. We spent the day visiting basins and geysers that release the heat escaping from the volcano beneath. Lovely colors and bubbles emerge from the scalding deep pools we saw including West Thumb. Old Faithful, we can report, was faithful again delivering a show on time as usual. It was amazing to see steam seeping from the earth in every turn. We were amazed by the wildlife and the vast size of the park. We spotted bison, elk, an eagle, deer, and a grizzly bear! In the afternoon, Kim and Rachel swam while Sandy and Gretchen read books on a rock overlooking the waterfall. Refreshed but tired we sought the Grand Tetons, an extraordinary beautiful stand of mountains that lace the edge of Yellowstone. We drove back through Yellowstone to say good-bye and left via the west entrance catching last glimpses of a new found love. We set up camp like four city girls would... A little confused with all the steaks and guylines, but being four college graduates the tent with some makeshift items including hair ties and ribbon made a perfect shelter. Kim made a long awaited dinner of spaghetti. We settled down early falling asleep to books read allowed and the sounds of a Montana night.
Waking with the sun was welcomed for our journey would be long today, southwest Montana to Seattle, Washington. The drive was13 hours and for four girls ranging from vegetarians to at least "health concerned" people the consensus was unanimous. We love McDonalds. It welcomes all people, they don't care if you fill up your Nalgenes or take sugar for tomorrow's oatmeal, they are everywhere and the bathrooms have not ceased to be clean.
The nature of a road trip dictates that plans change as often as the scenery. After the Badlands we added a stop not initially in the plans, Mt. Rushmore. In order to fit in this colossal set of stone faces in on out tight schedule, we drove on from the Badlands into the night. Hearsay told us the site would leave us a little disappointed, but the eerie feel of an empty national monument at 11:00 pm paired with the dramatic lighting that illuminated the stone faces heightened the experience and we left feeling quite patriotic. Onward we drove with sheer determination and thoughts of our forefathers. Time passed quickly as did the cups of coffee and late night talks in our drive through Big Horn National Forrest. We arrived in a quaint Montana town (in the Wal-Mart Parking lot) where we found a home for several hours continuing on in the American spirit. After an oil change (yes parents we are being very responsible), a little sprucing up in the bathroom, and some groceries we drove the hour to Yellowstone National Park