DISCLAIMER….This post documents our vacation from September, 2019 which I am able to write a little more with social distancing and being at home more than normal due to the coronavirus. I am only about 1/2 way through the adventure and I hope that I can encourage you to visit these beautiful areas that the USA has to offer once this nightmare is over.
After several days of nice weather with blue skies, illuminated sunrises and sunsets, our final drive into Yellowstone was a different story. Turning south from the Old Yellowstone Trail onto Hwy 89, we could see what was in front of us, clouds with multiple shades of grey and purple. We were about to see our last sunshine until late in the day and that was ok. Old Faithful here we come. We talked about what we were going to see that day and, with the looming cloudy weather that was developing before our eyes, our conversation turned to snow. We had seen Yellowstone’s sunny splendor and now we might see her with a little bit of white frosting.
By the time we got to the park it was completely overcast and a cold Yellowstone wind was a blowing. Time for a quick picture with the sign, and we were ready to rumble. We took the same route into the heart of the park we’d taken on previous days due to road closures. As you’ve read on previous posts, delays because of construction are a common occurrence. Please check with the rangers when you enter Yellowstone National Park to see how you’ll be affected. Even though we didn’t get a chance to take a more direct route, we got a chance to see a part of the park we’d already seen in a completely different light. The difference was amazing. Though this part of Yellowstone proved to be cold, wet and a bit dreary….except for us Floridians who never see snow, it was quite invigorating! As we approached Mt. Washburn, the snow had begun and was starting to accumulate on our climb through the pass.
The snow, rain, slush, tiny ice crystals and a combination of all four continued through most of our drive. It was awesome to experience this cold diverse weather, while our home in FL had just missed a close call with Hurricane Dorian…what a difference. Today was the first day of our trip we were glad we had stocked up on some winter gear at REI before leaving Jacksonville. If you’re ever taking a vacation where there’s a chance you’ll experience winter conditions, we recommend you always pick up some base layers. Call them long underwear or long johns if you like, but base layers will add to your comfort level more than almost anything else you can bring when the conditions turn chilly.
We knew we were getting closer to Old Faithful for two reasons. First, there was geothermal activity almost everywhere we looked, and second, there was an increase in traffic on the road. We didn’t mind the additional vehicles. We were in no hurry and we were experiencing an area more like a distant planet than the home we were used to. At this moment, we did something that became the theme of our vacation. We took the time to make an unplanned stop at a really cool attraction along the way. These little side trips always made our days longer than we expected, but they were so worth it. I give you Gibbon Falls
We stopped at Gibbon Falls Trail to just take a peak and ended up staying and enjoying this natural wonder for a bit longer. And a really cool attraction it turned out to be. Cool as in high 30’s F and a gusty wind you can hear in the video below. We loved it! A little slice of winter in the middle of September in the middle of an American icon.
When I look at a beautiful natural feature like a waterfall, I think of how I’m seeing a living breathing part of nature that’s connected with everything around it and how it changes from day to day and season to season. We were so glad that we took the extra time to take in the beauty this trail had to offer. Another “Living in the Moment” decision that didn’t disappoint.
Back on the road, tiny ice crystals were falling off and on as we headed to Old Faithful excited to see the Geyser Basin and walk through one of America’s most storied lodges, Old Faithful Inn.
Living in the Moment is what we do while enjoying our time in nature. If you missed any of the other Living in the Moment Series, you can click on them here. Just After Take Off, Day 1, Day 2 Mammoth Hot Spring, Day 2 Traffic Jam, Day 2 Undine Falls and Lava Creek, Lamar Valley – Slough Creek, Day 2 Trout Lake, Lunch at Otter Creek, Mount Washburn, Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Paddling the Yellowstone River, The Tiny House, Old Yellowstone Trail. Please look forward to our next post as the adventure continues.