Mother Nature & National Parks

For as long as I can remember, Mr. SBF and I have had a desire to visit Yellowstone National Park. Early last year we toyed with the idea of going but then we were presented with an opportunity to visit Key West, Florida so we decided to postpone the trip to Yellowstone until this year and made plans to road trip to Florida instead.

For various reasons, the dates for our Florida trip were pushed back and then Mother Nature had her way and sent hurricanes to the areas we had planned to visit along the way.

Feeling a little bit disappointed, we changed our plans once again. We had been talking about visiting Pocatello and Idaho Falls, ID as prospective places for future residence, so we headed to Idaho instead.

We spent a day a couple of days exploring the areas and were quite taken with the charm of Idaho Falls. One morning over breakfast I decided to look at a map of Idaho and Wyoming. We knew we were in eastern Idaho near the Wyoming border, but what we didn’t realize was how close we were to Yellowstone. So, after we finished eating, we jumped in the car and headed north to West Yellowstone, MT and a couple of hours later, arrived at the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

The entrance fee was $20 and it was already mid-afternoon but we figured that we might as well go for it and see what we could see while there was still daylight. Luckily, it was early October so the days were still fairly long. And being early October, the leaves on the trees had begun to change colors and the temperatures were perfect; balmy but not too cold.

Just a few miles in, we encountered bison and elk, grazing right alongside the road. We snapped a few pictures but wanting to take in all we possibly could, we continued on our way. We made it to the Paint Pots, took the walking tour around them, and continued on to see the geysers, Ol’ Faithful to be exact. Apparently, we had missed its eruption by mere minutes but the next eruption was predicted to happen about an hour and a half later. So we, and several other tourists waited. There’s a nice visitor’s center at the site, along with a snack bar and souvenir store. We met some nice people and chatted while we waited. It was like waiting for the fireworks show to begin on the fourth of July! And Ol’ Faithful did not disappoint. By the time the show was over, it was nearly dark. With mixed emotions, we decided that we had better head back into town (W. Yellowstone, MT).

On our way back, I pulled out the receipt for our entry fee only to discover that it was a five-day pass! I don’t know why I didn’t realize that it would be good for several days. Most of the National Parks give multiday passes, I just wasn’t thinking. Duh. We were pretty excited, found a room for the night and went to dinner.

The next morning we headed back into the park, armed with a map and a well-routed plan. We were able to see about seventy-five percent of the park. I really can’t even begin to describe the beauty of the place! The colors, microorganisms, hot springs, mud pots, the Terraces, and Dragon’s Cauldron, all breath-taking! The landscape is so diverse and full of surprises at every turn. And Yellowstone Lake is much larger than I ever imagined it would be. To be honest, until I studied the map, we hadn’t even realized there was a “Yellowstone Lake”. We expected to see lakes, yes, but not The Lake! Haha! And there is apparently, all kinds of water sports and activities that go on up there during the summer (ie. boating, water skiing, etc.). Who knew? Well, lots of people, I suppose!

We spent the whole day exploring and then exited the Park via the south entrance which drops you into the Grand Teton National Park (bonus!) and oh em gee, those are some breath-taking mountains as well! They are dark and jagged and full of mystery!  Our plan is to go back and spend some time camping and exploring in the Grand Teton National Forest. It really is just as beautiful as Yellowstone, only in different ways.

To top it all off, we arrived in Jackson, WY just in time for dinner. I was a little disappointed at the fact that we arrived in Jackson so late in the day. I would have loved to explore, shop, and bask in its quaintness for a while longer, but alas, we had to get back to Idaho Falls that night.

All in all, it was a good trip and we highly recommend a visit to Yellowstone.

No matter where you make your home, a trip to Yellowstone is well-worth the journey!

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