We spent almost 2 weeks in Yellowstone from the end of September to the beginning of October. It was the end of the season however the park still felt really crowded. I can only imagine the craziness that the summer season presents. We heard that more than 3 million people visit the park in the 7 months it’s open. Based on what we saw, that must be absolutely crazy.
We really wanted to take our time in Yellowstone, so we decided to stay as much as we felt comfortable with. For 2 weeks we managed to see all major geyser areas, did 4 or 5 days of hiking and explored all roads. It is a cool park! It is interesting to point out that relatively speaking, we felt bear safe in Yellowstone. After all, we came to Yellowstone after spending a month and a half in Alaska, Yukon and BC.
We found a cool campsite in West Yellowstone to stay for 5 days. We were the only visitors in the campsite which was amazing. We had a spot right by a lake and the internet bandwidth to ourselves :)… I watched a few premiership games on the laptop :). The lake was also pretty cool because it was duck migration season and there were thousands of ducks in the lake and probably a dozen bald eagles hovering around. Cool to see a bold eagle attack a flock of ducks.
We hopped on the Alaska Highway in Yukon and drove it into British Colombia. The Alaska Highway was built during World War II to connect the contiguous US to Alaska. On the highway George and I experienced our first deep freeze of the tent, saw plenty of wildlife, toured through a signpost forest, and took a dip in some hot springs.
We started driving to Chena Hot Spring from Denali National Park in the early afternoon and had plans to stop somewhere on the road. Instead, we ended up pushing to get to Chena. We rolled in around midnight which in itself was disorienting. After wandering around in the dark looking for someone official, we stumbled into a large building that looked like it had some activity. Had we inadvertently driven through the center of the earth? The hall was full of Japanese staff and Japanese tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of the northern lights. One of the draws of Chena was it’s good location to view the lights. In any case, we found some resort staff and got the camping details sorted out.
The next day things were much clearer. The sun was shining and we had a nice camping spot. There was a large igloo (another draw of the resort) nearby, but it only added to the coolness factor of the camp spot. I’m told the first version of the igloo that included an ice ceiling collapsed. The new, improved and still standing model was closer to a large shed with ice walls.
In the next few days, we partook in the hot springs, took a tour of the grounds including a green house and geothermal plant, and treated ourselves to some delicious appletinis. I also forced George into the restaurant. There was no way I was leaving Chena without a salad made with organic green house veggies. Delicious. Yes carnivores, I think veggies are DELICIOUS.