I woke up to breakfast with the other guests. Way elevated compared to free hotel breakfast. Blueberry pancakes with identifiable blueberries. We ended up sitting around a single table. Interesting group of folks.
I moseyed into town for a rafting trip on the Yellowstone River with Flying Pig Rafting https://www.flyingpigrafting.com/
I did the two hour tour and got paired up with Kayleigh, a first year raft guide, and a nice family from the Research Triangle. We talked birds. Got to see some nesting Ospreys. The river was pretty awesome. The Yellowstone River is pretty big, we powered over a rapid onto a giant boil, the size of swimming pool, that made me happy I hadn’t decided to run it in a boat. This was a good day for a two hour family friendly rafting trip. Flying Pig launches from downtown Gardiner and shuttles home. I would recommend them.
We got to look at the river which was recently flooded and running 20 or 30 feet above our heads. A flood which effectively locked Gardiner out of Yellowstone National Park for the summer. The eight miles were pretty scourged clean, but there were remnants of a buildings and furniture on the banks. Several homes got upgraded from waterfront to perilously clinging.
I got a nice sandwich for the drive at Tumbleweed Bookstore & Cafe which was exceptional and the kind of local eats you want to run into on the road.
Got to see my first bison. They were ranched bison, but bison is a bison. Having the opportunity to visit someplace with no crowds is really the best version of that place. Even if you have to deal with fire smoke or can’t get easy access to a National Park.
I could have back tracked two hours and gone through the park . I didn’t. I turned East. Towards Billings.