Thursday, June 23, 2016

Yellowstone (Part 1)

After Jackson Hole, which was a lot more touristy than I was expecting, I was on the road to Yellowstone! 

Two nights ago, I checked online to see if there were any lodge/hotel/campsites available for Wednesday night in Yellowstone. There was ONE campsite available - Bridge Bay.

Backstory: I've never been camping. Well, pseudo camping once in Yosemite. It was a "tent" with a bunkbed, cement foundation and three concrete wall was a tent wall. Kate did all the cooking and I did nothing. So, for me to book a campsite in YELLOWSTONE, the mecca of camping (maybe, I really can't back that statement up)...well, it was a big deal. 

Before leaving California, I did borrow a sleeping bag (thank you Kate) and a tent (thank you Lacy). I had a car, why not bring all the things? Who knows, maybe I'd camp (not really expecting to). 

The cabin in Jackson Hole was 4 times as expensive as the first hotel I stayed in, which pretty much wrecked my budget. I needed to camp to get back on track. So, I booked the site and pretended I knew what I was doing.

South Entrance to Grand Teton National Park
(and Yellowstone) 
Oh, this is going to be a good couple of days!
The speed limit is 45mph (72kph), which is actually comforting since you're constantly looking for wild animals to cross your path. Nobody crossed my path on the way in. But I did stop a number of times to take pictures of...signs...and myself.

FINALLY, at 12:30pm I arrived at the campsite. Standing in line to register was worse than the DMV (1000 x worse than the RTA, for my Aussie friends). I must've waited 30 minutes, but when I got up there, I was HAPPY they took their time explaining everything. Bears and bison and blah blah blah. I ate it all up. 

I set up the tent right away, thinking I'd stay put for the rest of the day, but after reading all the material you get upon entry to the park and a half hour nap in the sun, I got in the car and drove toward Mud Volcano. This was in the opposite direction of Old Faithful and the Grand Prismatic Spring (where I knew I'd be going the next day.)

As I drove down the main street, I saw bison chillin' on a hill that looked like it was on fire. I was soon to learn that these were hot springs and the bison LOVE the heat. They're basically sedated by it.

I thought they were doing a controlled burn on the hil....duh, thermal hotspring!

Soaking up the ground heat! They were all melty and relaxed.
This guy could barely lift his head.
Boiling muuuuuuuud!
The springs smelled of sulfer (aka rotten eggs). It was a hard thing to get used to, especially on such a hot day. Also, sidenote, when you get back in your car after, all your clothes stink to high Heaven of sulfer. For a while. 

Just one quick selfie with a sedated bison (he's farther away than you'd think...I mean, he's HUGE)
Then it was back on the road to the campsite before nightfall. But there's so much to see!!!

Wyoming is so beautiful!

And finally, time to curl up for my first night ever camping!  

It had been a hot day, but it would get down to 30 degrees overnight....

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