The next morning, we discovered that the bison were still encamped on the front lawn of the hotel - along with a fresh crust of snow! We also learned that the "Dunraven Pass" over which W had planned to take us for our next excursion was restricted to vehicles with snow tires only.
Undaunted - W is never daunted - we headed off, retracing our steps, except it didn't seem so, with the landscape now all draped in white. We stopped off at the "Mud Volcano" which looks pretty much as you would imagine from its name, except - surprisingly - rather attractive in the snow, and Sulphur Cauldron, a seething mass of sulphuric acid! Should have mentioned earlier that "Old Scratch" gets a lot of press in the Park - nearly every other bizarre feature has a name like "Devils's Tongue" or "Devil's Canyon" or"Devil's Footprint".
We made it as far as Canyon, where we learned that the power was out at the gas station where we'd stopped to refuel AND that the Dunraven Pass was now officially closed. Whether the ranger who made the decision was being cautious or just a spoilsport has not yet been determined.
Undaunted W led us back around to Mammoth - where we got gas and stopped for lunch and, once again the "grapple" descended from the heavens. Then we headed east towards the Lamar Valley, the habitat of the famous Yellowstone wolves.
At every opportunity W hauled out her spotting telescope and we scanned the hilltops for - well, we really didn't know what - movement, I guess. Along the way, W was careful to try to find us actual indoor flush toliets - they appear about every twenty miles, with lots of more rustic outhouses in between. They are surprisingly well kept, with plenty of tissue paper!
Eventually W learned that the Dunraven road was passable to a point, so we took it and were rewarded with spectacular scenery.We stopped at various places including Tower Falls and saw some little big horn sheep right by the road.
Finally, we made it to the beautiful Lamar Valley but found no wolves. We did see other wildlife, and we saw bare ground instead of snow, but the wolfies were nowhere in sight. Daylight was fading - the perpetual clouds didn't help, when a surprising fellow caught our eye. Bullwinkle the moose stood in a field all by himself. We didn't need W's telescope this time. He was very large and had whitish legs while the rest of him was dark brown. We were the only ones to see him, until just as we were ready to go, one other car arrived. So we made a moose-jam!
Our hotel for tonight was actually a few miles outside the park, in a town called Cooke City which - is even smaller than Rose City! The hotel looked rather sketchy from the outside, but it was surprisingly well-appointed, clean and comfortable, and W discovered that two more of her wolf-friends were staying there. So we all met up in the saloon across the street - seriously, it looked like something out of "Deadwood", as, come to think of it, did W's friends, a pair of hippies who put us in mind of a bearded prospector and Calamity Jane. They were so much fun, we had beer and bourbon and pizza and by the end of the evening we didn't much care that the "grapple" was turning into serious snow.
OH - Happy 33rd Anniversary to us!