Yellowstone National Park
April/20/201618:32 Filed in: Adventure
We arrived in West Yellowstone, MT early afternoon. The town appeared to be deserted - nothing was open, there were very few cars. The RV park (the only one open) was vacant except for two RVs (one appeared to have been unoccupied for a long time). The owner of the RV park asked if we planned to eat out and warned us there weren't many places open. We parked the RV and got it set up before heading to Yellowstone National Park.
During the summer traffic in Yellowstone is bumper to bumper - in April, there are very few cars and very few people. We were able to enjoy the park without the crowds - kinda like having the park to ourselves. We were able to visit the various tourist attractions in the park without struggling to find parking or having to share paths / boardwalks with other people. There were fewer than 30 people at Old Faithful. We saw quite a bit of wildlife (bison, baby bison, elk, wolf, bald eagle, snowshoe hare, marmot, etc).
We saw some wildlife a little too well. On our first afternoon in the park, we were sitting on a bench in the sun watching a small herd of bison by the river. We had binoculars and cameras and were enjoying watching the bison and taking photos using a long range lens. Suddenly the geese that were by the river started squawking and flew away. Then some of the smaller bison started running. I said, "Something must be coming…" We watched closely hoping to see a bear or wolf approach the bison. Mary was scanning the river area with binoculars hoping to see something exciting. Suddenly out of the corner of my eye, I saw something move to the left and behind us. A HUGE bison was strutting our way - we were between the herd and the monster bison! We know all the rules about staying away from wildlife and not to approach wildlife, but we did not know what to do if a bison was approaching us. We decided we were best to sit quietly and hope the bison changed his course. I was becoming more and more concerned until I realized that I could easily out run Mary. We sat there like statues hoping the bison would change his course. He angled off towards the river Once the bison passed by us and joined the other bison at the river we decided we had seen enough bison and quietly headed back to the car.
Overall we did not see a lot of wildlife. We saw a lot of bison - both individually and in herds. We saw three elk, three deer, two bald eagles, a wolf, a snowshoe hare, a trumpeter swan, a marmot, and I believe that was it. We had hoped to see more, but it just didn't happen.
We sew lots of geysers, hot springs and waterfalls. At 11:00 on our last morning in the park we passed a small sign that said, "Daisy". Mary pulled over, stopped the car and said, "Come on, Daisy is going to erupt at 11:30!" According to the small sign, the trail to Daisy was one mile long. We can easily walk a mile in thirty minutes. Little did we know that the trail to Daisy was covered in crusty knee deep snow/ice. We did not have snowshoes with us and the snow/ice was not hard enough to support our weight, so for seven-eights of a mile we post-holed - stepping onto the hardened crust of the snow and plunging knee deep into the crusty snow creating deep holes. To say the least, this was exhausting, but we got to Daisy with time to spare. When it came time to head back to the car. I told Mary I wasn't doing the trail again. We found a map with an alternate way back to the road, however the car was back at the Daisy trailhead. Mary said she would posthole back to get the car and pick me up on the road. The trail I took passed two beautiful hot springs and no snow.