Not Your Grandma's Family Vacation
Yellowstone in winter is something everyone should try to experience once in their life. I'm not a cold-weather person. So it may seem unusual that I'm an advocate for Wyoming in the wintertime. But as you've probably heard before, its a different 'cold' out there than what we're used to here in South Georgia. The humidity we have in Georgia makes the cold feel so much colder. But there's no humidity in Wyoming, so 20 degrees there feels nothing like 20 degrees here. And when you're cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or hiking, you work up a sweat pretty quickly.
Since its winter, most of the roads are closed. This cuts down on the amount of visitors to the park in winter, which is one of the most appealing parts of going this time of year. To get to the interior of the park to the Lodge, you travel by a Snow Coach provided by the Park. And this Snow Coach is actually a short bus with huge tires. To drive on top of 6-10 feet of snow, you need a machine like this.
We spend our days skiing trails like Biscuit Basin and Kepler Cascade or hiking up to Observation Point for a spectacular view of Old Faithful Inn. We also walk around the geyser basin, waiting for a geyser to erupt, looking for wildlife and taking in the incredible scenery. They offer free ice skating at the Lodge, but that is more dangerous than skiing for us, so we don't try that very often. Then we spend time lounging on the sofas and chairs around the Lodge. This is a great time to meet new people, read a book, put together a puzzle or take a nap. Dinner is in the main dining room and consists of Bison Short Ribs, Duck Bacon Wontons, Game Sausage Sampler, Montana Wagyu Beef Burger and many more options that are delicious. After dinner, you can lounge in the Lodge or take a nighttime excursion called Steam & Stars to experience some of the geysers after dark. Black Sand Basin is also known as "Thumper" because if you're very quiet, you can hear a thumping sound coming from below right before the geyser erupts. Its one of the coolest things to do while you're there.
Bison, coyotes, foxes, wolves, otters, eagles, elk, and ducks are just some of the wildlife you may get to see while you're in Yellowstone in winter. We were fortunate enough on this last trip to watch a coyote stalk its prey and catch it. I've included it in the photos on this blog. It really was incredible to watch him hunt, listen for the rodent under the snow, and know exactly where to jump headfirst into the snow to catch it. And bison are everywhere. Most of the time they blend in so well with their surroundings that you don't see them right away. During one of our ski adventures, we happened up on a huge male bison, out in the woods by himself. I freaked out. Being on skis makes it much harder to move fast when you are trying to stay the recommended 25 yards away from the giant creature. So you have to be aware of your surroundings at all times.
It really is a trip like no other. Enjoy the photos from our latest vacation.