On Thursday, I was looking forward to arriving at Lake Yellowstone Hotel; not only because we all desperately needed a shower after being out in the backcountry for four days, but also because I worked there one summer as a housekeeper during college. Other than a few improvements to the parking area and the addition of a snack bar by the lobby, not much had changed since then. One thing that I did not remember from my college days were all the bugs! Out in the backcountry, we had brought along bug spray, but it was the low-Deet variety designed for kids. We missed our Deep Woods Off, and that was the first thing we bought when we got to the general store. As we walked along the road between the hotel and Yellowstone Lake, we had to dodge swarms of gnats that were so thick you could hear them buzzing. I don't think I have ever heard gnats buzz before! Lake Yellowstone is beautiful, though, and in some ways it feels like home for me.
Ok, it's not THAT steep...it's our ten-year-old's creative photography!
a red squirrel we spotted on the trail
Yellowstone Lake from the top of Elephant Back Mountain. You can see Lake Lodge on the left and Lake Hotel near the middle.
Churning Caldron. All the thermal features smell like rotten eggs; this might be the stinkiest one in Yellowstone. Still, even the kids agreed that it was way cool! (well, way hot)
One of many bison we encountered on our vacation. This one seemed to be contemplating a mud bath.
One of several sizzling muddy ponds
"Don't worry," I said. "We'll definitely be coming back." Next summer, though, we might just be camping in the backyard.