Bright and early at 4:30 am, my group and I struggled to get ready and pack up our things. Unable to bear the bright light, and most likely still half asleep, we stumbled throughout the room in the dark and managed to make it downstairs on time.
Thus, we departed from the hotel at 5:30, and began the two hour drive to the entrance of Yellowstone. Immediately upon sitting down in the car, we fell asleep, very tired from the early morning. However, the second Starbucks caffeine hit our system, we were wide awake and energetic for the remainder of the day. The fun company and beautiful scenery made the drive very entertaining and the time passed quickly.
My jaw dropped the moment we began a series of switchbacks up the mountains. The view around us was the most stunning sights I have ever seen. Even in July, snow still remained throughout the terrain as a sense of pure wonder could be felt across the land. It was like something you read about in books; the drive before entering the park was truly a dream come true.
Many different creatures and wildlife were spotted on the drive as well. A small fox, a herd of mountain goats, groundhogs, beavers, and wild turkeys were found close to the road and enjoying the cool breeze as we drove by. The fox in particular was easily the group favorite. After several twists and turns, we entered Yellowstone National Park.
I think everyone’s initial thought of the park was simply just how large it actually is. In fact, the park itself is larger than the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined. It seemed to stretch for forever, as gorgeous views encased our vehicles. Toward the beginning of the drive, a small black bear cub scurried across the road. He was the absolute cutest, as his tiny feet padded along the fallen tree trunk, just to the right of the car. It’s safe to say the bear cub was toward the top of everyone’s list at the end of the day. At first believed to be cows, we also discovered hundreds upon hundreds of bison grazing in the fields, resting in the wild flower beds, or nursing the young. It was absolutely crazy how many were there; I had never seen so many buffalo in my life.
The drive through Yellowstone took longer than we all had expected. Fortunately we were able to stop and take a food break at the quick service restaurant and pick up some souvenirs at the gift shop. Once we were back on the road, we had a few picture breaks at certain beautiful spots; geysers, streams, and mountains filled the backgrounds of our photos and broke up the long drive.
Finally around 2:00 we arrived at our destination: the Old Faithful Geyser. Just missing the previous eruption time, we decided to hike the trail surrounding Old Faithful and giving up close views of hundreds of other geysers. The trail itself was actually a bridge above the very hot ground where the geysers were scattered throughout so as not to get burned or injured. Although the sun decided to make the weather much warmer, the views surrounding us were unlike any other hike I’ve ever done. The air smelled of sulfur and rotten eggs, but the unique shapes of each geyser were very interesting and amazing to see.
Realizing Old Faithful was going to erupt fairly soon, we decided to put an end to the hike, and walked back to the viewing area around the famed geyser. Although it was a little off and on at times, meaning the geyser would begin to burst, but back off suddenly, in the end the wait was worth it. Old Faithful delivered yet again as an enormous stream of boiling hot water was shot into the sky. It was really amazing to watch.
Once the geyser was finished, we headed back to the cars and took a three hour drive to our dinner location, Dixie’s Diner, a very cute, local 50’s place. With our stomachs full, we departed one last time for the day, and drove roughly an hour to the hotel. Yellowstone was very beautiful and I’m so thankful we were able to visit.