On Friday, June 5 we arrived in Yellowstone National Park. I had been especially anxious for this part of our trip. I was looking forward to seeing animals, geysers, and more. We arrived Friday afternoon through the North entrance. Our destination was Fishing Bridge, which was over near (I use that term loosely — anyone who has visited Yellowstone knows nothing is near anything) the East entrance, so we drove through a lot of the park. The excitement started when we saw several mule deer (or elk cows, we really aren’t sure at this point) just laying all over the lawn in Mammoth Hot Springs. As we drove we saw several hot springs and places where steam came out of the sides of hills (we didn’t know what these were, but we thought they were cool). Then, we saw bison — right beside the road! I immediately thought, “Oh, this is going to be good!” The scenery continued to be beautiful (but the road construction was NOT), and finally, we arrived at Fishing Bridge and got set up.
We knew from our park paper that for her Junior Ranger qualification, Minnie Mouse would have to attend a Ranger Program. We also knew from said paper that there was a program that evening near The Fishing Bridge, so we made a plan. We packed lots of snacks in the backpack and headed to the Fishing Bridge Visitor’s Center on our bikes. We got her Junior Ranger booklet, bought her a flip book (thank you, Yellowstone, for having these, and especially for having the one on big horn sheep — she wanted one in Glacier, and I forgot to purchase it there), and then we made our way out toward Yellowstone Lake.
The place was gorgeous, and huge! Minnie Mouse and Daddy enjoyed a few minutes just thinking and observing. Then, we decided to head across the street to the Fishing Bridge General Store. We had a lot of time to kill, so Minnie Mouse worked on her Junior Ranger book, we read the maps and park paper, and ate some snacks. We found out it is called Fishing Bridge because, in fact, they used to fish from this bridge. There was a picture of them literally elbow to elbow fishing from this bridge. However, the problem? The river was nearly depleted of all of the cutthroat trout, which many of the animals that live in the park depend on for their food supply. I won’t go into the whole long story, but they now do not allow fishing from this bridge, and where fishing is allowed you cannot keep cutthroat trout, for obvious reasons. We learned a lot at the Ranger Program.
And we saw a bald eagle flying around the river while we were at the program! What a treat! At this point I was still thinking, “This is going to be great!” However, I was a bit skeptical about all the animals I might see when I didn’t see one fish in the river, and this is supposed to be spawning time, when all the fish come to hang out at the bridge and lay their eggs.
We headed back to Harriet. We knew we needed to get some rest. We had an early (early for us) tour in the morning!