If you’ve ever been to Yellowstone during the summer, you know what I’m talking about. Massive crowds! Tortuous traffic! Mosquitoes the size of tour buses! And don’t forget all those blasé bison, blocking traffic and generating more crowds just because they can!
Want some advice?
|Follow the ski tracks in the Upper Geyser Basin for a trail less traveled|
Go in winter. You’ll practically have the place to yourself.
|Cheers! Winter roads in Yellowstone are groomed only for over-snow vehicles|
That’s what my former neighbor and all around great travelling buddy Kay and I did this past January. I have worked in Yellowstone as a seasonal interpretive ranger for the past three summers – staffing the visitor center desk, presenting programs, responding to thousands of questions each day (actually there are only about three questions park rangers get asked. We just get asked each of them about a thousand times every day). I’ll be returning for summer 2014 because Yellowstone is a hard place not to go back to.
But I had never been there in winter. This adventure was long past due. So I reserved a western cabin for three nights at the Snow Lodge (the only lodge open in the plateau interior of Yellowstone), booked a round trip ride in a Bombardier snow coach named Shoshone, scheduled a cross country ski lesson and a snowshoe tour, assembled several pounds of snacks in zip lock bags, and packed my new insulated boots and every single bit of long underwear and fleece outerwear that I own. A bottle of 3 Blind Moose cabernet courtesy of My Travel Agent was also tucked safely away in my suitcase, nestled somewhere between seven pairs of wool socks and my flannel jammies.
It would take Kay and me around 10 easy hours of shared driving to get from southwest Utah to West Yellowstone including a de rigueur stop at the Idaho Potato Museum in Blackfoot. My only regret here was that there were no potato earrings offered for sale in the gift shop. However, it was totally worth going four miles out of our way for the experience because we each got half–price admission and a free carton of dehydrated hash browns as a gift for stopping by. Kay,being the ultimate shopper that she is, bought a potato museum shot glass.
|On display – famous and infamous potato mashers|
|Worth going four miles out of your way to experience|