©Wolfgang Kaehler

Yellowstone National Park

By Michelle Alten


Foggy morning in Hayden Valley

Wolf and I strolled Lake Yellowstone’s shore, soaking in vistas of the vast lake, surrounding mountains, and the setting sun. Nearby, Elk grazed in grassy, sun-bathed meadows. We were just outside Lake Yellowstone Hotel — our base for the first part of our Yellowstone visit. While the setting was what made our stay worthwhile, the architecture of Lake Yellowstone Hotel is worth noting. In 1903 architect Robert Reamer dressed up the original modest structure, built in 1891, with Ionic columns, false balconies, a grand portico and dining room. The result was a stately inn befitting of the early 1900’s when travelers could sojourn here by steamship. Later the hotel grew to accommodate more guests.


Panorama photo of bison herd, Hayden Valley

We booked late and got rooms in the annex. They were not great (small and lacking character) but the stay was worthwhile because of majestic Lake Yellowstone. I recommend planning early and trying to get a room in the main lodge.


Lake Yellowstone

The hotel’s historic dining room was elegant and a fun park experience although we would give the food mixed reviews. The duck breast was rather bland, but Wolf enjoyed the Slider Combo which included elk, bison, and antelope. The pear salad was also tasty with a zesty wedge of goat cheese and a sprinkle of pecans, and the molten lave cake was a worthwhile indulgence.

00148026 People watching for wolves and grizzlies

Cry Wolf

We drove to the northeast part of the park in search of wild critters and quickly found a heard of bison with calves — possibly only days old. The butterscotch colored youngsters trotted at their mothers’ heels, nursing when the cows paused to graze. In the Lamar Valley, we searched for bears and wolves. We plopped our camping chairs at the edge of a river, munching on cheese and crackers and scanning the meadows with binoculars. In the distance the mournful cry of a wolf pack interrupted our daydreams. They never appeared from the forest, but they announced their presence. The wolves have been thriving since they were reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1995. We continued our wildlife search in the Lamar Valley and after patiently searching; we found a black bear foraging for berries as it rambled across a mountain meadow.


Yellowstone Canyon

Stay tuned for more…

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