Getting back to Yellowstone was an adventure in itself. I waited until 11:00 am Saturday for Interstate 94 to open across North Dakota. There still were No Travel Advisories but I headed out into quite a storm. Between Fargo and Bismark the winds were blowing from the north at about 30 mph. About 10 miles before Bismark the winds died down and I thought I was in the clear. On the west side of Bismark the winds picked up and were blowing at about 40 mph. With lots of white-outs I followed a car that was driving with their hazzards on. Luckily they didn't drive into the ditch or I would of driven right in behind them. I made it to Miles City Saturday night and finally into Yellowstone Sunday afternoon at 1:30.
What a difference a week makes. The hotel opened a week ago Monday and Mammoth is now very busy. I made my Monday trek to Lamar and actually got into a wildlife jam. I don't know what everyone was looking at but cars were backed up for a little bit. The bull elks greeted me on the Blacktail and I saw a coyote bounding across the snow in Lamar. Winter wildlife viewing is so much different - with the white snow it is easier to see animals that in the summer would be totally overlooked. Big Boy and a friend were laying and snoozing between Mammoth and the bridge over the Gardiner River to the west. It's good to see him. Otherwise all I saw was a lot of cars. It's nice to have all these people back in the Park enjoying a wintery Yellowstone.
My co-workers and I are planning on having dinner on New Years Eve at the Mammoth Hotel. This will be my first time dining there. We are all looking forward to that. Since I don't get tv reception and my only radio is in my car I won't know when the New Year officially starts. Otherwise my evenings are filled with 30 Rock (I finished Friends a couple weeks ago).
It's good to be back.