Campgrounds – Yellowstone NP

We didn’t know what to expect in Yellowstone. Being America’s most visited national park we assumed there would be lines of cars, pollution, a lack of services, and full of tourists. We stopped to get gas and ice in West Yellowstone before entering the park in anticipation. Little did we know that you can get those items anywhere in the park. And in early June there were no crowds. We followed the Madison River into the park as my mouth watered with fly fishing on the brain. A bald eagle soared over the river next to us and five minutes into the park a black bear ran across the road and scrambled up a hill! We couldn’t believe it. Our campsite wasn’t far from the entry and it was excellent (for a pay campsite).

Sunset while knee deep in the Madison River.

Every evening at all the campgrounds there are amphitheaters where a goofy-dressed park ranger launches into a presentation about history or wildlife or geology. I was skeptical but it is actually pretty cool. The next few days we would see so many geysers, waterfalls, and hot springs that they started to run together.

Cute hat.

We drove to every major attraction and gift shop in the park in the five days we were there. Due to a booking snafu we had to move campgrounds after day 3 from Madison to Bridge Bay. It was actually perfect because that put us deeper into the park and closer to things we hadn’t seen yet. You know, more geysers and mud pots. Because those never get old.

Steam and water. Just another day on top of a volcano.

The last day in Madison Campground I went fishing again, and struck out, again. On the way back to camp, I heard a specific accent from my distant past. It was so distinct, i stopped in my tracks. It could only be one person in the world. Urs Peter Flueckiger. My first college professor in Architecture School! We hadn’t seen each other in over twenty years. The reunion was one I hadn’t ever imagined. He was happy and funny just as I had remembered, and he hadn’t adopted that slow West Texas accent in any sense. It was still the same thick Swedish interpretation which was easy to understand yet foreign enough to be extraordinary.

The teacher and the student in Yellowstone.

All of the experiences we had in Yellowstone were incredible. We saw vast herds of bison, elk, black and grizzly bears, osprey, bald eagles, mule deer, pika, and a million other critters too numerous to count. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and the falls are something every human should see. To be in the presence of a force that powerful and eternal is humbling. And it made us all have to pee.

Not for kayaking.

The fact that we were on top of the world’s larges Supervolcano was unsettling at times when the steam and bubbling mud pots seemed to be around every bend in the winding road. The roads were specifically designed to wind through the park for interest. (Thank you park ranger for that little tidbit.)

Odds are, it won’t blow the day you are there. Tick tock tick tock tick tock.

The first morning we got a warning from the rangers for leaving cooking items out at camp. It seems we are protecting the bears from themselves. Once they have s’mores the habit is hard to kick.

Cinnamon black bear just eating grass. Unsettling fishing partner though.

Directions: Google it folks. You can’t not find it. Bridge Bay and Madison Campgrounds.

Published by willbarch78

I grew up in the middle of nowhere Texas. The nearest Walmart was a full two hours away. My family still runs a ranch back home that I grew up on, but at some point in my treasured youth I hung up the idea of becoming a cowboy, and pursued my passion for architecture. Today I still find myself trying to fit in to a life that has treated me with the average ups and downs one can expect after a certain number of years. My wife and I moved to Denver after attending Texas Tech School of Architecture in Lubbock as we needed a grade change from the Llano Estacado. We camp with our three growing girls all summer and into the fall while I write and create and fly fish to maintain sanity. Life is moving fast as our careers and children progress in all areas, so being outdoors with each other keeps us mostly grounded.

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