Today is the day I’ve been looking forward to throughout our entire trip: our day at Yellowstone National Park. It blew my expectations out of the water. The drive in to the park was breathtaking. In the Badlands, we purchased an annual pass for $80, which gets the cardholder (me) and a car full of people into any national park for free. The entrance fee to get into both The Badlands, Yellowstone and The Grand Teatons without a pass would have been $65. Since I will most likely be visiting other National Parks while in California, this was a good investment for me. It is just something to think about when going on a road trip with multiple National Park pit-stops.
A couple things we learned while at Yellowstone:
- Put on sunscreen. Everywhere. Even though mom and I were wearing our sweaters for a majority of our hiking, Yellowstone is up in the mountains where the sun is stronger and the air is thinner. I got sunburned on the front of my neck and chest, and mom got sunburned on the backs of her legs. NOTHING IS SAFE.
- Drink LOTS of water. You may not think that you’re sweating, but you are. And the altitude makes you dehydrated as the air is dryer and thinner. If you want to see a lot of things in one day, drink up so you won’t burn out. Also, there are bathrooms located at most of the major stops, so there’s no worry about drinking too much. Also, carry Advil or Tylenol just in case.
- If everyone is stopped on the road, it’s most likely for wildlife, so be patient and have your camera ready. We got to see buffalo and an elk up close and personal because of this. Just roll with it and enjoy the moment. Also, don’t honk at others trying to get a picture. It’s rude and disturbs the wildlife. Don’t be that guy.
After seeing the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, mom and I were getting a little burnt out, so we decided to head to Old Faithful. Just a forewarning if you are planning on visiting the Old Faithful part of the park, it is huge, so remember where you parked. This is where mom and I took a break and stopped for dinner.
We ate at the Old Faithful Inn, (not pictured, sorry!) and had a delicious buffet of prime rib, steamed trout and an assortment of veggies, rice and salad with huckleberry vinagrette (also not pictured, sorry again! We were too hungry to remember to take photos). This was partly our fault, because we should have recorded our time better, but we ended up missing Old Faithful because our waiter took forever to bring us our check. Because the geyser erupts every 90 minutes or so, we would have had to wait another 90 minutes to see it erupt again, and the sun was already starting to set. We didn’t want to have to drive in the mountains in the dark, so we left the park in a little bit of a sour mood. I think it was a combination of exhaustion and saltiness, but we got over it pretty quickly as we drove through the beautiful southern part of Yellowstone. Our cabins were beautiful and welcoming, so that was a beautiful thing to “come home to” after a long day of exploring.
Tomorrow we are off to Salt Lake City, and then Sacramento! Can’t wait!
Bonus: Video Compilation of Yellowstone