Sunday, January 4, 2009

Kicked out of Yellowstone

Okay, we didn't REALLY get kicked out of Yellowstone, but we didn't get to spend as much time there as we would have liked. Rocky's folks came for a visit over New Year's and we thought it would be fun to visit Yellowstone in the winter. We looked into a Snow Coach ride, but we only wanted to spend half a day in Yellowstone and it was more affordable to take the trip ourselves. We had more flexibility and would be able to drive every where the 1/2 day trip in a snow coach would go as well. We also decided to splurge and got a suite at the Best Western in Gardiner for the night before -- well worth the splurge!

The weather forecast was for cold and light snow. We left New Year's day after lunch and got to Gardiner right after dark. We had a nice supper and enjoyed our suite. There was plenty of room for Maggie to run, run, run together with Grandpa. The next morning, Maggie got us all up early, so we enjoyed a nice breakfast before heading to the park. The wind was blowing and it was snowing a little, but we figured once the sun was up, it would let up enough for us to enjoy the park.
We saw lots of deer and elk on the short drive from the hotel to the park. Rocky started taking pictures right away (and is trying to figure out where they got saved on his camera).

We got to the ranger check-in station and were then informed that we probably wouldn't get much further than Mammoth as it was snowing and blowing, and one of the Yellowstone snow plows was stuck on the road to Cooke City. We had come this far, so we weren't going to turn around right away, but thought we would check it out. We saw more elk and deer, and some big horn sheep and a bald eagle on the 5 mile drive to Mammoth. We could watch the temperature drop on the drive up the mountain -- even with the cold temps and blowing snow, we saw a few truck-bed campers at the campground. By the time we arrived at Mammoth, we knew our stay in Yellowstone wouldn't be long. We drove a little past, but the ice and snow were more than we wanted to risk. We did check out the gift shop. Maggie had fun making flattened pennies with Grandpa and even got an "official" Junior Park Ranger badge with her name on it. We had to get it as we so rarely find anything that is pre-printed with "Maggie." And then we headed home -- noting we would be back!

The three hour drive home wasn't bad -- it was clear so we were able to see the mountains. We swung through Red Lodge for lunch and some fun shopping. Maggie finally fell asleep between Red Lodge and Billings and didn't wake up until almost bedtime! All in all, it was a nice way to start off 2009!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Happy New Year. Sure enjoy your sharing the pictures and your newsy happenings. We have had nice weather but to get colder with snow on Monday. Loveya Judy and Gary