The drive from Teton to Yellowstone is pretty short, about 40 minutes to the south enterance. We toyed with the idea of going around through the back on the Tetons and Idaho, but due to the weather combined with a serious mountain pass along that route, we elected to take the potentially much slower drive through the park.
For those who don't know, getting through Yellowstone can be challenging since getting stuck in so called buffalo, elk, bear, moose, etc. jams are a sure thing. During busy seasons these jams can double the time it takes to get form point A to point B in the park. If you're lucky. We had timed our visit with the start of school hoping the park would be significantly less crowded than during the summer. And it was. But it's all relative. There were still plenty of people.
At the entrance to the park we were greeted with this happy and enthusiastic ranger who had come up with an original way to hand items back and forth to people. We just had to take her picture. We weren't the first, everyone does it seems :-)
We had finally made it into Yellowstone!!
Temperatures were dropping, it was raining, but we were happy. That is, until we noticed that those rain drops were turning to ice...and then snow.....YIKES!! We were driving in the park, on narrow winding roads, pulling our behemoth....in the SNOW!!! We, obviously, weren't quite sure about all this....So, we stopped at the first ranger station we came across and asked about pulling ourselves up and over the fast approaching mountain pass in the park....Happily, we were informed that it'll be ok. The snow's not sticking, and won't, and the pass is not so bad (easy for him to say I guess, but hopefully he knew what he was talking about!).
So we continued on our journey heading to West Yellowstone where we would camp outside the park. We were told that few campgrounds in the park would accommodate our size and that those spots available were few and far between. Not to mention EXPENSIVE! This is Yellowstone after all.
The drive ended up not being bad at all and we made it through the pass! Once over it we hit the Old Faithful visitor's center to grab Jr. Ranger and Jr. Scientist booklets. We only got 1 of each since, like everything else in the park, they were expensive. Relative to the free ones we're accustomed to anyway.....The kids would share the work and the patches. They'll live.
We were lucky enough to come in within minutes of Old Faithful's scheduled eruption! Great timing and a nice beginning to our tour of the park, especially given the weather we arrived in.
The next day's weather was still pretty lousy so we elected to stay at the campground, move to an electrical site (!!!!) and keep busy inside. That meant playing, starting our Jr. Ranger and scientists books.....
...AND enjoying a visit from a CO friend and her kids!! Miss Tiff, from over at freeplaylif.com, is also our former creative math club leader (she's pretty incredible at coming up with ways to make anything and everything math related, well actually, anything really, amazingly fun!)
She now lives in CA but makes a yearly pilgrimage to Yellowstone and we happen to be here at the same time. Soooo lucky for us!! It was short but sweet and a nice touch of home. We'll be seeing her and her gang again once we hit CA to be sure!
West Yellowstone, BTW, is in....
Ever since I saw 'A River Runs Through It' (years and years ago...) I've wanted to be in Montana! Despite zigzagging in and out of Montana on this Yellowstone trip (the west, north and northeast enterences are in Montana even though the park is primarily in WY) we won't count it as our 4th state (I think that's the number we're up to anyway...). Since we didn't really explore it, or even see more than a few miles of it, it's not making the official list. Sorry Montana - see you on our way back though next year! Glacier National Park is on the list.
OK, back to the present though.
Where was I?
Oh, yeah. We're in Yellowstone and planning our sightseeing expeditions.
Tomorrow, we begin!