Yellowstone National Park - December 28, 2019 to January 1, 2020
My daughter and I spent five days in Yellowstone National Park from Decemebr 28th through January 1st. We spent three nights at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and four days in the snow coaches travelling in to the Snow Lodge, touring the park for two days, and coming out on New Year's Eve. On the fifth day, we drove back into the park's Lamar Valley where we saw more bison, some moose and, perhaps the highlight of our trip, wolves running alongside and crossing the road very close to where we were stnading outside our rental car.
We travelled into the park from Mammoth Hot Springs on the Snow Coaches early in the morning on the 28th, since I wanted to have the afternoon to wander around the Old Faithful area before sunset. I will use this early morning time slot again the next time I go into Yellowstone during the winter.
On our first full day, we took the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone tour, and I highly recommend this tour though on a sunny day one would get to the Grand Canyon overlooks too late for the best light. In addition to seeing the falls, with a pretty good covering of ice and snow, this tour goes into the Hayden Valley, where we saw lots of wildlife along the Yellowstone River.
On our second full day in the park, we took the Photo Safari tour with Lisa Culpepper who really knows the park, is willing to stop, almost, whenever asked and gives photographers time to capture a scene instead of rushing to stay on a schedule. Lisa was also good at working with her passengers who needed instruction while simply pointing out interstign subjects and angles to more experienced participants.
On New Year's Eve, we caught one of the afternoon snow coaches back to Mammoth. This allowed me to wander around the upper geyser basin one more time, and the afternoon coaches are allowed to go down the Firehole Canyon road. The Lower Falls of the Firehole River are a favorite subject when I'm in Yellowstone.
After a very enjoyable New Year's Eve with my younger brother's family and friends, we took the rental car to drive back into the park and see some of the Lamar Valley to wrap up our too brief visit to Yellowstone in the winter.
I will be going back to Yellowstone in the winter, and I will spend more time on my next trip. I will spend more a few more nights at the Snow Lodge, so that I can more fully explore the Upper Geyser Basin and some of the sites within walking or snowshoe distnace. I will do both the Grand Canyon and the Photo Safari tours again. I will also plan to spend two or more days in the Lamar Valley.
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