Today started very early, in the darkness of the morning, I was happy we didn't have to pack up our suitcases and pack the van this morning though. We all fell out of bed and into the van and had a long drive back into...

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming:
With it still being dark and slowly getting lighter we were quite paranoid about entering bears and other wildlife on our early morning hike on the Slough Creek Trail. We didn't encounter any which I was pretty glad about as all the stories are pretty scary.

We started the hike as it got lighter but it was cloudy, it was nice to walk through the forest areas but without the sun the early morning felt a bit redundant until we reached an open clearing and river.
Photo: Lara Fidgeon

The clouds and mist were all around it and it looked incredible, like we'd wandered into a magical area of Yellowstone. We went off the trail a bit to take in the greenery and we all tried balancing on a huge log for an atmospheric photo before making our way back to the van.

Because it was early it was nice to hike when it was much cooler in the day and the hike didn't feel as much as a struggle for me.

As we made another long drive to another area of the park after our hike we came across some cars stopped at the side of the road with some people looking through telescopes. We pulled over and spoke to them and found out there were some grizzly bears in the distance. They were very far away and they let us all look through their telescope to get a better look. It was amazing to see bears in the wild and and while you could only just see them without any help, being able to use the telescope was amazing. Everyone we came across in the national parks were like this, happy to help if they could and excited that we were all having our first bear experiences. I was pleased they were a far distance away though.

After a while we got back in the van, kept driving for a while and we came across another bear jam (our nickname for a traffic jam for bears). This time there were a lot more cars parked up. Jake parked the van where he could and then we all jumped out and walked along the side of the road. This time there was a black bear a lot closer and we got an amazing view of it.

It was foraging for food for a while and everyone on the side of the road was amazed at how it wasn't distracted by the human commotion and didn't look up at us. It slowly made its way back up the hill further away and after a slight heart skipping moment when it looked up and looked like it might dart towards us it kept on foraging. Just as we were about to get back in the van we spotted three cubs meet up with the bear and hop on its mothers back before they all headed off into the distance. This was a perfect black bear sighting, it felt incredibly special and was something I won't ever forget.

After this Jake drove us to a Hot Springs Hotel Cabins at Mammoth, where there was a restaurant and we all got some brunch and picked up a few snacks for later. By this time the sun had come out and Yellowstone looked amazing. Then Jake drove us to the top of Mammoth Hot Spring Terraces and we all made our way down the boardwalks at our own pace while he drove back to meet us at the bottom.
These springs were incredible in the sunlight, so many different colours, the whiter, the hotter. As this was high up and a clearer day you got some amazing views into the distance.

This was one of my favourite areas of Yellowstone.

We met back up and drove for quite a while to another area of the park.

We stopped at Excelsior Geyser and went onto the grand Prismatic Spring. I was a little disappointed as it had started raining, was cloudy again and with the wind the steam meant the colours weren't as vibrant and exciting as in all the famous photos of Yellowstone! It did still standout in orange but I was disappointed we didn't see it all lit up.

Next we drove onto the Old Faithful Geyser. Jake gave us a couple of hours here and the option to go on a hike. My trek buddy and me went into the visitor centre to learn about the geysers and check out the gift shop. Some of the others grabbed some food and a drink and some of our group went on a hike.

In the information centre there was a listing of the time the next eruption of the Geyser was expected. We went out early to get a good view of the Geyser and waited for it, and got rained on in the process. The wait was worth it was a long eruption that grew and the hot water flung out of the ground, nature at work.

After this we headed back to the van and met up with everyone. Jake then drove us back out to...

West Yellowstone, Montana:
On the way back to the rooms we stopped to pick up a take away dinner. Everyone went for a Chinese takeaway but as I don't like Chinese food I thought I might walk back later on to where we had dinner the night before. As I waited in the van I realised I was too tired to head back out for dinner later, so I popped into the small supermarket we were by, and picked up a chicken salad and some other snacks for dinner.

When we got back everyone headed into one room to eat their Chinese, but I didn't want to sit with the smell of their takeaway while eating other food so I had a bit of quiet time away from the group, chilled out in my room, ate some dinner, watched a bit of tv, showered and got relaxed and ready for bed.
When my roommate came back we started noting down everything we had so far so we could look up all the details later on. As I was taking so many photos I also took some time to organise these and updated friends and family on my travels and bombarded them with photos using the wifi at the rooms. I also got my suitcase reorganised as it was really needing it.

I was sad to be leaving and could have spent weeks just exploring this park alone, the american landscape is beautiful and I was learning that I much preferred the natural landscapes and national parks over cities, who knew I was such an explorer type. Our time in Yellowstone was over...

ITINERARY (LISTED):                           Free Day Around Yellowstone - Old Faithful

ACCOMMODATION:                            Yellowstone Cabins & RV - West Yellowstone, Montana

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