• willowfriday

Part 4: Snowmobiling in Yellowstone during the Shutdown with a N-CGSAP

There was a beautiful sunrise as we loaded up into the truck. I had parked so badly taking up 4 parking spaces the night before. But it was so quiet in Gardiner and we were leaving so early in the morning that it did not matter. We would never have gotten away with that in the summer when millions of tourists flock to the park.

The day was sunny and cold. Our destination, The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. On my last trip I had almost passed on going out there, I thought it sounded a little cliche. But it was one of my favorite stops of the trip! I was excited to see it frozen with snow everywhere. Even more so to show this wondrous place to my daughter.

The falls at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone were powerful!

I felt like we spent most of the day snowmobiling. It was a long 106km return trip to and from the falls. I was definitely feeling more confident on the snowmobile and actually got up to the speed limit, 55km....at times.

The drastic difference a season makes.

It was also possibly the coldest day there. Getting down to -25C plus the windchill from being on a snowmobile. At one point I had to pull over to put a handwarmer on my forehead and steal the cashmere camera cozies I made, to add to my face.

Gorgeous antlers on a deer munching on grasses.

I had made a couple decisions that day. The first being that we were getting back early to avoid the gate fiasco of the day before and to get into the hotsprings before they closed at dusk. We got back to the hotel by about 3 to grab our suits and towels. I chuckle because my daughter was dilly dallying on the wifi and I kept saying "every second we are here is a second we are not in the hotsprings" And then we got there and she realized how amazing they were and she added many seconds to us staying later. We left in the faint light fully refreshed and steaming as we walked past a herd of deer munching on dinner...

The second decision I made came after sledding over the bare, icy, stone and wood littered spots near the north gate. After another full day of sun they were even worse on our way back that afternoon. And our plans for the next 3 days were to head to the interior of the park and stay at the Old Faithful lodge. With no snow in the forecast I could only imagine what sledding that section would have been like on our way back, if it would have even been possible and I was concerned we could be in a situation where we could not get back to the truck. So I would have to pack up super early the next morning and make the 3 hour drive to the west entrance which gets much more snowfall than the north.

So after the most heavenly soak in the hotsprings we went back to the gorgeous Park Hotel to pack and prepare for a 4am start to the second half of the trip. I slept well in my cozy bed that night. If you go try and book the penthouse suite. It was well worth it!

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