutrition like Cheetos and crackers!
The only downer on the day? It's currently 0 degrees and we are sleeping in a shed.