Yellowstone National Park, Part I

During our 3,000 mile drive from Washington, DC to Seattle, we stopped in Yellowstone National Park for several days. It was my first visit to Yellowstone, and yes, it truly is deserving of its reputation – an incredibly beautiful area of our country.

Prior to arriving in Yellowstone, however, we purchased some bear deterrent. I had no idea this stuff existed, but I received an email from my mom insisting that we purchase some because a hiker had recently been killed by a grizzly bear in the park. While we were in Denver we stopped at REI and picked up a can of “Counter Assault Bear Deterrent”. At $46 it was a bit pricey, but better safe than sorry, I suppose.

Counter Assault Bear Deterrent Spray

On our way to Yellowstone from Rock Springs, Wyoming (about a 5 hour drive) we drove through Grand Teton National Park:

Beautiful, no? And this is just the beginning…

Our first stop in Yellowstone was the Grant Village Campground, where we would be staying for two nights. After quickly setting up our tent, we set out to explore the park. We only had a little over a day and a half in Yellowstone (not nearly enough time if you want to do any substantial sightseeing), so we tried to see as much as possible. Our first stop was the Upper Geyser Basin, where Old Faithful is located.

The park built these wooden walkways so you can walk around the basin and view the geysers up close. These visitors were caught by surprise when the geyser closest to them started erupting.

And, of course, the main attraction, Old Faithful. Instead of fighting the rest of the tourists for a spot on the benches in front of Old Faithful, we opted to watch it from a viewpoint in the middle of the Geyser Basin:

We continued onward to the Midway Geyser Basin. This basin’s Excelsior Geyser pool discharges 4,000 to 4,500 gallons of 199°F water per minute into the Firehole River.

There are over 3,000 bison in Yellowstone National Park. Here is one we spotted off in the distance:

Geothermal activity is everywhere:

We were also lucky enough to spot a grizzly bear from the safety of our car. Unfortunately, the photo isn’t that good, but it was still cool to see one in the wild:

Yes, I took a photo of every bison we came across:

Our final stop during our first day at Yellowstone was Mammoth Hot Springs:

And one last bison spotting before nightfall:

That night we arrived back at our campsite around 10pm (Yellowstone is HUGE!). The temperature dropped to 39°F which I definitely was not prepared for, so I didn’t sleep very well. Lesson learned: I need to purchase a much, much warmer sleeping bag…or just stick to camping at the beach in the summertime. 😉