Day Thirty Seven: Yellowstone National Park

Jake and I successfully made it out of the park by 6:30. GO US! We got dressed made, the bed, and headed to the park, making a very quick pit stop for breakfast burritos at McDonalds. Rather gross, yes we are aware, but we just love them! Also it worked into our very early and quick morning schedule that day. We had heard that if there is traffic, it can take you up to an hour to get into the inner loop of where the park essentially starts. Driving in, we were so grateful to find this not to be the case for us! We were in the park in 15 minutes and decided to head North in search of wildlife. We had no real plan other than to see the brightly colored pools, and Old Faithful, so the day would really consist of driving through and stopping at various Geysers along the way. First stop, Paint Pots! For no real reason other than I loved the name.

After the paint pots, we continued North, and decided to visit the Norris Geyser Basin because it showed an information center near there. We were hoping to get a little bit more information about where exactly these more brightly colored pools were located. To our surprise, this Geyser Basin was worth seeing as well. That’s how we have felt throughout this whole trip to be honest. There’s nothing that isn’t worth seeing, and the best things come when you stumble upon them, without planning to. Being that it was early, there were few people, and we were able to stroll on the boardwalk, taking our time to admire these incredible natural structures that were so new to anything else we had seen on the trip. On the way out we ask two of the park rangers if they know where the best pools would be, and they pointed us in the direction of Old Faithful. Because that was to the South of where we were, we made the decision of continuing North, and wrapping around inner circle of the park and finishing the day with Old Faithful and the colorful pools. This was a bold move considering the size of the park, but we felt like it was a better decision than back driving back through where we had just come from.

So, we headed on our way, stopping where we felt like it and enjoying the magnificent scenery. We spotted Bison, Elk, and even almost saw a Bear on the side of the road. He was up ahead of a line of cars and we were unfortunately just out of sight. Around lunch time, I noticed a picnic area located on Gull Point on the coast of the Yellowstone Lake. When we headed in that direction, we stopped at what we thought was this picnic area. Two tables out off to the side of the road. However, when we got out of the car, we realized that these tables seemed to be very neglected, and for a very good reason. We were completely covered in may flies within two minutes and found it hilarious that we actually considered trying to eat here. Oh how far I have come with my bug tolerance. After realizing the ridiculousness of staying, we hopped back in the car, brushed off the flies that had attached to our hats, and continued along the coast in search of a different pull off with less bugs. Just 5 minutes away we found the most beautiful picnic site. The one most likely depicted on the map. There were deer roaming through, shade from the trees, and a view of the lake. We made our salami sandwiches and enjoyed every minute them! Also we have been total veggie sandwich lovers throughout this whole trip, there’s something about salami sandwiches that Jake and I just love. Not to mention the less time consuming clean up. We had chocolate for dessert, and then headed to Old Faithful.

Arriving to the parking lot by Old Faithful reminded us a little bit of Disney World. Only with less space and more diversity. There were people from all parts of the world, all ready and excited to see this spectacular natural showcase of Geyser power. We just happened to arrive at the right time. 30 minutes until it’s next scheduled eruption. We made our way to the crowded benches surrounding it, and luckily found a nice family who made room for us to sit on the bench directly in front. Talk about perfect timing! We waited patiently for the show, and more and more people began gathering around. At first it was a bit annoying, but seeing the look on everyone’s face, and hearing the oo’s and ahh’s from people who spoke all different languages was truly priceless. I loved that we could all enjoy this together in peace. It actually brought tears to my eyes, no surprise there. After viewing the grand eruption, Jake and I headed to check out the Old Faithful Lodge. Jake’s (and my soon to be ah!) father had mentioned he loved the lobby, so we were eager to check it out. I was hoping to find a good wifi signal so that I would be able to run my 5:00 Monday Meeting from the park and then be able to check out the pools afterwards, but unfortunately the Lodge didn’t offer wifi, and the signal at the Inn next door was rather slow. No colorful pools for us. We’ll just have to come back, and with a fishing license this time!

We stopped at the visitor center on our way back into town, and I ran inside to set up for the quick meeting! I’m so grateful I am able to run this business throughout this trip. Despite the hassle, it is truly one of the biggest blessings and I believe that my efforts put in everyday to make this a priority will pay off in the bigger picture. Jake filled up the water and cleaned the cooler while I was working, and also found us a free campsite to sleep at that was on the way to Bozeman! It was about a 30 minute drive. We headed there, Jake sleepy eyed and hungry, and me happy and giddy about life, as I usually am after meetings and fizz. We arrived at the site, and immediately saw a few bears on the other side of the road! It was a sign. However, my eagerness to continue working wasn’t quite swayed, and I felt I needed service. So we headed up the road, and pulled over at a place called the Covered Wagon Ranch. It was just beautiful! This whole trip Jake and I have made comments about how campgrounds with cabins just don’t seem to have that homey feel, and are more like suburban homes all crammed together. This place was anything but that, and it was very refreshing! The owner came outside to greet me, offered that I was more than welcome to use their wifi, and even invited us back for breakfast the next day! We were quick to accept, and knew that we would be back in the morning. I sent a couple of more messages, and then realized that maybe I was being too ridiculous about the no service thing. So we headed back to our free site with no service, and began making dinner. The rest of the spaghetti leftovers had never tasted so good! After dinner we had tea, I did yoga, Jake checked out the Madison river across the street, and then I caught up on some journaling. We headed to sleep around 10. Hearts full of adventure, and looking forward to breakfast and enjoying our final day of the trip!