We left from Bozeman with reservations for one week in Yellowstone and one week in Grand Teton National Park. How awesome is that? It is, trust me. I was totally ready to see loads of animals, including a moose, which Chris promised I would see before we completed our tour of these national parks.
The drive itself from Bozeman to Yellowstone was a scene out of the movie, A River Runs Through It. Spectacular! While I did not see Brad Pitt, I did see a number of fly fishermen in the river along our incredible drive. We arrived into West Yellowstone, grabbed a totally overpriced mediocre barbeque dinner at one of the restaurants, and proceeded on into the park, a little later than we would have liked.
Our welcoming committee to the park consisted of one lonely buffalo walking down the middle of the road. At night. He backed up traffic and had no concerns for the cars on the road, probably because we were more scared of him than he was of us. He could seriously do some damage to our car if he wanted. So, we carefully made our way around him, marveling at his size and…well…ugliness. Sorry, Mr. Buffalo.
On our first full day in Yellowstone we quickly left and went to Montana. Seriously. We had good reason: the start of college football. As a Hokie (and the daughter in an Auburn-obsessed family), there was no way we were going to miss Virginia Tech playing Alabama. Since the park service would prefer that its guests enjoy nature while visiting, there were no televisions anywhere. (Hong actually called a few of the resorts for us as he was positive someone would have a television in their restaurant. Um…no.) So, we went to Chico Hot Springs, just north of Gardiner, Montana, in Paradise Valley, for a few quality hours in some hot water and some football-watching fun.
Before arriving at Chico, we did enjoy our time driving through Yellowstone to the north entrance into Montana. Along the way, we passed Mammoth Hot Springs, loads of bison, and a glimpse of the chapel (King Arthur’s Court) of the religious sect, Church Universal and Triumphant, a sect that predicted the end of the world and built fallout shelters in and around Gardiner, Montana. Obviously, the end of the world failed to happen on the predicted date and now much of the land owned by the sect has now been sold. I thought you should have this information.
At Chico, we had delicious food, a relaxing time in the hot springs, and good company. We met John Graham from Louisiana who is a composer and he entertained us with his incredible piano playing skills and performed an amazing rendition of Dixie. He and Hong instantly bonded over piano talk while Chris and I sat on the edge of our seats in the bar watching the game with a Las Vegas county prosecutor and his friend, a Las Vegas cop. (Interestingly, the prosecutor purchased several acres of land in Montana previously owned by the religious sect.) It was a great night…(sigh)…despite our loss to Alabama.