Yellowstone National Park has been on my list of places to visit for as long as I can remember. Still, as long as I’ve wanted to visit it, I had no idea when I would actually get to the park. My eyes have always been set on far off destinations, and it wasn’t until this road trip that I was able to fulfill some of my long time dreams; Yellowstone was one of them.
Over the years, my appreciation for nature has grown, mostly due to my love of hiking and visit to Africa three summers ago. Being able to experience the beauty of Yellowstone National Park for two days during this trip was an unexpected surprise. While our time there wasn’t as long as we both would have liked, it has inspired us to make a trip back in the future.
On our first day, we drove from the entrance at West Yellowstone down to Old Faithful. Along the way, we stopped to watch some elk and bison, then we took a stroll through the Fountain Paint Pots before finally making our way to Old Faithful.
We arrived at Old Faithful about ten minutes before the predicted eruption, and since it was a Sunday, the area was overcrowded. Still, we were glad we weren’t going to have to wait long. It was impressive to watch, although it was far from my favorite part about the park. I preferred the quieter spots, but it was still interesting to see what the big deal was all about.
On our second day in the park, we explored the north loop, as the park ranger had recommended the day before. Immediately, I was disappointed by the lack of wildlife we saw, although the scenery was gorgeous. Gibbon Falls, a waterfall located right off of the road, was one of the first beautiful areas we encountered.
From there, we made our way around the loop, enjoying the scenes and stopping along the way for some photo opportunities.
This included Mammoth Hot Springs, which was one of my favorite areas of the park, mainly because it felt like another world. Seeing the hot springs in contrast with the mountains and forest was unlike anything I had ever experienced, and it made it one of the most unique areas of nature I’ve ever been exposed to.
Still, the best part of the day for me was when we saw two bears, a mom and her cub. As we found in Yellowstone, many stopped cars and crowds of people meant something exciting was nearby. We asked a man crossing the street, and he informed us that there was a bear. Having always wanted to see a bear in the wild, we stopped and observed what was down below; they were very far away, but it was close enough for me.
That concluded the excitement for us on that second day, and we continued to drive and observe the beauty around us as we made our way out of the park. As much as I loved Yellowstone, I have to admit that I wasn’t a fan of how crowded and touristy parts of it can be. I also disliked how close people were getting to the animals. At first, I laughed at the signs warning people about getting too close to animals, but then I witnessed their brazen behavior time after time with elk and bison. It was upsetting to say the least, and far from what I expected to see.
Still, we tried our best to avoid the crowds, easier said than done at times, and enjoy Yellowstone and the natural beauty it had to offer. As hard as it was to leave, we pulled ourselves away, knowing that there was still so much more to see. One day, I know we’ll both return, but next time, we’ll hopefully get to spend more time exploring some of the trails and off the beaten path opportunities.