If going to the post office doesn't excite you, then I'm guessing you don't live in the interior of Yellowstone National Park during the winter. We'd signed up for the employee shuttle to West Yellowstone for Tuesday, and as luck would have it we got out.
It was an uneventful ride out (just saw a few bison), and we arrived in West around 10:30 a.m. First stop: post office! We can send postcards and letters from here, but that's it. We were finally able to post a few odds and ends that we'd been holding onto for several weeks. Yes, we actually look forward to going to the post office!
We have about 6 hours from when the shuttle drops us off in West until it picks us back up again. To quote one of our colleagues, "You have 6 hours, but West in winter is really a 4 hour town." Touche. This time we brought our skis to kill some of that time, but I needed to make a few snack stops before we hit the trial.
We left the post office and headed to a great local roaster called Morning Glory to buy some coffee from them. Then we dragged the skis over to Bear Country Bake Shop, a favorite of ours. Steve had something called "the power bar" with fruit in it while I opted for something called a chocolate donut and a mocha. Stomachs full, we headed for the trail.
The Riverside Trail leaves from West and heads back into the park,
and goes along the Madison River. It was snowing lightly as we set off through the trees.
We did the lower loop, and after a couple of downhills we found ourselves at the river.
We decided we'd push on a little further, off trail, before we headed back. Just a few trees to get through,
but the view was worth it.
The second half of the loop found us skiing right alongside the river
and then cresting a final hill, with a nice view of the mountains from the top.
From there is was just a quick ski back into town, and good thing, because we were hungry. We headed straight to Wild West Pizza and ordered breadsticks (mmm) and a sun-dried tomato and kalamata olive pizza. We piled every spare morsel into a takeaway box and then hit the grocery store. I was more restrained this time, but Dubliner Cheese and Baked Lays were must-have's. And cherry tomatoes. If you know me, this makes perfect sense.
Then it was time for me to hit up The Book Peddler for a new read, and for Steve to pop into Arrick's Fly Shop for...er, something he needed, I'm sure. We had just enough time to swing back to Morning Glory for another mocha (me) and chai (Steve) before it was time to head back into the park.
Rumor had it that the Gibbon's (wolves) had taken down an elk along the Madison River around 1 p.m., so we all had our eyes peeled. Sadly we didn't spot the Gibbon's or the carcass. We did see a herd of elk, a bald eagle, a coyote, and a herd of bison on the road. The employee shuttle zips back to Old Faithful, so sorry, no time for photos.
Steve went to dinner last night but I stayed in and savored my cold pizza and breadsticks. Now if only I had a mocha...