IMG_0471edited (Medium)I’ve been to Yellowstone National Park many times, and my latest trip was really great. The weather ranged from warm sun to snow to heavy rain. Vanifest saw its first snow of the season, too. Brian and I hiked and biked when it was warm, and hid inside when the snow was swirling and the rain was falling in heavy sheets. One afternoon we soaked in a wonderful hot spring called the Boiling River hot spring. It is probably my favorite spot in the park. It’s a short walk from the road to a beautiful set of pools next to a shallow river. Our timing was just right to see a herd of elk making their way across the Gardner river to graze on the other side.

P1430151 (Medium)Brian and I headed to the Boiling River Hot Springs with his mom and her husband after a busy day driving all over Yellowstone. We had just had a late lunch and it was early evening when we arrived at Boiling River. We hiked ten minutes to the soaking pools where the Boiling River gushes into the Gardner River, creating some areas which are the perfect soaking temperature, and some which will scald or freeze you. We chose our spot carefully, then settled into the hot, clear water to relax. We even found a wonderful little cave that was the perfect temperature with hot droplets trickling over the opening and splashing softly into the water. As we sat in the hot cave, we saw a huge bull elk crossing the river only 50 feet away. We emerged from the cave to see what would happen next.

P1430171 (Large)This was the start of an amazing elk display which lasted about 30 minutes as we watched from our hot spring location. First, a huge bull with tremendous antlers crossed the river. He held his head high and pranced to the top of a small hill, perhaps trying to appear even larger. Then a group of female elk followed, lingering in the river with their young.

As the females and young elk lingered, another large bull appeared at the other side of the river, interested in the herd. The first bull quickly crossed the river to defend his harem and help them cross to the other side. There was no confrontation. The other bull quickly retreated, knowing he did not want to challenge the first huge male. By the end of this amazing show of strength and protection there was quite a crowd watching the herd of 20+ elk as they all finally made it across the river. The first proud bull elk stood watch over the entire herd as they peacefully grazed on a hillside next to the hot spring.

Lisa Hackett

About the Author

Hi, I’m Lisa. I’m a tall, blonde superhero and I live in a van. I do it all. I rappel big waterfalls, drive from Idaho to Alaska solo, live and work in a van in the wilderness and dodge encounters with wolves and bears. Seriously. More

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Lisa. I’m a tall, blonde superhero and I live in a van and on a sailboat with my superhero husband, Brian. I do it all. I rappel big waterfalls, scuba dive with sharks, dodge encounters with bears and wolves, and work remotely as a full time computer programmer.
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About the Van

Hi, I’m Vanifest. I’m a big, 4x4, off-the-grid van complete with solar panel for power. I'm a 2000 Dodge Ram Van and Lisa has had me since 2009. Read more about me here.


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