This adventure I am particularly excited about, more so than some of my recent adventures, many of those adventures are places I had already visited before…this is a place totally new and that is cause for excitement!
When I made the plans for this weekend I knew there were three main things I wanted to see when I visited Yellowstone National Park, baby buffalo, Old Faithful (that one was obvious) and the pools (mainly because of the natural colors they contain). I am happy to report that I was able to see all three things on my checklist and so much more!
The weather driving out to West Yellowstone, Montana wasn’t pretty, it was raining, windy and kind of miserable. Knowing that weather always passes eventually I kept my hopes high that the rain would pass. When I pulled into the ranch where my “weekend home” was going to be I could barely contain my excitement! I decided to veer away from the traditional sense of camping for this weekend, I have camped in tents and in a sleeping bag under the stars my whole life I wanted to have a different experience this time around. I had booked my stay at a campground called Yellowstone Under Canvas, a camp site whose tents are safari tents. They have a wood stove inside to keep you warm at night, a bed (way more luxurious than what I am used to!) and if you spring for the additional comfort, a roll away shower they can set up in your tent, I opted for walking 15 feet to the communal showers instead. I think that I can rough it that much for this trip.
Shortly after arriving and getting settled in the rain clouds cleared away and though it was still a little chilly the weather started to turn out to be really nice! SCORE! I didn’t give myself a lot of time to explore around Yellowstone on Friday night so I decided it was about dinner time. Always wanting to check out the local spots I found this “pub and eatery” called the Slippery Otter Pub, they have the best and largest selection of local Montana beers on tap and one of the best Bison burgers I have ever had. The food was great and the wait staff was awesome! They were cracking jokes, giving tips to other cool places to visit to anyone who would listen and were very attentive to their customers.
Wanting to just explore around I drove around West Yellowstone, a town built around the West entrance of Yellowstone National Park and servicing the tourists and travelers who wander through their one horse town. I have never seen so many themed coffee shops for the caffeine deprived patron, Morning Glory Coffee, Running Bear Pancake House, these are all interesting places to get your morning cup of Joe if you are looking for a place for some local culture for your morning cup of jolt to get you started for your daily adventure.
Entering into the park from the West entrance is the closest entrance to Old Faithful, so if that is the primary sight to see on your bucket list, you might want to stay in West Yellowstone. It cost $30 per private vehicle for a 7-day pass and that will allow you anywhere in Yellowstone National Park.
If you are not a fan of standing in line, sitting in your car for long periods of time unnecessarily my biggest suggestion would be to GET THERE EARLY. Or even better to try camping in the park, though reservations do fill up quickly. Even starting off at 7am by 2pm the park was packed wall to wall with people and good luck trying to find a parking spot on the side road sites.
And of course the most known site in the park is Old Faithful! The geyser goes off every 60-90 minutes but when you arrive at the viewing lodge they have a schedule of when it should irrupt give or take 15 minutes so be sure to get there at least 30 minutes beforehand if you want to get a good seat.
I love how people have just immersed themselves into the park, hikers on every trail, fishermen around every corner of every stream and of course a tour bus crawling up every hill.
One of the things I loved most to see was the different colored pools throughout Yellowstone National park. These steaming pools of color are completely fascinating to me, how different mineral build ups change the color of the water. If you have any interest in earth sciences you HAVE to come to Yellowstone!
There is so much to see in Yellowstone that there was no way to see it all in two days but if you had a week you’d have a better chance of site seeing, hiking and exploring the history of Yellowstone.
Traveling Photographer Out…