Welcome back to part two of our #mtnboundbonds adventures! If you missed Part 1 feel free to catch back up quick on our adventures in Glacier National Park, MT before we cross over into Wyoming to explore Yellowstone!
So back in the car we were for another full day of driving down south. And if you were wondering, we actually don’t mind traveling in the car at all and the only time we really got finicky was the last few hours before we finally made it home. Oh, and James also does every ounce of the driving and I do every ounce of well, how do I say it, “passengering”?! Ha ha. That is just how road trips work for us. James hates being the passenger and I hate being the driver so it works quite well! We also discovered the wonderful world of audio books on our last road trip and now we don’t know what we would do without them! This particular trip we listened to the book The Boys in the Boat– a story about the Washington crew team that competed in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin and brought home gold. It was SUPER fascinating and very well written and we actually were really excited for our driving days just so we could listen to our book ha ha! It was also neat that the book was based where we currently live but also bounced back to the east coast as well where we used to live! We knew, and had been to, almost all of the places the author wrote about which gave us cool insight into the story. But I digress….
As our drive takes us closer to Yellowstone, we begin to see a weird haze and color covering the sky. We stop at a gas station quick and upon opening our door we know immediately now what it is- smoke. So I whip out my handy dandy phone and start looking up the current forest fires in the area. To our dismay there were 5 all occurring in the Yellowstone/Grand Teton area. Eh… We could barely see anything around us it was so thick and our throats hurt from all the smoke. Well, we continue on not really sure what this means for us but knowing we will gain some answers at the gate. To add to our dismay, as we near the gate we see the the Ranger putting a “Full” sign on the campsite we had banked on getting that evening. Ugh. We pull up and talk quickly with the Ranger and also find out that the southern entrance of the park leading into the Grand Tetons (our next destination) has been closed because of fires meaning we would have to head out the east entrance of the park and loop around and back up extending our travels by a couple hours. So we continued on into the park and did a quick stop to evaluate what was going on. The smoke was thick at that point and we weren’t even sure how much of the park we would be able to see the next day. We also were a little thrown off by the fact that our next stop was the Grand Tetons and we would now have to add to our travels to get there in addition to not knowing how the fires were and if we should even backpack because of the smoke. So, as is most often the case in our relationship, I got quiet and disappointed and a little overwhelmed about what to do, and James became energetic and optimistic. In my head our adventures were ending, in James’ they were just beginning. And that often is how marriage works. While there are so many things we agree on and so many ways we think and act the same, there are times like these that we need each other for some balancing. James worked hard to keep my spirits up and adventurous spirit alive and though hard, I tried by best to do just that. So without much of a definitive plan we started to head toward the campsite we wanted that was “full” just to see if they happened to have any open, then we’d figure out the next step from there!
Not too far into our drive though we saw our first taste of Yellowstone at the Mammoth Hot Springs. I had James stop because I couldn’t get over how incredibly interesting they looked with the color of the smoke-filled sky as a backdrop! So very fascinating. I knew I had to snap some photos. And I was super curious because I had never seen hot springs before and was really excited for that part of Yellowstone! So we stopped and meandered around for a little bit taking some cool photos and gazing in fascination at the springs and the colors they produced. Soon though we were back in the car and on our way to the campsite. And God came through yet again as the “full” campsite was holding 2 sites for walk-ins of which we arrived within a matter of minutes to grab one of the last ones! We were ecstatic.
The next morning we woke up early to a clear sky! Praise the Lord! We decided to try to hit as much as we could in a day so that we could head to the Grand Tetons earlier. Yellowstone can be backpacked but it’s more known for all of it’s unique landscape with the hot springs and geysers so we decided to just drive the Grand Loops and spent the day popping in and out of our car to hit all of the cool spots!
The first spot we stopped at though was a massive boulder field we saw on our way in! I have an affinity for boulder fields so we spent a little bit of time climbing and exploring there 🙂
Our next stop was the canyon portion where we explored Yellowstone’s “Grand Canyon” and its beautiful lower falls…
After the canyons we entered into the land of mud volcanoes and cauldrons. Everything in Yellowstone was so fascinating and unique and we couldn’t get over the topography! And yes, it did indeed smell horrible!
Then we hit my favorite part of the park- the hot springs and geysers. I couldn’t get over the color of the hot springs! Just unbelievable!
Why yes, we did get to see Old Faithful blow! And apparently God blessed us with the perfect timing as some people had been waiting for hours and it went off for us about 5 minutes after we arrived! It was pretty neat and I’m glad we got to see it 🙂
This was by far by favorite hot spring aptly named Sapphire Pool.
And there you have it–Yellowstone in a day and a half! It was truly an amazing park and the sites were a lot of fun to see! Join me for Part 3 coming soon where we finish off our trip exploring what came to be our favorite backcountry, the Grand Tetons!