Day 8 - Yellowstone: Biscuit, Black Sand, Upper Geyer, Cooke City

Highlights: Grand Geyser; bears in Hayden Valley; moose and wolves in Lamar Valley; showers, baths and washing machines in Cooke City.

It was quite fortunate we ran into the Moore's last night. They told us they'd already gone to the rodeo, ie. they weren't planning on going again on Friday and we would have been looking all over the place for them to no avail. Instead we revise our plans. Today, after breaking camp, we'll meet up with them at Old Faithful and walk the loops to see more geysers.

Tristan and I have also firmed up our plans for the 2nd week. Charlie and Pauline gave us a great idea. They told us they're headed for Glacier National Park, so we figure we can too! We've also decided to leave the Madison Campground and spend Saturday night in a motel/hotel room outside of the park, clear over on the other side of the park (northeast side). We desperately need to do laundry and take showers. I'm embarrassed to say it's been 5 days since we've done those things!

So plan in hand, we drive south towards Old Faithful and make two stops along the way. First is Biscuit Basin which is part of the Upper Geyser Basin which includes Old Faithful. You can actually walk the 3 miles south to Old Faithful on paved trails. Between the two is Black Sand Basin best known for Emerald Pool.

Here's a photo of the runoff from Sapphire Pool at Biscuit Basin:

We met up with Charlie, Pauline and the girls just in time to have some lunch while seated around Old Faithful.

After the nice show, we walked around Geyser Hill and as far out as Grotto Geyser and Daisy Geyser to see the other geothermal features.

The big payoff was seeing Grand Geyser go off!! Between 1930 and the 1980s, the interval between eruptions has gradually decreased. These days, it's anywhere between 6 to 12 hours, but most often between 7 to 9 hours, making it the world's tallest predictable geyser.

After an ice cream treat back at the Old Faithful Bear Paw Deli, we say goodbye to the Moore's and head east and north to Cooke City. On the way, we see a grizzly mom and her cub in Hayden Valley.

Just outside the park's Northeast Entrance, there are two small towns that provide lodging. Unfortunately, we couldn't find any in Silver Gate with laundry facilities, so we drove another 3 miles east to Cooke City where we could both sleep and wash clothes.

We check in, take baths, run a load of laundry, wolf down dinner and head back west to Lamar Valley to see if we can spot more animals at dusk. Another successful outing seeing a mommy moose and her calf and then more wolves near the Soda Butte Creek area.

The kids fall asleep on the drive back to the hotel and have to be carried in and put to bed.

Day's mileage: 150 miles; 12 hours sightseeing and on the road

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