We awoke with temperatures of -2 so after blasting the heaters for 5 minutes we decided it was warm enough to emerge from our sleeping bags. After setting off it didn’t take us long to reach the gates to Yellowstone National Park where we paid the $50 entry (half the price of the Grand Canyon). The road into the park was covered in about an inch of snow and was quite nippy due to it snowing last night, automatic cars don’t do uphill in the snow very well either.
We safely made it to Old Faithful which is the most famous geyser there having already stopped at some fumaroles en route. Within 5 minutes of parking the car Old Faithful erupted (it only goes off every 90 minutes) and shot boiling water over 30m into the air. Unfortunately there was so much steam the photos we took don’t give it justice. This natural show lasted for about 5 minutes before becoming a steaming hole in the ground again.
Having not had any breakfast both of us were rather hungry some found another log cabin which served coffee and food. Inside it had a huge vaulted ceiling 70ft high with two mezzanine levels overlooking a stone fireplace in the middle. We enjoyed croissants and a couple of coffees before moving on, I could easily have spent the whole day there reading but unfortunately we had to get on.
Our next stop was the Midway Geyser Basin which had the famous Grand Prismatic Spring which has a mirage of different colours due to the algae that grows in it. We didn’t get to see the beauty of it because it was snowing heavily and the wind was driving it into our faces (I suggest to google it as none of our pictures even vaguely capture the phenomenon).
We went on a detour of the main road down a single track to see more hot springs. The springs were very interesting but the coolest thing was seeing a herd of over 100 Bison next to the road, we decided to park up to take pictures, not long after we had the whole herd crossed the road, blocking traffic but giving us great photo opportunities.
To get to our next stop we had to traverse over the highest pass in the park at 2700m. Unsurprisingly most of it was covered in snow and not far up not we encountered a truck half in a drainage ditch and half on the road. The lady had been driving down the hill but had lost traction and ended up facing up the hill and was struggling to get out. We parked our car and got out to push her, in the time we were helping probably 20 cars went by and only one stopped and asked if we were OK. Thankfully we did manage to push her out, she was very thankfully and I think she would’ve been relieved once she had got down. We however continued up and over the pass.
On the other side was Tower Falls, a 40m continuous drop waterfall which as with most things today it was very impressive and thanks to my school geography lessons I could see the retreat up the valley that the water fall had made, due to backwash eroding the softer rock underneath the waterfall overhang. The last stop on our trip today was the Mammoth Hot Springs which were a collection of hot springs (surprisingly). Not only to they bubble out boiling hot water they are also rich in calcium carbonate which gets deposited on the hill, creating white terraces, similar but smaller than the famous pools at pamukkale in Turkey.
We finished the day by driving north, through more snow, to Great Falls (Montana).We had dinner at a local bar and grill and I decided to go for a pasta dish which came with a side salad. The plate of pasta was comfortably the biggest I have ever been served. It would’ve been enough for the both of us, however out of politeness/pride I finished it off as well as the salad… Don’t judge!