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Up at 8am and the first stop was Old Faithful on way to the camping stop in Mammoth. The famous geyser was just about on time and brought the expected oooooo from the crowds. The event itself is not as inspiring for me as the events that trigger it, under the earth. There are also larger geysers to be seen but they’re not as predictable.

Arriving at the Mammoth campground, I found out that the tent had a break in one of the rods, which was worsened by the wind, suddenly picking up and blowing the tent like a tumbleweed across the campsite. After recovering the tent, I wedged it between our only shade of a tree and the wooden bench.

After opting to take a trip to see Mammoth Falls, we saw a small group of people along the way, who were taking shots of a bison. Making the most of this opportunity, we decided to stop for a picture shoot and had the fortune of the bison ambling a little closer to pose. This road was full of more surprises in the form of a black bear, that many people had pulled off the road to photograph. I walked past these and followed the ranger up the road to a better view and considering I have no decent zoom lens on the digital camera, had a much clearer and closer shot than most of the crowds back down the road.

After hitting the intended detour (that turned out to be inaccessible to the bottom), we headed back to Mammoth and payed $3 to take a much needed shower in the local hotel. The sunburn hurt like crazy with the water hitting it but felt so much better afterward. While waiting in the car after the shower, a magpie came and hopped around in front of me. I haven’t seen a magpie since I was last in England, so it was a real pleasant surprise. After my friend came out from her shower, we walked across the road to the nearest eatery and while tucking in to some fast food, saw an elk on the hill outside. Of course, by time I had shot back to the car to get the camera, the elk had wandered off up the hillside and out of view.

Settling down for the evening, with the tent now now longer being blown by the wind, I opted for a short hike up one of the nearby viewpoints. I had an incredible view of the surrounding landscape and it made for a grounding experience at the end of a hot, sticky and sore day.

Tomorrow is Glacier Park and the last stop of the tour before home.

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