On July first, 2013 Hannah and I drove across America from Atlanta, Georgia to Portland, Oregon. Here's our adventure!
When we woke up on the fifth day of our road trip across America, I literally had no idea what our surroundings would look like after our super late night arrival the night before. As luck would have it, we woke up to amazing, majestic mountains all around our campsite, and a surprise rainbow over one of the ridges! I really don't think we could have asked for a better spot. That morning we made pb+j sandwiches, packed up the wet tent (it had rained during the night), and got the cars ready to go for our first day exploring Yellowstone National Park!
The drive into the park through the east entrance was gorgeous; we drove through some really dramatic pine dominated landscape along Sylvan Pass before stopping along the edge of Yellowstone Lake to take a few pictures. From there we continued on to the Visitors Center by Lake Village, where we got some advice on where to go and what to see. The visitor center was really cute and, as always, the park rangers were super helpful and awesome. From the Visitors Center we drove north along the Yellowstone River to Mud Volcano Area. Along the way we saw some amazing valleys full of beautiful green grass and herds and herds of buffalo. It was just incredible! When we arrived at the mud volcano area there were actually a few buffalo running around the hydrothermal vents! My favorite thing there was probably Dragon's Mouth Spring--it smoked, rumbled, and created waves. Pretty cool, huh?
After seeing the mud volcano area we drove up towards the Upper and Lower Falls, and parked by Chittenden Memorial Bridge for lunch. We had a tasty picnic of sandwiches, chips, and cookies (so healthy, people. so healthy.) before walking down to the bridge to explore a little! After taking loads of pictures and hiking around a little we drove up to Artist Point, which had phenomenal views of Lower Falls, the Yellowstone River, and the surrounding "Grand Canyon" of Yellowstone.
We stopped at one more pull off with a nice view of the "Grand Canyon" before continuing west, where we stopped at a small hydrothermal pool before checking out Gibbon Falls, an 84 foot waterfall along the Gibbon River. It was pretty crowded, but definitely worth the short walk to the falls! Our last stop of the night was West Yellowstone, a cute little town by--wait for it--the west entrance of Yellowstone. We stocked up on pasta and veggies to make dinner with, and then headed to our lodging for the night, a little cabin at the Yellowstone West Entrance KOA. The KOA was actually perfect for our needs, and a ton of fun! There was a little outdoor kitchen where we cooked dinner, and an adorable little coffee cart where we got ice cream later in the evening. There were hot showers, comfortable beds, and our cabin--while very minimalistic--had everything we needed. Before we made dinner it hailed like crazy, and I was so so glad we weren't still in a tent!