To warn you in advance, this post has loads of photos and no fiber unless you count bison as fiber. But it should be inspiring so I hope that you will continue on reading to learn about my recent trip to Yellowstone National Park (YNP) and my first snowmobile ride. Last year, our friends from Idaho, Howie and Janine had asked us to join them for a couple of snowmobile tours in YNP and we thought, why not? It’s kind of a bucket list item as we are downhill skiers but have never snowmobiled before. So we journeyed off to West Yellowstone, MT and got to see some real winter inspiration. There was tons of snow and it was cold but we had a great time. Seeing YNP in the winter is so different than the usual summertime visits.
With the snowmobile tours that we took, you could rent all the gear to stay warm so everyone looked alike. The first day we took the “Old Faithful” tour where we saw a lot of thermal features, waterfalls and of course, Old Faithful geyser. We had a great guide who explained all about how Yellowstone is mainly a big volcano which is really quite close to the surface. He reassured us that the volcano is not predicted to erupt for another 70,000 years. You can read more about Yellowstone National Park here.
Here are some of the thermal features that we saw. It was amazing to see some of these beautiful colors on a winter day. If you click on each photo, the titles might give you a bit more information.
We saw a lot of wildlife and it was amazing to be on the same roadway as the bison. We did not get off the snowmobiles when we encountered bison and we kept moving slowly by the herds with the snowmobiles close together so that a bison couldn’t get in between two snowmobiles. They pretty much ignored us. They are huge, shaggy beasts and quite awesome to see their size and strength pushing through deep snow off the roads. The coyote on the top left, was hurrying down the road as we went by. There were lots of ravens around and you can’t really tell from this photo but they are big birds and noisy! There are a lot of wildlife that can stay in YNP because the rivers don’t freeze. With all the thermals, geysers and warm water flowing in the rivers, it provides a habitat for a large variety of birds and mammals to survive in the harsh winter.
On our second tour, we went to the “Grand Canyon” of YNP. It was a bit longer on the snowmobiles but has some great scenery. The snow/ice has fascinating shapes as the steam coats the surrounding pine trees. We call these snow ghosts in our area (you see a lot at Whitefish Mountain Resort).
On our day off, we visited the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone. It was a really cool place to visit. They rescue grizzly bears, wolves, otters and other small animals that would normally be euthanized. They also do a lot of education of the public about these wild animals. It was great to be able to see the animals more closely. The bears don’t hibernate at the center because they get plenty of food. Bears only need to hibernate if they don’t have a good food source. I wish we could have seen some of the otters in the wild (some had been spotted several days before we were there) but no luck. They do have a bear cam and a wolf cam so that you can view the animals live if you like.
Dennis did get a video of the wolves. There is a building where you could be inside (warm and cozy) and watch wolves interact with each other. This is a pack of a mama wolf and her four offspring.
I had a great time on this trip, rode and drove a snowmobile for the first time and was inspired by winter. So if you get the chance to visit Yellowstone National Park in the wintertime, go for it. You will see some amazing sights.