We started our journey to visit the world's first national park driving south from the Madison Valley in Montana to the town of West Yellowstone. Free Heel and Wheel, a friendly gathering place, owned by Melissa and Kellie http://www.freeheelandwheel.com
is our place to get news on trails, roads, and always, a hot coffee with a cookie. It's a seasonal jumping off point for skiing and hiking! Upon entering the Park we drove along the Madison River where we saw swans, bison, and a majestic bull elk watching over his harem.
Joining people from the world over, we entered the Inn greeted by warm light, a cherry red door, and creaking maple floors. Returning each year to this lovely place since I was a kid, is almost a pilgrimage.
|Welcome, one and all!|
Lights warm the lobby where folks are mostly bending their necks to look upward to wrap their minds around the craftsmanship and creativity that created one of the world's finest examples of rustic.
Could this interior be more magical with its curved lodge pole walkways and staircases?
|The Old Faithful clock in the Inn's lobby|
Early in the morning before the big eruption of the famous geyser, I caught the beginning.
Frost covered the boardwalks, making walking more like skating. I waited and waited.
|Raising of the flags|
The Inn from the back...
Separating the dining room from the Bear Paw Bar, are whimsical etched windows that tell the story of Yellowstone animals partying down!
|We hit the Fairy Falls Trail|
We are not alone on this trail.
|This big guy, best viewed from behind, stayed along the trail|
|Fairy Falls, our destination|
Remains of the Fires of '88, this black fire spire reached to the heavens, almost petrified.
Woodpeckers live and eat amongst the fire spires
leaving holes in their search for
|Tail up, run like the wind!|
Walking out, we couldn't get far enough away. We hurried quietly by hoping our constant companion would look kindly upon our presence.
High-light of our trip was happening on the eruption of Castle Geyser, not a frequent occurrence! We stood in the warm, moist steam and spray, trying to avoid the chilly rain surrounding us. Spectacular formation created by the irregular eruptions truly was a castle.
Biscuit and Midway Geyser Basins provided inspiration, texture, and a rainbow of colors to behold.
Classic Yellowstone scenery with the Firehole River in the distance.
Good-bye until snow shrouds this magical place.