This stay was a lot of firsts for us which is fitting since Yellowstone was the first established national park in the US in 1872. It was the first time we hosted guests in our RV which then led to other firsts like using our cooler (to hold more beer, duh), building a campfire (long overdue, I know), and using the picnic table cover.
Julia and Brendan are from New York and they have been planning a trip to Wyoming for the past year. I met Julia in college and we have been close friends ever since. Really only geography stands in the way of us hanging out every day. Matt and I were able to map out our trip to meet up with them in Wyoming.
We arrived to Yellowstone early and spent a majority of our day setting up and cleaning our RV. In the evening, we drove to Lamar Valley and did a small hike that was cut short because a herd of bison was blocking the trail. Although bison appear to be slow and docile, they actually have unpredictable behavior and can run up to 40 mph. They are also crazy strong and weigh up to 2,000 lbs. So heed the NPS warnings and observe them from a safe, respectable distance.
On our way home, we saw traffic up ahead. Cars were moving slowly as a ranger was directing them forward. Turns out a black bear was eating at a bush just 10 feet from the road. I took a three second video that I’d say is and will forever be my greatest video of all time. If you want to see the video, go to my Instagram account (@TheHungryCamper) because WordPress will make me pay $$ to upload a video to this blog. Sorry – I don’t make the rules, just go look at the it, okay??! Then we can talk about how amazing bears are!!
Finally, Julia and Brendan arrived the next evening. We had dinner and a campfire waiting for them. Unfortunately, for the next two days, the weather was predicted to be cold and rainy with possible snowfall. Julia and Brendan were troopers though. We went to Artist Point at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Even in the rain, the canyon was beautiful. The canyon walls were splattered with vibrant colors and the Yellowstone river flowed right down the center.
We also did a six-mile hike to ribbon lake and clear lake. To our delightful surprise, the trail had hot springs and geysers that we got to walk past and admire. They were so bizarre that it felt like being on a different planet. We could have gone farther in our hike, but with the weather getting colder, we decided to turn back. Glad we did because on our last mile, it started snowing the largest snowflakes I’ve ever witnessed.
Initially, Matt and I had a grand vision where we would do a long hike with our guests then bring them back to the RV and cook some fatty steaks on the grill. Everyone would sit by the campfire and enjoy the beautiful night. In reality, when we got back, it was freezing, wet and dark. We stayed cooped up inside the RV, while my courageous husband braved the elements to grill Costco sized steaks on the grill. He did an amazing job and we all were very grateful.
The next morning, we stopped at multiple geysers and hot springs around the park ending at the grand fromage: Old Faithful.
Afterwards, Julia and Brendan went on to The Grand Tetons National Park. Matt and I stayed in Yellowstone a little longer and actually got to soak in Boiling River which is where geothermal water runs into the cold river water. The next day we packed up our stuff and drove to the Grand Tetons where we planned to meet up with Julia and Brendan again.