Monday, December 27, 2021

Yellowstone! Approaching the Park

 I've always wanted to go to Yellowstone.  We have planned two trips, each in the summer, each foiled by different events (first, Charles' stroke, then, Katherine's job).  I've also always wanted to go in the winter, ever since reading an article about it from the 90s, probably.  

Approaching the holiday break, I still hadn't planned anything.  I was considering Yosemite, but with our minivan I don't feel totally safe driving in the snow.  I thought about San Diego to visit cousins, but as it turns out, a lot of them left town too.  Then I wondered, could now be the time to go to Yellowstone?

So, with five days' notice I started to look at the logistics... and they all kinda fell together!  Last step was to see if my parents could watch Puck, but when I called, Mom wanted to come with us and so I started over, getting reservations for her, too!  An amazing, extraordinary, wonderful, memorable experience.  I can't want to go again!

On the first day, we flew through Salt Lake City, where we had delays.  I understand delays, but was annoyed with Delta for dropping the ball on communication.  We had texts and emails of the first (three hour) delay, but no acknowledgement when the delayed flight time came and went and our flight went right off the board!  We did get a flight and it was great, but I felt some tension about arriving in zero degree (F) temperature after dark.  It all worked out though - we arrived in Bozeman, payed a crazy amount to rent a car, then made it the hour and a half on icy roads to Gardiner to a nice motel and pizza... and no one wearing masks. Toto, we aren't in California anymore!

The next morning, we admired the beautiful river, then drove into the park to Mammoth Hot Springs, where the road ends to private travel in the winter.  Even the drive in was stunningly gorgeous and we enjoyed the Visitor's Center in Fort Yellowstone at Mammoth Hot Springs.

I look like a shortie with my two gigantor daughters

My Mom got the best photo of the terraces

The temperature was in the single digits, but there was no wind so we aren't bundled up... yet.

It felt a little closer to the Arctic end of things!

The first of many views like this - snowy landscape with steam coming from some thermal activity

Yep, that's in Fahrenheit

We got a taste of the wind chill and so bundled up a lot at the Mammoth Hot Springs hotel before heading deeper into the park on a snowcoach

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