Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Yellowstone trip- Part 1

The Drive -
John Day Dam, Oregon, windmills on the hillside
Camping trip is exciting enough by itself and if the location happens to be the first National park not just in USA but in the world, then excitement just multiplies. S and me had planned to drive to Yellowstone National Park for our camping trip for the fourth of July Weekend. Our campground reservation in the Grant Village area of Yellowstone meant we had to drive a little under 900 miles to get there. S had taken a day off from work so that we could get two full days at the park apart from the two plus days of travel. So we set off on wednesday afternoon, having loaded our car with tent, sleeping bags and other camping gear, not to mention food supplies and water. 

Haystacks and farms, Idaho

With both of us driving in shifts, the long drive would not be strenuous we thought. Our plan was to check into a motel by midnight, catch some sleep and hit the road after breakfast.  While Portland is green and dotted with trees, as we headed towards South-east Oregon, the landscape gradually turned dry and grassy. The zig-zag roads with hairpin curves through the Columbia Gorge soon made way for roads along the dry scrubland of Oregon high desert. 
Potato fields with sprinklers turned on, Idaho

Before midnight we had crossed state lines, and entered the Mountain Time Zone. It was time for a night-stop in Boise which we later realized was the state capital of Idaho. Rejuvenated, we headed toward the western entrance of Yellowstone in Montana. This final stretch was long, straight roads endlessly for as long as our eyes could see. On either side of the roads of 'Potato State' were potato fields. Vast stretches of green fields that were covered with tiny white/purple flowers being watered by huge sprinklers was what we kept seeing for a long time. Finally around 5pm in the evening nearly 26 hours after we had left our home, we entered Yellowstone National Park. Shelling out the entry fee and collecting a complimentary map, we began our drive through Bison/Bear country. Animal crossing signboards greeted us at regular intervals, and before long, we spotted a bunch of cars pulled over and parked off the road.

Day-1 at Yellowstone-

Entered the bison territory aka Yellowstone
It was time for us to follow suit with camera and binoculars. It was like a tea-party on the riverbank for a bison herd, a couple of them  grazing, a couple rolling around in the sand. The brown ones are the calves. A few clicks and closer look later, we were ready to head towards our campground.
First Sighting, Bison herd by the river
Hardly a mile later, we pulled over again, this time for an elk that had stopped by to welcome us.
Further along the drive,  white mist seemed to be rising from the ground, sure enough the next board read "Fountain Paint Pot". With a name so inviting, we had to take a look. There was a loop trail of around half a mile. So we sauntered along the boardwalk, clicking pictures of colorful geo-thermal features. The odor of sulphur was a constant feature all through the geyser basin.

Lodgepole pines
Silex spring

Morning Geyser
Bacteria mat
Leather Pool
Our tent nestled behind trees
After a quick stop at the old faithful geyser just in time to see it erupt, we drove to the campground to register ourselves. Grant Village Campground is nestled in a partly wooded area near the southwest shore of Yellowstone Lake. It has over 400 sites on offer including tent, RV and group campsites. Stepping out of the car at the Grant Village Campground, we were greeted by a bunch of over-friendly mosquitoes :P. We picked up firewood and kindle at the registration desk before driving to our campsite. Our campsite had a fire-grate and picnic table while a public restroom was a short walk away. S and me then set up our tent, before settling down to a hearty dinner of a desi style taco, puri in place of the tortillas. The wolves howling in the far-off distance as we snuggled into the sleeping bags was the perfect sign-off for Day-1 at Yellowstone.

To be continued...

Note- Click on the photos to see enlarged images.


  1. Wow Reshma, setting up a tent,! It must be exciting. Got a peek into the scenic beauty of the place.

  2. so beautiful photos . waiting for more...................

    1. Thanks Kalpana, I'll post the next part soon..

  3. Lovely pictures, making me more curious to know more about this place. You must have so much fun.

    1. It is a wonderful place to visit Rama, maybe the next time you visit US, you can check it out. Yellowstone has a wide variety of interesting things to do :)


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