Sunday morning we took down our campsite and headed northeast towards West Yellowstone. About 10 minutes into the drive we crossed over into Montana for the first time. We were excited to see the welcome to Montana sign, and in about another ten minutes we were in the town of West Yellowstone. While it appears to be a heavily tourist area, it still has that old, cheesy road trip feel to it with a lot of hotels, bars and restaurants.
The entrance to Yellowstone National Park park already had a multi-lane car cue. A ranger came down each lane explaining that a bad car accident had caused some delays. There ended up being a bit of traffic until the road split at the Norris junction. While we thought to ourselves how could there be such a bad accident with a 45mph speed limit? But as we saw all throughout the day, people ignore the multiple warnings to not stop to look at wildlife, unless there is a turnout.
The west side of the park is a hot bed of volcanic activity. Tons of little geysers and hot springs everywhere. I think we stopped at all of them. Some were more colorful than others, and some had a strong sulfur smell to them, though most didn’t. Pretty cool to see the Earth breathing in that manner. We stopped to take a look at a herd of bison taking a break in their day. The male bison were sitting in a distinct line in between the turnout and their families.
From the Norris junction we headed northeast towards Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon. The visitor’s center is huge with multiple stores and lodges. We bought a few patches and stickers and made ourselves some lunch. Afterwards we went to the canyon overlook and checked out the Yellowstone canyon falls. Pretty cool to see, but way too many other tourists to take it all in quietly. In this general area of the park we did see a grizzly bear running through a field with its kids, so that was pretty neat and put a smile on our faces.
We headed south along Yellowstone Lake to the general store near the lake lodge. What a neat old hotel, very cool to see such a neat old building in that setting. The lake is huge, a deep blue and was surrounded by snow capped mountains. Gorgeous.
The Grand Prismatic Spring was our next stop in the park. The geyser crater and springs were amazing, especially with all of their water flowing into the nearby river. The big issue was the amount of dip-shit tourists there. While the amount of people is to be expected, the amount of inconsiderate and oblivious ‘me-me-me’ people is ridiculous! The walkways are only a bit wider than a city sidewalk, and have no railing. So taking up the entire width and not sharing the walkway with the other 1,000 people on the path is just stupid and dangerous. People really are in their own world and think that they are the only ones in it. Whatever, stay positive. The Grand Prismatic Spring is beautiful though, that’s for sure.
Our last stop in the park was to be the world famous Old Faithful Geyser. Well to be honest, it’s pretty underwhelming. Maybe it was an already full day of driving and tourist avoiding, but by the time we saw the geyser do it’s thing, we just weren’t impressed, LOL. The waterfalls and beautiful fields of bison were more amazing in our opinion, but that’s just us. We are glad that we checked it out, but don’t need to go back.
Now, as we left Old Faithful and headed south towards the southern exit of the park, the sun started to set. We don’t know if it was just that part of the day or since there are no ‘attractions’ that far south, but there was no one around and the park came alive for us! The sunset over Lewis Lake was amazing. We stopped several times just to take photos and listen to the water lap up against the shore. Definitely the most beautiful part of Yellowstone National Park.
As we left the park through the southern exit, we were immediately inside Grand Teton National Park. It was getting dark now, so we weren’t seeing anything around us, so we just headed through the park to our campsite for the night at the Fireside Resort in Moran, Wyoming. The next day would be our official introduction to Grand Teton, a place we instantly fell in love with…