We woke up on day two ready to see all the things! If you read my last post, we stayed at The Bar N Ranch.
We debated whether or not to stay at a hotel which might have been only a tad bit cheaper, but THIS. THIS was so worth it. They have cabins you can rent out around the ranch, but since we were only there for a short period and it was just the two of us, we stayed in the main lodge. We had the cutest little back porch and a fireplace in our room!
We stopped for breakfast at Running Bear Pancakes, a local West Yellowstone spot that was the absolute coziest!! Preparing ourselves for the long day ahead, we knew we had to have a full breakfast, right!?
Finished our second (or third) cup of coffee, and headed to The Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center. (A non-profit wildlife park.) James' FAV animal is a bear and when I was researching this trip, I had come across a hotel that stated they were right by this Discovery Center. I looked it up and knew we HAD to go, just to see the grizzlies. It didn't disappoint.
The bears come out at specific times and this one in particular was only allowed out by himself. We watched one employee walk in and place a full sized pumpkin on a rock and walk out. Everyone was crowded around the enclosure waiting and chatting amongst themselves, until this bear...this 1050 lb bear named Sam, walked out toward the pumpkin. It was the most majestic moment I have ever been a part of. No one spoke, no one moved, everyone just watched. The size of this animal was astounding and quite terrifying to know they are in the wild, but what a beauty.
We observed for awhile and walked around to watch other animals (wolves, bald eagles, etc.) We really enjoyed this Discovery Center because all of the animals had stories in front of their enclosures. Stories of how they ended up there. Not captured for plain observation, but saved, rescued because of the life circumstances that would otherwise cause harm to others or themselves. In addition, they had a bear aware area where you could walk through and experience a campsite with bear activity. You could see real garbage cans/bins showing "bear proof locks" where bears had destroyed them!
Next stop, Artist Paint Pot. This was one of my favorite scenic stops. The weather was perfect and you could see for miles. We loved the boardwalk all the way up to APP too! Absolutely breathtaking.
James and I played a game where we kept a point system when we saw an animal. We don't remember who won, but I saw the moose (more on that later), so I'd say I won...
+Travel guide tip: BRING SNACKS. Yellowstone is huge and if you want to fit in as much as you can, you will not want to drive an hour out of the park for lunch and then an hour back in. We would arrive in the park right after sunrise and head out during sunset to grab dinner.
We headed to The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and hiked Uncle Tom's Trail on the South Rim hike. Stepped down 328 stairs to view the Lower Falls and Canyon. Then stepped up 328 stairs...plus 3 breaks...back to the top. Hiked a little more on Uncle Tom's Trail to Lookout Point. THE AMOUNT OF SELFIE STICKS and tour buses were hilarious (you could drive here instead of hike). This stop was definitely the most touristy, but the view was still worth it.
On our way out, we talked about going back to freshen up for dinner...until the bison jam. Literally, 45 minutes at a stand still because Bison were in the road and it took forever for the rangers to move them. This is one reason why I recommend to pack snacks because my hangry meter was rising. ;)
We ate dinner at The Slippery Otter Pub and went back to our lodge. After a hang sesh in our lodge living room, we called it a night for our big trip to the TETONS in the morning.