The alarm clock in the hotel room goes off and I get up immediately. The plan is to get to Hayden Valley before dawn to increase our chance of spotting animals. But when I look at my phone I'm shocked to find out it's only 3:18, and my watch confirms it! Turns out the alarm clock is totally crazy and goes about half minute faster by the minute! Damn, last night I noticed the time on the clock was way off but I thought it might have been unplugged so I just adjusted it without thinking too much about it. I wish I had paid more attention to it.
Although there's still more than two hours left for sleeping I'm now having trouble getting back to sleep. I'm not sure if I finally get any real sleep before my the alarm on my phone goes off and we get up and head out. It is super foggy outside. By the time we smell the Mud Volcano again the fog has got even thicker, and when we park our car at Hayden Vally we hardly got more than 30 meters of visibility. There's already another couple there. they are from Washington and have had better luck with wildlife viewing than us. They saw black bears yesterday from a pullout along the road to the north, which we'll be heading up today. They are hoping to see wolves today, too. But with this fog it doesn't seem likely anything will show up.
The campsite at Tower Falls is primitive and small, with about 30 sites. We have no problem grabbing a site but some late comers are not so lucky. We set up camp, cook, eat, and head out to Larmar Valley. Now I've got high hopes for Larmar Valley. It's said to have the most wild life in the park. But we get disappointed again. There's nothing but more bisons. The sun is fierce and Juny is very much opposed to the idea of hiking in the sun. But there's absolutely no shades on the valley trails so we turn back and head up the road towards Mammoth.
We don't get to see more wild animals on the dirt road. On our way back to camp we also checked out the petrified tree. It looks like a regular tree stump. I'm not very impressed.
It's now only 2:30 but we are so sleepy so we head back to camp and take a nap. By the time we head out again the cloud has gathered. We've noticed the same weather pattern almost every day we stay in Yellowstone: it's foggy in early morning, then clears up and gets quite hot by noon. The cloud appears in the afternoon and by 4pm there's enough shade to hike comfortably. Then near evening it'll start to rain.
So now is about the best time of the day to take a hike. We go to Lamar Valley again and start hiking down a trail at the head of the vallye. Less than a mile into the hike on a gentle slope I stop and scope the valley behind us. That's when a white dot catches my attention. I take out the spotting scope and find the white dot. It's a pronghorn antelope! It's about 500 meters out and that's too far for the camera. We start moving back toward the antelope, stopping from time to time to take a better look through the scope and take some pictures. Finally we are able to get close enough to take some great pictures. The antelope also notices us and would stop grazing and look up in our direction, then keep doing its own business. This is so exciting! A bear, a wolf, and an antelope all in one day!
We drive on down and before long I spot another antelope 2-300 meters off the road. We finally pull over the road near the center of the valley. Many people are gathered around this spot looking for wolves. We don't see any wolves, but we see three more antelopes. This time all female, with one being a cub. We stick around as the hopes of seeing wolves fades. Then head back to camp and get some hot dogs (again) at the general store. It's been a long and fruitful day and we go to bed quite early.