Posted by: TheAuthor | 05/11/2011

Day 47 – Yellowstone, Or Is That Whitestone?

We left lazily to get to a McDonald’s and plan our next few days, also to wash and get warm from the chilly night spent in Lovell. During our rehab in McDonald’s we checked the weather for Yellowstone, not only had we just endured nearly freezing temperatures we were also now due rain and snow – just what you want for camping.

We drove past Cody, into the mountainous region before Yellowstone. We noticed the snow before us on the ground, mountains, trees, roofs and cars all of which made our spines tingle with a chill. Continuing west we passed through a small series of tunnels we also saw fresh snow falling around us, I guess autumn is already passing onto winter here! Even with the unexpected snowfall, the area looks absolutely amazing.

The drive through Yellowstone National Park was awe-inspiring, as you passed mountains layered by snow on one side, rolling plains on the other glinting in the sunlight. Snow had not really penetrated throughout the park so only the higher elevations were coated; the remainder was a stunning glow of yellows and green. Everything was a mixture of vibrant colours interspersed with a glistening coating of snow.

As we drove we found a solitary Bison by the side of the road, never having seen on before we all stopped and eagerly took dozens of photographs. Fairly happy with our find we ventured on only to be halted 10 minutes later by a whole herd grazing in a field, calves and all. This would become something that we would soon find ‘normal’ as we drove around the park, sometimes having to stop entirely as they crossed the road beside us.

As we drove west through the park we stopped at almost every location we could to observe this spectacular park, a place I had wanted to see for years and was now getting the chance to explore. Everywhere we looked was something that made you gasp in awe, whether it was Yellowstone lake, a smoking pot, open plains filled with Bison or simply the snow covering the landscape it all looked incredible.

Because of the abundance of wildlife the park has low-speed limits, a good thing because not only do you save lives but you are also able to see everything easier. Although to be honest, if it was your first drive through the park as well you would not be driving fast either. There is far too much to see and if you do not give yourself enough time to visit, you will miss out. Stopping here, there and everywhere even for 10 minutes is well worth it.

We made it to our campsite at Mammoth at the northern entrance before nightfall and set up or tents. Knowing it would be cold overnight Falk and Claire moved into mine and Shell’s four-man tent in an effort to keep warmer. Before hitting the hay we walked over to a single guy we had met whilst driving around in the day, he had a fire going and we had decided to share rather than build our own. We spent the evening huddled around the fire as the sun faded and a brilliantly clear night sky opened up with millions of stars staring down on us.

Before long, roughly 10 P.M. the girls were too cold even by the fire so they went to bed. Falk and myself stayed talking with Tony for another 45 minutes before we too retired to our sleeping bags. As Falk and Claire still had an air mattress, they slept on that with Shell and I took the floor as there was little room remaining. After a number of hours shivering I refused to stay any longer and sought refuge in the warmer insides of Kevin for the rest of the night – Shell eagerly came with me.

Trip Statistics:

Tim Horton’s Stops – 16

Alternate Coffee Stops – 6

States Driven Through – Wyoming

Kilometres driven – 296km

Total Canadian Kilometres driven – 11,499km

Total distance driven – 17,066km

Car faults – Found out Speedometer is inaccurate by 10kph

– Speakers starting to refuse to operate

– Tail Light Casing Broken

– Console Handbrake light always ‘on’

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