Yellowstone Day Trip 2014.

img_0396Our 2014 Yellowstone trip was brief. This is because our journey to Montana was actually for a family wedding in Bozeman.  I had been to Yellowstone before on a family trip when I was in high school, and I remembered how beautiful it was & that my husband had to see it. So, we (and my younger sister)  planned on a quick day trip to check it out. What a sight. The drive in alone was beautiful! …I might feel that way because I live in a desert. So when you get to spend the beginning of July in Yellowstone, it’s a real treat.

img_0398It was a nice break from the quiet college town we were staying it. The air smelled like fragrant wildflowers, and the mountain ranges were massive & breathtaking. We drove past dozens of cabins, and had a great time playing “I pick that one”. We had plenty of day dreams of escaping the Arizona summers & spending Christmas in these charming mountain retreats. There were visions of hot chocolate & s’mores, and sledding all day long. …But reality set in:  it would just be brutally cold.

 I couldn’t wait to get into the park. We were heading in from the North entrance (see map below) & our first stop was Mammoth Springs. What a sight..  Layers & layers of limestone pools. Some filled with aqua colored water and some with a brown milky tinge. It was so inviting, but sadly you have to stay on the path.

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Once we did our loop around this fun attraction, we headed back to the car to be on our way to our next stop. We didn’t have a lot of time this day. We had to be back in time for a family event. {TIP: Wear comfortable shoes that give you full coverage. Sandals are not the best idea. You can do quite a bit of walking & a lot of the paths around the hot springs are made of slats. It would be easy to lose a sandal, and it is possible to trip. …and there are quite a few stairs} 

IMG_0444.JPGThe drive continued to not disappoint. We had the pleasure of driving past Obsidian Cliff, which wasn’t as black as I thought it would be. There were pine trees everywhere… You could take a deep breath and get a big whiff of refreshing pine, while you hear the babble of nearby streams.  The rivers and streams were filled with crystal blue waters that looked as refreshing as I’m sure they were cold.  We found our way heading south keeping our eyes pealed for large wildlife. We had the delight of seeing a buffalo grazing.

 

IMG_0468.JPGThere were so many places that I wanted to stop, but we just didn’t have the time. So, we stuck to the core pieces. Next up, Grand Prismatic Spring. When we reviewed the options & places we could go, it wasn’t my husbands first tree. I think his was the Petrified Tree… He just didn’t know any better. I basically had to twist his arm & say “NO, you have to see the Grand Prismatic Spring”. So, that is just what we did, and it was worth it. I could look at it every day of my life, and be happy. It is one of natures finest sights. Sadly, once again, my pictures don’t do it justice, but it is a beautiful rainbow of steaming color. I urge you though, follow the instructions. Stay on the path. It is beautiful but it is also extremely dangerous. Take in the beauty & watch for wildlife. We had the pleasure of watching large Stag in the background. His silhouette was clouded by the steam, and it was a truly majestic sight.

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Along the path to Grand Prismatic Spring you pass by a couple other springs that are full of beautiful bubbling, steaming blue water! Just don’t touch any of them… The flesh will probably melt off your body… Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but you will get burned as the water is close to 200 degrees & the “ground” around it is unstable. … so stay on the path!!

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After this, we headed back to our hotel because it was an extensive drive, probably close to an 1.5 hour drive. We decided to skip going to Old Faithful because time was tight & I personally, as someone who had seen it before, feel that it is kind of overrated. When we go back, it will be one of our stopping points though, along with that Petrified tree..

IMG_0479.JPGThe drive home was fun, although I think my sister tried to sleep for most of it. We had the pleasure of passing by a mountain goat on our way of the park & he was looking quite content while eating on the side of the mountain.  During our drive back, the weather changed drastically, and we got caught in some very blustery, that at certain points included some torrential downpours. It was a magnificent addition to our adventure for the day. If you are in an area around Yellow stone & you have 8-12 hours to kill, make the drive. Pay the National Park fee, and explore! With WiFi & cellular data now it is easier than ever!

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LESSONS LEARNED: 

1) Spontaneity & Adventure are always worth it.

2) Always pack your camera (all these pictures were taken on Brad’s iPhone 5S)

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The Compulsive Traveler

out to see the world, and snap beautiful photos while doing so.

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