Dan and I love Yellowstone. He would go every weekend if we could and he constantly daydreams about having a cabin there someday. Dan’s family goes every summer and we have gone at least once every year since we’ve been married. The problem is that there are 30 of us in the family now with 14 (soon to be 16) kids! It can be a bit chaotic with all that and there is not as much flexibility as Dan would like. He loves to stop spontaneously and watch for animals and wandering around geysers is not our favorite thing!
So last year we decided to plan our own trip to Yellowstone over Labor Day and we loved it! We decided to make it an annual thing and we went again this year. Last year we stayed at a dumpy place that I hated so this year we planned waaaay ahead and I found an awesome place that turned out to be perfect! It was called The Evergreen Motel and it was GREAT. I highly recommend it. It was a perfect little place right in town with a cute cabiny feeling. It was updated and we had a small kitchen in our room so we could make lunches and eat breakfast in our room. It was spotlessly clean and had cable and WiFi. Sweet!
The best thing about this trip is that we didn’t have a set schedule. It’s just Dan and I and we did whatever we wanted and didn’t make any plans. The only plan we had was a covered wagon cookout thing. We slept in and I let Dan take the lead because there was nothing in particular that I cared to do and I knew that whatever he wanted to do would be great.
We stopped by the Firehole on our first day and it was actually open for swimming. Usually it’s closed because of high water when we come in the summer. It was really pretty and Dan couldn’t resist jumping in even though we hadn’t planned on it. Luckily he had his Salomon adventure shorts and Chacos and an extra pair of pants in the car! He was in heaven.
I pulled out a camp chair and sat on the shore and read my book, drink my diet coke and ate some cherry jelly bellies (yumma). We were both happy campers and I probably would have swam if I had clothes and a towel but maybe next time?
It started to rain after a few minutes and it was pretty awesome to see the raindrops on the river. I took cover under a huge pine tree and didn’t get a drop of water on me! It was a great spot to watch the rain and Dan in the river. He swam for a bit longer and we waited for the rain to pass then we moved on!
We did a lot of driving which is a bit hard on my pregnant back but the great thing is that we can stop any time we (or I) want to, we had lots of snacks and I took a few naps too! Unfortunately because of my pregnant bladder, I had to pop a squat a few times and I visited every nasty camping style bathroom along the way (I have severe anxiety of those things).
We visited Yellowstone Lake and the Yellowstone hotel. Two of the nights we were there, we did some wolf watching. We did it last year and loved it. The views of the valley are amazing and we just sat there for hours waiting and watching and talking to the other people there. The picture below is my favorite because I know how completely happy Dan is! I read my book and of course ate some snacks and enjoyed the beautiful views!
The weather was pretty awesome and felt like October here in Utah. It got pretty chilly by the evenings but we were prepared for it. We saw the wolves both times and it was awesome! We saw a lot of other animals too including coyotes which I’ve never seen before but no bears this time.
We also went one of the falls but it was a different view than we usually have. We decided to hike about a mile down to another lookout and we didn’t realize just how far down it actually was! The hike back up was realllly steep for this gal and we had to stop a few times to catch my breath! But it was gorgeous and a good workout for sure! And luckily it was beautiful cool weather so I really enjoyed it.
We did a covered wagon dinner cookout one night and it was fun. It’s probably not something we will do again and it was a bit overpriced, but we still enjoyed it. We rode these covered wagon things for a few miles and they had dinner for us. A guy was singing up front and the atmosphere was really fun.
Unfortunately it started to rain and hail just as we were getting ready to go. We were fine and loaded up the wagons but in the 40 minutes it took to get back to our cars, the storm got out of control! There was tons of thunder and lighting and it was a complete downpour. We were covered on top but we sat in the back row so our backs and bums got drenched and it was freezing! We also had to go through the middle of a herd of bison which was a little bit scary but exciting.
Check out Dan’s sick camo hat that he wore non stop…I think he wishes he were a redneck. The pic below was clearly before the rain started.
The view from the front seat of the car.
We came across a bunch of bison in the middle of the road and we were the first car to come up to them! I was kind of freaked out because a few of them were just staring at us in our car and they were honestly as big as our car! We waited for about 10-15 minutes then finally were able to barely creep around them!
We stopped for lunch at Mammoth and there were tons of elk on the lawn of one of the houses. There was one huge buck and we watched them for a while and talked to the ranger about them.
We had so much fun this year in Yellowstone. We really love it there and it went by too fast! We can’t wait to come back next year with our new babe and hopefully he loves it there as much as we do!