Friday, August 26, 2011

Yellowstone - Day 4

Addison was in need of a down day and so we decided to spend some time in West Yellowstone. We went to the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center to see the bears and wolves more closely than you could in Yellowstone. Because bears are solitary animals, they only let one or two bears out at a time, which was a little disappointing because they don't have any viewing area of where they are kept indoors. We would go back again, but probably not until our kids our aged pre-school through 5th or 6th grade.

One neat thing is that they took a small school group into the bear pen and let them hide the bear food. The center always hides the food for the bears to keep their sense of foraging and roaming keen, instead of just always having the food in the same place. The kids hid food through the exhibit and then got to watch as they let the bear out to come and find the food.

Not only does the center have 7 bears but they also have 8 wolves recovered from Hollywood. The TV/commercial/movie/photo shoot industry breeds wolves and those that don't "make the cut" are euthanized. The center has been able to recover two packs of four wolves each from that sad fate. Because it was in the middle of the day when we were at the center, they were mostly sleeping, but you could see them walk around every now and again.
Align Center
Since that swim hole was closed we decided to head up to the Norris Campground and swim off of Camp Loop A - per the recommendation of one of the park rangers. It was pretty swift, deep, and rocky so we didn't stay long. But we did see a lone buffalo eating nearby. You might be able to make him out behind Oliver and Addison at the swim hole.

After our time at the discovery center we went into Yellowstone to go swimming and have a picnic dinner. We drove the Firehole Canyon Drive (on the stretch between Madison and Old Faithful). The swim hole along that loop is closed because a girl died swimming there, but the drive is still gorgeous with some stunning waterfalls and cliffs.

When that swim hole didn't pan out either we headed to a spot we saw with people swimming from the day before. It is in a picnic area that is south of the canyon drive but before lower geyser basin. Warm water from the geyser basin was running in the water and so the water was pretty nice. Addison still didn't love the water because the bottom was rocky, but she loved chatting with everyone else swimming there. She loved hanging out on her towel, eating dinner, and pointing and talking about everything around us. We finally left when two 20-something-year-old-"men" came down to the water in their briefs for a "bath" and their business was hanging out...yep, good times.

With all our swimming hole searching we did get to see a coyote and Addison wore her sunglasses for more than 60 seconds! If you have any suggestions how we can get her to keep them on they would be welcome!

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