Yellowstone National Park
We left the lodging in Estes Park just a few minutes before the check out time, and were so excited to finally get to Yellowstone. We wanted to avoid the toll roads, so we would not have to pay an extra fee for our rental car (this was a mistake), and so we figured that there is appr. 10 hours driving ahead us. This was the first time I honestly regretted not having drivers license, because Patrick had to drive all the way to the National Park.
We hit the road very excited, this was the first time we were crossing states by driving. We drove through 4 states, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. Since we avoided the toll roads, we were driving on the most abandoned roads in Wyoming, but this way we had an actual view on the state itself. Wyoming must be one of the states where the cowboy movies are being captured, we could drive for hours without seeing a single vehicle.
After 11 hours of driving we arrived to the national park, and realised, it was still snowy. We were too tired to set up the tent, so slept in the car. Just before dawn, the temperature decreased to -7 Celsius, and we had the most unpleasant waking since we left Kolding. It was so cold, I was about to cry. I did not really sleep during the night, due to the cold and the little space in the car. But again, I tried to ignore my frustration and concentrate on, that this travel was our choice and therefore, we have to try to enjoy it as much as possible, regardless the circumstances.
The first day went by with driving around the park, me napping in the car, cooking some field meal and setting up the tent. Already in the first hour of driving, we saw a wolf, several bisons and elks, squirrels, chipmunks and lots of uniquely beautiful birds. Yellowstone was really worth the several hours of driving, and sleeping in minuses.
The next day, we wanted to go for a hike, but unfortunately most of the hike trail were still closed, some because of the snow, others because of the dangerous bear management in the area. So we were driving in the park again, went to visit all the tourists spots, like the geysers, hot springs, canyons and riversides. It was truly an uplifting experience to be so close to the well preserved nature, even though we could not hike.
In the evening we needed a can-opener, for our 1dollar canned bean (remember, we are on a super tight budget), and so Patrick tried to borrow one from the nearest campers. He got it opened at one of the nearest tent, which was owned by two girls from East Coast and a guy from Seattle. They chatted a little bit and agreed to hang out after dinner. When I was introducing myself, I had to spell my name for them to understand it. It was so funny, because when I told them that I was Hungarian, one of the girl instantly asked from which part of Hungary… You know, the story about being a member of the Hungarian minority in Romania always requires a bit of explanation for other nationalities, especially if they never heard something like that. So I was prepared, and told them the story. Surprisingly Julia was very well informed about the situation, after all she’s been to Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Croatia in 2015. I was truly surprised, and realised that I subconsciously had stereotypes of the American people. Luckily, this stereotype has been proven wrong, and I was simply happy to bump into these nice guys.
The night was very cold, but we decided to sleep in the tent, after all we were camping. Well, it only took us 3hours and we were sleeping in the car again.
We spent the next two days by exploring the park, hiking (not as much as we wanted) and cooking our awesome food (not). Despite of the cold and rainy weather, we were in good spirit and enjoyed the life in the campground. The fifth day, however we decided to leave Yellowstone (we had reservation for 1 week) and headed to Idaho Falls for the night.
Next stop was Zion National Park…Come back in a few day to read the story from Zion and Las Vegas 🙂