I had just left the Tetons and the sun had set. I was on my way to Yellowstone and would reach the border of the two parks soon. I was super excited to get back to this park. The last time I had been here it was the beginning of spring, and life was starting to emerge from the dead of winter. Now it was six months later and winter was starting to take hold. Light flurries of snow blanketed the ground as the world got darker and darker. As I drove down the road and the stars starting to fill the sky, lighting the wilderness in a soft glow. With the closest light miles away, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to practice my astrophotography.
Before I set up my camera, I initiated the update that had been downloaded to my car earlier. V10 had just been released and I was excited to see the new features that were incoming. I finished setting up the tripod and bundled up with my gloves and remote. The temp had dropped to 25ºF but my extra layers protected me as I took shot after shot of the stars. The Milky Way seemed so bright as I stood by in awe. and hour later, I got back into the car as it notified me that the update was complete. All the sudden, as I pressed the brake to turn everything on, nothing would work. The car was completely bricked. I tried to stay calm as I figured out what to do. The temperature continued to drop and I had no service. I sat and went over my options and it seemed like the best thing to do was bust out the sleeping bag and wait until morning. Suddenly, the car roared to life and I yelped with joy. I don’t know what happened, but I immediately headed to the supercharger in West Yellowstone to watch Netflix over the new V10.
The next morning I woke up early, excited to get into the park and explore. Last time I had explored the North West side of the park as only 1/3 of the park roads were open, but now it was in the middle of the season and I had some hikes that I wanted to go on. As I drove through the park, I couldn’t help but notice how different everything felt. A fog covered the entire horizon and life seemed to mostly be already dormant, attempting to stay warm in the freezing cold. Instead of herds of bison, I only saw one or two huddled together.
Once I reached my trail, I set off, ready to climb as high as I could. I was at the “Grand Canyon of Yellowstone”, ready to take on Uncle Tom’s Trail. It was quite busy for how cold it was, but as I hiked higher the crowds began to thin. Soon enough, I was alone and this is where the real vastness of the park shone. I could see for miles and miles. I could hear the beating of waterfalls in the distance. I felt at peace in a way I can’t describe.
A snow storm was coming in and I decided that meant it was time to go. I quickly got back to my car and headed towards the exit. The flakes got bigger and more dense testing me and the car at every turn. All of the sudden, traffic came to a halt. An RV had gotten stuck trying to turn around and now there was no way to get down the road. I patiently waited, wishing I had service so I could watch some Netflix. It only took a couple of hours, but soon enough, I was on my way again.
As I drove to the exit, happy to be on the move again, I felt a tinge of sadness knowing that I was leaving this wonderland. I had a little bit of hope though as I was headed to Glacier National Park and I had no idea what that would bring. At that moment, a group of elk ran along the side of the road being lead by two bulls with absolutely enormous racks. A smile came upon my face as they ran back and forth. As they ran into the horizon, I headed on my way, laughing about all the surprises this park can bring.
Closest Supercharger: West Yellowstone 1 mi
201 S Canyon St, West Yellowstone, MT 59758
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming