Yellowstone is an amazing place with some fantastic scenic views, however at this time of year, there wasn't all that much we could do sadly. Our first night in Bozeman we stayed about 80 miles north of the Yellowstone west entrance. We stayed in a Quality Inn, the rooms were pretty good compared to what we are used to on this trip - I wouldn't brand them as quality though. The staff however were quality, the manager could see how tragically under prepared we were, with our shorts on and absolutely no winter gear in sight. We told her our plans of driving and trekking through Yellowstone and so she lent us a canister of bear spray, which is kinda like pepper spray, just far more deadly. At this time of year the bears are either hibernating or getting ready too and if you run into a bear that is getting ready too, it means it's hungry and you're definitely fucked without the bear spray
The next morning, Glenn drove us down to the west entrance, it was about an hour and a half drive, but the scenery was exquisite, we were surrounded by lakes, mountains and lots of snow the whole time. We first stopped at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center. It's a pretty small place, but it houses 7 grizzly bears, 2 alaskan brown bears, a pack of wolves and some birds of prey . First we got to to see the grizzly bears which were a bit smaller than I envisaged them, it was funny watching them pushing over large rocks so they could get to their food and randomly jumping on each other, they almost looked tame, although we were told, they are not tame at all and no staff are allowed near them either. We then went to see the birds of prey, they are about as boring to watch as big brother, the only way I could get them to move, was by throwing snowballs in the air. I did engrave into the snow "#twoidiotsaborad" and "Simon Jakowicz was here 2013 Yellowstone" as I'm such a social media geek atm. We then saw the wolves, these were awesome, they were no bigger than an average dog and they looked harmless, while still looking like if they wanted to attack you, they could certainly do some damage. Just as we were leaving we got to see one of the brown bears, it was huge compared to the grizzly bears, I definitely would not want to be caught out in the wild with one of these bad boys.
Later in the day we went to drive through Yellowstone national park, after all, that was the purpose of the visit. We drove to the entrance to realise that the park had actually already been closed for the year, apparently this happened 2 days before our visit. It was still possible to walk through the park, so that is what we done. We walked about 10 miles round trip, crossing the border into Wyoming and got some nice scenic shots, however we didn't get to see any of the yellow stones or hot spring which was a real shame, for that reason, one day I will definitely come back here. I'm still glad I've got to see Yellowstone in the winter with all of the snow. As it does offer some really amazing sights. We never came across any bears so didn't have to use the spray, which I'm quite grateful about.
That night, we stayed in our first lodge, except Econo Lodge, which doesn't really count as it's a shitey motel at best. The lodge was out in the sticks where snowy mountains were all around so it was a nice place to wake up to. We also had a pretty big room and a snazzy stone floor bathroom... which was pretty posh, even though it was bloody freezing in the morning.
The next day we went to a place called Big Sky which looks like a great place for tourists in the winter. Sadly winter season doesn't actually begin until December, so we were unable to do any of the things we had planned like dog sleighing, driving snow mobiles and white water rafting. We did stop for a look around thought. The snow was easy 2 foot deep in some places. We found a frozen lake, I picked up some huge boulders, throwing them as high as i could and the ice wouldn't break, eventually I broke through to find it was 2-3 inches thick. Feeling confident I slowly made my way into the middle of the lake for Glenn to get some pictures. I'm so glad the ice supported me as I when I put my hand into the lake where I had broken the ice and it was horrendously cold. Me and Glenn went off on our own for a few hours to check out different things, after walking for about 40 minutes I saw some paw prints which were huge and almost definitely bear prints, I got my camera out to get a picture and heard a noise from the trees, which sounded like an animal of some sort. I had a quick glance and jogged back to the main road, I didn't get to see what it was, but that definitely got my heart going. Once back to where we had parked I got chatting to a guy who worked on the mountain and he lent me his sit down snowboard, it's like a normal snowboard, but has a double base, so the bottom base sinks into the snow and the top base you sit, while you plough down hills at what felt pretty fast at the time. I got a couple of videos of myself going down the hill, however keeping balance while holding a camera proved to be quite difficult.
The next day we got up nice and early to catch of flight to Vegas. We have been in Vegas since Tuesday and have already some awesome things but that is for the next blog.
Can't believe we have under one month left to go, time is going so quick. Yesterday we conquered our 25th state which I'm quite impressed about.