The campground at Fishing Bridge is for RVs only. Specifically only hard-sided RVs. Because bears can eat tents. Apparently the bear situation gets pretty serious. We, however, did not see any bears other than the one we brought with us. The campground is pretty cramped, just gravel pads and hookups, not even a picnic table in the site. It did feature a neighbor with a child (a two-year-old who bonded with Bear over their mutual love of dump trucks), and snow - big slushy piles of snow.
Our overnight accommodation here came with a punch card good for two free showers (retail value $8.32), so I took Bear to the bath house with me. He hadn't been bathed since.... I think Indianapolis. Anyway, Bear does not care for showers so it was mostly a very damp wrestling match. I consider it a win because I did not have to chase him naked (both of us) through the adjacent laundry facility, just through the women's bathroom.
After that little adventure, and some microwave burritos, we set about exploring the park.
I have always felt like I have not really experienced a place unless I have hiked it (and ideally also gone horseback riding and skinny dipping). So I'm feeling a bit stunted in our inability to hike. Luckily Yellowstone offers an an excellent vehicle-based experience. Today we explored the area around "The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone," starting with a two mile boardwalk loop around Mud Volcano.
Mud Volcano is a geyser that last erupted in the 1800's but continues to bubble and spew sulfurous steam and generally look (and smell) like a dragon-scorched wasteland. Bear, apparently invigorated by his shower, was in a very good mood and enjoyed running along the boardwalk from one feature to the next, pretending to be a train. He made it all the way around the loop without needing to be carried or falling into the boiling acidic water.
Getting into or out of the RV is not the effortless experience I imagined it would be. When disembarking, at least 50% of us find we are not wearing the right shoes. Also jackets, hats, and sunglasses must be located and put on. Invariably, someone needs to use the bathroom. The process takes 15 minutes on the low side. Takeoff is even more time-consuming, as everyone enters the vehicle and begins shedding layers and also realizing they need a snack before we get underway. Breakfast was 45 minutes ago? No matter. May I please have some juice? Since I am not driving I have become primary waitress/flight attendant and it gets a little old. Once everyone is fed and watered, the cabin must be prepared for takeoff - dishes put away with bits of paper between then so they don't rattle, bathroom door secured with bungee cord so it doesn't pop open, all the cabinets closed, etc. Half an hour bare minimum; longer if we've been stopped long enough to unpack more things.
After mud volcano we made our way (slowly) along the North and South rims of the canyon, disembarking to visit various overlooks. Eventually the kids slept and Benjamin and I took turns getting out and walking around at each stop.
The canyon is beautiful with walls of red and yellow rock - colored by oxidizing iron ore deposits, not sulfur as you might expect given the smell of the rest of the park. Highlight of the canyon: looking down on a rocky spire inside the canyon to find an osprey nest. It was huge - probably four feet across and two adults visible inside. One adult dropped out of the nest and then started flapping her wings to gain altitude. This was not the effortless soaring we're used to seeing, this made flying look like work. As she circled around, now level with me at the top of the canyon, I nodded at her, thinking, 'solidarity, mama bird.'