To Yellowstone that is. Not that we wanted it to end necessarily, we just wanted to move on already.
Why are we rushing? Well we're not really, but we would like to get out of potential snow areas as soon as possible. We've had some nights of upper 20's already, mainly at the Tetons, but we don't want to risk anything more significant. Also, we need to head east towards NY to be there by mid Oct. So we need to keep movin' right along.....
So back to Yellowstone, cause there's still more to share.
As per usual, we had an obligatory stop to make before we left the park: The visitor center to get the badges!
Driving from Gardiner, MT (where we camped) into the park one passes through this -
I know, looks like it was built by the crusaders, what's it doing in Montana?? Well you'll be surprised to find out that, no, it wasn't built by the Crusaders :-), it is the historic first enterence to the park. Built by the government in 1903, 31 years after Yellowstone was declared a national park by Congress, "For the benefit and enjoyment of the people" - the quote engraved on the other side of the arch. As I think I mentioned before, it was the very first national park in the US and even, so they say, in the world. The calvery was first in charge of protecting and preserving the park and that is why a fort was established at Mammoth Hot Springs.
Back to our assignment: Into the Mammoth Springs visitor center we marched (a very small visitor center btw, but given the extend of the other centers in the park, it's forgivable).
First their work was reviewed -
Then came the ceremony, with all eyes on them. The Ranger had offered to announce their new status to all those present but they declined :-) Like mother like children.....
If you recall we didn't get 3 different programs this time due to cost, instead Whirlwind helped a little with Inventor's program and they were all going to share the patches they earned. Well, the ranger didn't want Whirlwind to leave empty handed so she gave him a Yellowstone ranger sticker. He was thrilled!
Everybody with their loot! It's amazing what motivation these things provide. It really is.
So that was that.
With much satisfaction and Yellowstone patches in hand, we headed out towards the northeast exit of the park and then south, to Cody, WY......