In my last post, I finally arrived at the place I was most excited to visit in my drive across the United States, Yellowstone National Park.
After discovering that conditions were just a touch colder than I was prepared for during the daytime, I began heading towards a campsite and a warm meal. Traffic ground to a halt. I figured the cause was some sort of relatively rare animal, causing drivers to slow down and snap pictures from the middle of the road, an annoying penchant of Yellowstone visitors seeing their first buffalo.
As it happened, I was almost completely correct in my guess about the material reason for being in first gear.
The only thing I was wrong about was the type of animal.
Of all of the places I ever visited as a youngster, Yellowstone National Park left the biggest impression on me. I thought its geothermal features were spectacular, its nature unparalleled, and its crowds easy enough to overlook when everything else was so spectacular.
I made sure when I planned my trip West to not just visit Yellowstone but to spend as much time there and just outside there as seemed reasonable. So, after a day spent just outside the park boundaries, I would spend a total of three days visiting the park.
I hadn't planned much of a park itinerary, but I wanted to visit a mix of popular and less popular spots. Along these lines, I picked out my first planned hike, one not far from the park's east entrance.
Soon, it would turn out there were a few other things I hadn't necessarily planned on. Like snow.