So the first National Park I’d ever been to outside of my own state was Yellowstone National Park..in Wyoming. There’s only two reasons I’d ever go to Wyoming. The Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. Aside from that, no thanks.
The drive to Yellowstone is through the vibrant Wyoming countryside…some small towns, some gorgeous stars, and lots and lots of land with some hills. We left near 10pm, which was our poor choice, and began the long drive towards Yellowstone. Apparently T-Mobile doesn’t work in Wyoming, so after we crossed the border, we realized too late that our phones were worthless. About an hour into it we finally stopped in a gas station through a dimly lit sign off the side of the highway. Believe it or not some gas stations do not have maps. Luckily this one did. We got back in the car, exhausted from working all day and grumpy that we were without our oh so trusty devices (millennial problems I suppose) and spread the map and hit the road. Using our phone flashlights, I maneuvered us through what I thought was the shortest way possible (it wasn’t) and aside from a little nap in the dirt parking lot of some random hotel, we arrived at Yellowstone in one piece.
Yellowstone was…in a word…busy. Bison were all over the road and the sides of the road, so getting from one point to another added at least 15 minutes to your drive. At first it was fun to see these large animals right up next to the car…but the next 200 bison we saw kind of lost their magic. The first day was full of sunshine and exploring, looking at the Mammoth Hot Springs and Norris Geyser Basin.
We started our campfire that night, happy with the beautiful sights and the wonderful weather. It was the first official National Park trip and it was starting off great!
Until…we woke up buried in 7 inches of snow. Our tent had caved in on one side, the condensation dripping water onto us. We had to dig our way out of the tent flaps!!!
Luckily for us, the snow continued to fall all day, which deterred visitors and kept many people away from the gorgeous sights. We went to the Grand Prismatic Spring (super hard to see because of all the steam), Old Faithful, and the Painters Pots. I’ll say this about Old Faithful…um…if you skip it…not the worst thing. Cool to see so that you could say that you saw it…but the other sights were much more appealing. The snow would melt along the sides of creeks due to the hot springs, creating a sort of picture you only see in paintings. It was beautiful. Even while trudging through the snow and sleet in pieced together hoodies and shirts (although I’m proud to say I was prepared and brought my heavy coat!…it’s how I roll). The photos below in order are (the Painted Pods-don’t go if you’re nauseous, the bubbles make a very strange sound, Old Faithful, and one of the colored springs).
And below are a few of my absolute favorite photos.
If I could give you any advice about Yellowstone, it would be don’t go during peak season. It’s busy, crowded, and the traffic is horrid. Don’t be afraid to go in the snowy seasons, although I wouldn’t suggest camping. I heart elk bugles and wolf howls (most beautiful sounds I’ve ever heard…nice and far away too). I saw a black bear on the other side of my car! I got to see a part of nature that was so unexplained for so long, the geysers and the hot springs.
It was a worthwhile first National Park and one I’ll never forget.
And also, like I said in my first blog post The First Rule, don’t forget to bring a decent car. And a coat! The weather in Yellowstone can change in an instant and in the summer it snows too!!!
Until next time
The Chubby Cubby