I heard tales of a wonderland with exploding geysers, turquoise and rainbow pools, colorful hot springs, bison, deer, elk running freely, and wolves and bears playing in the woods and I knew I needed to head that way, to Yellowstone National Park.
I jumped into my van and drove all the way from Utah, went through some part of Idaho and stopped in West Yellowstone in Montana. It was around 8:00 pm. So I decided to find a hotel, and after putting my backpack and camera in my room, I rushed out to explore the city. The city is kind of a version of the old west. I indulged in a refreshing beer and ate some pasta with shrimp. My goal was to hit the park as soon as the sun rose, so I went to bed early.
I decided to go in early May to avoid crowds. Yellowstone receives around 4 million people a year. The road gets busy, and it is hard to appreciate the attractions with so many tourists around. In summer it can get bloody hot. I went on the first weekend of May. It was a little chilly, but not too many people.
The first stop was at Madison River. I couldn’t resist such beauty and jumped out of the car. The whole view was a spectacle to behold. The mountains behind the river still had some snow on the top. Evergreen pine trees surrounded the river, and far away you could see an elk drinking water. The air was clean and fresh. I felt tempted to dive in, but the water was freezing.
My energy and enthusiasm levels got bumped up after the welcoming of the river into the park. I drove some more and encountered a large herd of bison and baby bison. One of the baby bison was breastfeeding while its mom ate grass by the river. To me, it was sweet, animals just like us humans, love, and protect their children.
One of the advantages of going early in the morning is to find more animals than during the rest of the day. Throughout the whole way, I got stopped several times by buffaloes crossing the road. One big-headed bison was very close to my car. I rolled the window down to take photos, then it saw directly into my eyes and started walking toward the car. I freaked out and rolled the window up while laughing. It was an amusing moment.
Driving through Yellowstone is an adventure in itself. On both sides of the road, there are several different types of trees. Some of them are Douglas Fir and Engelmann Spruce. Get surprised by wildlife walking very close to the cars and deer jumping around, birds singing and flying in the blue sky.
Yellowstone has approximately half the world’s geysers. They are contained in sections, most of them are at the Upper Geyser Basin. The famous Old Faithful is located in that area. Make sure to check the eruption times. It is a show you don’t want to miss. It erupts every 90 minutes.
Several geysers have been giving impressive displays erupting hot water as high as 300 feet into the air, as in the case of Steamboat Geyser. One that’s fun to watch is Ledge Geyser because it is high-sounding. It is the park’s second-largest geyser, and it is located at Norris Geyser Basin. It was dormant for three years and erupted once again on April 28 of 2019.
To fully enjoy the top attractions of the park, you must take it as an adventure, not as a task. Grab the map and plan your stops but have fun during the journey from one attraction to the other. As I said, you will have encounters with different wildlife along the way. Whenever I saw deer or buffaloes, I stopped my car and spent a reasonable amount of time observing them.
In the drive to Norris Basin, a mama bear and her three cubs were playing. Quickly, the area got flooded with tourists and photographers with fancy cameras and telephoto lenses. I sat down on the ground and watched the four walk around and play.
Get out of the car and take a hike, Yellowstone has many scenic hiking trails. Have a picnic by the river. Lay down and look at the sky.
I experienced an exciting and humbling time surrounded by such natural beauty. If you allow yourself to immerse in where you are and in what you see, you will have a revitalizing emprise.
On my way back from Mammoth Hot Springs, I had an asthma attack. My throat had been itching one day before arriving at the park. Once in the park, it got worse, maybe because of the pollen. When I had the asthma attack, my throat started to close up. I could barely breathe, and I truly felt scared. Fortunately, my friend had an inhalator in her backpack. Because of that, my 2-day trip was cut into one. I had to return to Idaho and spent the night at my in-laws.
If you suffer from asthma or any other illness, I urge you to pack your inhalator and medications first before anything else.
Yellowstone National Park is a land of curiosities. It is a wonderland as Alyce’s wonderland. It is a Narnia where animals don’t talk but are abundant and where there are boiling and spouting springs and mud pools. It has a colored canyon with stunning waterfalls and bright-colored thermals. Yellowstone is the scenic wonderland of America. The perfect spot for photographers, hikers, adventurers, and animal lovers.
- Yellowstone National Park is located in three states, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana.
- Old Faithful erupts around 94 or 68 minutes +/- 10 minutes. to find times of geyser eruptions visit the National Park Service.