Monday, September 14, 2015

Yellowstone National Park: Getting There

Yellowstone National Park - Day 1 - Getting There – 7/22/15

How is it possible that Smoky Scout has never been to Yellowstone National Park?  Well, a trip was contemplated, dreamed about, planned… and canceled when life circumstances intervened.  This year Jim and I dusted off the file, clicked on the websites and tried again.  We booked campsites in the park, employing the rubric of “sleep cheap and eat well” that has proven successful on trips with my hiking buddies.  And it worked. 

Flying is not as magical as it used to be. We go to hard-to-reach places that require all-day traveling and connecting flights.  Checked bags are not free.  Seats are smaller. Hope they don’t confiscate my carry-on bag. On the second leg, a four-hour flight into Bozeman, MT, Jim bravely took the middle seat in our row next to a young woman with a 2-year-old on her lap.  Mom had a bag of tricks and non-stop snacks.  Jim endured the crumbs and little feet on his arm and stickers carefully placed on his shirt.  On the descent, the frightened toddler screamed continually as we tried to get her to look out the window to find the cows.  Could have been worse. 

Our teeny fun rental car.  The enormous duffle bag that held all of our camping gear barely fit in the trunk. 

At the local Wal-Mart we bought some groceries, two cheap tailgate chairs, filled our soft-sided cooler with ice and adult beverages, and pointed ourselves to Mammoth Hot Springs, the northern entrance to Yellowstone NP. 

Elk were patiently waiting.

On the way to Canyon Village, our campground home base for the first three nights, we got a good look at Mount Washburn, one of our planned hikes.  The fire tower is the tiny dot on the tallest peak in the photo.

We got in kind of late and our campsite was less than desirable, a slope that rain obviously rushed through.  We pitched our tent in a better spot in the general area of our site, ready to move if someone told us to, but no one ever objected.  Otherwise the location was great, near the general store and showers.  And the location of Canyon Village is ideal for exploring the entire park. 

A long day, time for snoozing.  Tomorrow’s forecast:  afternoon thunderstorms, so no hiking to high peaks.  Oh, well, just the two of us, a map and a guidebook.  We’ll find something to do!

“If you wait to do everything until you’re sure it’s right, you’ll probably never do much of anything.”  ~Win Borden


Nancy said...

I can't believe this, but we were in Yellowstone at the exact same time! In fact, I randomly came across two other people I know while we were there from two different facets of my life! I worked as a server in Canyon Village's dining room when I was in college, and hands down, it was the best summer of my life. Yellowstone is incredibly special to me and I can't wait to read your next post about what you did while you were there!

Linda W. said...

Glad you were able to explore Yellowstone! It's one of my favorite National Parks. And I had to laugh about trying to fit camping gear into a tiny rental car. My family traveled to Alaska many years ago, and that's exactly what we had to do too! :) Looking forward to the rest of your trip reports.