Heavy frost covered our rental car as well as grasses in the early morning. It was time to pack our belongings because our lodge closed for the season. We headed northward, but not without making several stops in Hayden Valley to observe bison enveloped by fog in the frosty landscape or to simply enjoy the view. Soon enough the sky turned blue and before noon we could shed our jackets altogether. Driving over Dunraven Pass was quite an experience, reminding us of driving through the Austrian Alps. After mastering the serpentines we spend some time at Tower Fall, which was not as impressive as the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.
Time was too short to make a detour to Lamar Valley and so we headed west toward Mammoth Hot Springs. Overall I found this part of Yellowstone Park the least interesting. The hills were barren and wildlife was absent. After lunch and huckleberry ice cream we drove along the Upper Terrace Drive. My high expectations for the famous Mammoth Hot Springs were unfulfilled, however. I found them disappointing in size and appearance.
By then we were tired from our adventure and moved on toward Gardiner and our quarters for our last night in the West, but not until we spotted two pronghorns before driving through the famous Roosevelt Arch. Another surprise awaited us at our motel: a group of elks had taken up daytime residence on the lawn across from the motel office!
On our walk to a breakfast café the next morning they were coming out of the park for a day on the town – giving us a last impression of all the wildlife that calls Yellowstone Park home.