Pre-trip to Yellowstone National Park
Visit to Yellowstone National Park: June 20 - 25, 2019
We, Paul and Grace Pitzer, are trying another tour to Canada with Grand Circle Travel. The tour is called “Best of the Canadian Rockies: Calgary to Vancouver.” The pre-trip is “Yellowstone National Park & Montana.
Our adventure started with a bumpy flight from Portland to Billings, Montana where we stayed for one night. A snowstorm had hit, so our trip south, which should have taken us over the high Beartooth Pass and down to West Yellowstone, was diverted south from Livingstone to Gardiner where we had lunch and then we went to the North Entrance going through the Roosevelt Arch. This allowed us a full extra half day in the park, and a great one it was.
Our first stop in the park was Mammoth Hot Springs where our guide, Jim, opted to drive us to the top so we could walk down the board walks and paths to see the many springs of various sizes and temperatures. Part way down the walk it began to sleet and rain. Along the drive we had a buffalo traffic jam, as the big animals liked to walk along the road. Then we had a rare grizzly bear sighting of one of the big animals close to the road. Some of my photos aren’t the best, as they had to be out of the bus window, but they are enough to serve as memories.
We stayed three nights in West Yellowstone at the Best Western Desert Inn. They were nice accommodations and it was close to the entrance to the park. As we drove into the park on June 22, it began to snow, and this lasted much of the day, off and on. We were glad we had our down jackets under our raincoats. One stop was at the Grand Prismatic Spring. It was so cold that the steam made it hard to see much of the volcanic colorful hot spot. There were a number of other stops that day, but the main was to see Old Faithful. We arrived at the area in time to see two eruptions, which were about 90 minutes apart.
The second day started out sunny, but very cold. We did a lot of driving this day, going all the way up to Tower Roosevelt area and a drive along the Lamar River, looking for animals. We were able to see two black bear, elk, more buffalo and other animals. It was a beautiful drive. At Canyon Village we stopped for lunch before going to see the nearby Lower Falls. We had a good view site that wasn’t too crowded.
We continued to drive south to Lake Yellowstone, and after a stop at some mud pots we paused at West Thumb where the hot springs came down to the edge of the huge lake. By then it was getting late so we headed back to the hotel, getting in after 5:00. This had been a very good experience in Yellowstone. We made a figure eight in our driving, covering most of the interesting areas.
On June 24 we left West Yellowstone and went north to Great Falls, Montana where we spent one night before continuing to Calgary, Alberta to start the main part of our tour of the Canadian Rockies.
More in the next post as we will be going to Glacier National Park.
Grace and Paul Pitzer are retired school teachers who love to travel and share their stories and photos with others.
Grace and Paul Pitzer
We hope you will keep checking back regularly to see what is new. I'm always out and about with some camera and love to stretch my skills and add to my volume of work.
Motto: "Pack light and take lots of pictures."