“For the benefit and enjoyment of the people”
In the original road trip blueprints, Yellowstone was not included. The first week in November means the closing of most of the roads in Yellowstone due to snow. Then it sleeps till late spring. I figured we would end up arriving too late, so I didn’t want to get my hopes up and rush the trip to try to make it. Turns out we got there just in time, days before they close it down to car traffic. When I checked the road report early morning day 66 it stated that the roads were open but that “snow tires were required.” We didn’t know how bad the roads were or if we would be allowed in. The road from Cody is an hour plus long and if we didn’t get in we would have to drive back out and all the way around the park in a drive of shame. Lucky for us that wasn’t the case. We got into America’s first National Park and spent 3 days in its awesomeness. The park is absolutely beautiful, and vast. It takes up a good chunk of Wyoming’s northwest corner. Of course the mountains, trees, lakes, waterfalls, canyons and wildlife are gorgeous, but what gives this parks its magnificence is the “super volcano” that’s lying underneath. “Half of the worlds geothermal features are in Yellowstone, fueled by this ongoing volcanism” , Wikipedia. I couldn’t of said it better. Geysers are all over the place, fluorescent bacteria colored hot springs, bubbling mud pits, and steam rising from every crack. The colors are astonishing. Clouds of steam poured out of the hot pits due to the cold air. (The highest temp we saw on these 3 days was somewhere around 35 degrees) This added a really cool element that I’m sure the summer crowd doesn’t get much of, but in the summer crowd’s favor they get to see the awesome colors, without a blanket of steam. In order to catch a glimpse of the colors, the sun had to be just right, and the wind blowing in just the right direction. Either way, this place was totally nutso. We felt like we warped back to the past and any minute now a T-rex would emerge from around the bend. We gotta go back to this place in the summer. Check out some HOT pics.
Hot springs are super dangerous, they’ll even shoot the hat off of the top of your head.Of course we had to do Old Faithful. We got there 15min before it was “supposed” to erupt. She was late, but when it did it was total. Jillian was in love with it. Unaware that she was, She was yelling stuff like “oh yeah, this is it” and “whoa”
On day 2 we went to Canyon Village. We drove out to artist point. A very impressive team of waterfalls and a large canyon. We hiked down Tom’s Trail. Which is 400 steps down, almost to the bottom of the canyon. It wasn’t enough for my dumb Saetta brain so I scaled down the cliff towards the bottom. When i got there I realized it was a bad move. The cliff was steeper then it looked and the view wasn’t much different from the previous view i had. Now I had to climb back up grabbing onto trees and rocks all while trying to manage my camera. I was exhausted by the time I got back. To ad insult to injury, we had to go back up the 400 stairs. By the end of Tom’s trail we were beat. Jillian got sick from the ordeal and was throwing up in the woods. We went to the other view points along the North rim drive. I hiked down another trail to the brink of the upper falls, which was pretty impressive.
Wildlife. Aside from the Physical beauty of the park we got to witness some wildlife sightings as well. We saw the usual, at least usual to us in the past couple weeks, elk and antelope. Along the Lamar Valley drive on day 3 we pulled over when we saw a group of cars (If there’s a group of cars then somethings gotta be poplin) and got to see a wolf in the distance through a man’s scope. There was a group of people there who must do this often. They all had scopes and fowled the wolves all morning. Luckily for us. There also was these huge black birds. Crows I’m assuming, but bigger then any crow I’ve ever seen. When we were visiting old faithful and the surrounding geyser and hot spring walk, the buffalo where grazing right next to the trail. So we got to get really close. In with all the literature they gave us when we entered the park was a warning that the animals that cuz the most injuries to humans in the park are the buffalo, especially in fall when there horny. (no pun intended) But what took the cake was our grizzly sighting on our drive into the park on day 1. When we pulled over with another group of cars to watch a moose and its kid graze across the river from the road, a guy coming from the other direction told us there was a grizzly up the road. F the moose. We hopped into the car in search of the beast. He wasn’t hard to find considering there was another set of cars pullover. I’m pretty sure that without the patience of these wildlife enthusiast we would have def missed a lot of the big finds. The bear was just up the hill under 100 feet away, chewing on a carcass. It was terrifying and terrific being that close.
Have no fear, Bear proof Jillian appear On a lighter note we did cross over the continental divide a couple of times. Which being a nerd, I find really cool. I mean on one side the water makes its way in to the Atlantic and just a few feet on the other side it goes into the Pacific. Tha’s’ just rad. We also passed a sign that marked the 45 parallel. Half way between the North pole and the equator. Pretty neat.
We spent 2 nights in Montana, just outside of Yellowstone. In West Yellowstone and Gardiner. Two really cool small mountain, tourist spots. In gardener we got to see the North entrance into the park. (Hence the quote at the top), and a big buck elk just walking around and grazing in town like it was no big deal. In west Yellowstone we stayed a hotel with an amazing indoor heated pool and slide. We weren’t really feeling up to it at first but we decided to just go get it anyway and it was well worth it.
Next Stop: Teton National Park