Yellowstone itself is a small eco-city. With hotels, clinics, gas stations, car repairs, shops and cafes, museums, tourist centers, post office and ranger villages. The road inside is excellent, detailed signs, you will not miss your turn. And each landmark has a description.
When we planned our vacation in Yellowstone, we chose between the hotel and the tent. But it turned out that there were almost no hotel rooms, camping was cheaper in 6 and, frankly, it was interesting to stay as close as possible to nature. The campgrounds themselves are perfectly organized. There are several of them in the park. You can place the tent among the pines, at a reasonable distance from the neighbors. Entrances, races, parking, toilets, trash cans are planned carefully and efficiently. On each spacious campground there is a table with a bench and an iron box to hide the products from the animals.
3. Absorb the information
Prepare for the trip by exploring the site. Read issued newspapers. Upon arrival, several newspapers are issued with reserve news, animal observation features and historical facts about Yellowstone, as well as a listing of the rules.
Nature here prevailed over civilization. Photos from the personal archive
4. Follow the rules, do not hesitate to clarify the incomprehensible
People who come to watch wild animals really want to see a bear staggering across the plain and wolves basking in the sun. But few are ready to see him at their tent. Therefore, it is very important to keep the camping or recreation area clean. Food and everything that smells (even toothpaste) can be taken out only before direct use, and the rest of the time stored in special iron boxes. When I decided to ask the ranger if I could take a bottle of water with me to the tent for the night, he answered very emotionally: “Madam, we do have bears.” With emphasis on do. That is, nothing can be left in the tent, except for bedding. Nothing. No cream, no lip balm, no medicine. Even an abandoned water bottle can attract a bear. Well, they have a scent!
A couple of years ago, I even had to shoot a bear climbing into a tent, as a careless tourist left a cooler bag in it.
Learning to live next to bears is a whole science. Photo from personal archive
5. Give tribute to animals
A bison can come up to your tent and languidly breathe near all night. Deer and moose can easily butt your car with their horns. Because you came to visit them, in their world. And you are not entitled, while on the reserve, to express dissatisfaction with the behavior of animals.
6. Come to the cafe with your cup
Trash that smells like food is bad trash. That is why the rangers recommend that you take with you, if possible, everything you want to throw in the dustbin and use reusable dishes. Despite the fact that in Yellowstone trash is sorted and there are 4 types of waste containers everywhere, in any cafe you will be happy to pour coffee directly into your cup.
The main task of the park rangers now is to preserve heritage. Photo from personal archive
7. Think over the menu
We stayed in Yellowstone for 5 days, and the day before there was a big consultation on what to take, what not to take. As a result, we got a bunch of ready-made soups, cereals, canned food and instant noodles. But once a day, they still ate at catering points. In the morning, you can boil water over a fire, make tea and make porridge. Lunch can be arranged somewhere in the villages, so as not to return to the base. There is fast food for a dozen, and more decent restaurants. And you can have dinner again at the campsite. By the way, dry firewood is officially allowed to be collected everywhere. There is not much food in the local shops and the selection is rather scarce. Mostly snacks and alcohol.
8. Check the backpack
What will come in handy in Yellowstone for sure is warm clothes, a fire starter, a lighter, binoculars, an umbrella, a knife, a reusable water bottle and a thermo coffee mug. The rest is optional.
9. Buy souvenirs
There are several souvenir shops in the park selling a lot of cute things and, I must say, the assortment in different stores is different. So, having fallen in love with some mug with a deer - take it, in another place there may be a mug with another deer. So you will be left without what you want.
The park has a few souvenir shops, which sell a lot of cute little things. Photos from the personal archive
10. Do not trust weather forecasts
Heat. July. At night 0 ... + 3C, in the evening + 8C. Although, according to the forecast, they promised + 15 ... + 20C for the week: “Welcome to Yellowstone”, as the ranger commented on such temperature fluctuations at the lecture. Therefore, it is imperative to take warm clothes with you. On the last day it was raining and we were happy with our umbrella.
11. Attend lectures
Free educational lectures are provided at each campsite. You can learn a lot about the ecosystem, the history of the park, the life of bison and squirrels. Lectures are given by the park's workers - rangers who have given their hearts and strengths to the preservation and prosperity of this park.
Each campsite holds free educational lectures. Photos from the personal archive
12. Admire the work of the Rangers
They keep order, over animal populations, and ensure the safety of people and animals from each other. You can not imagine what they are great and what work is behind all this exemplary park.
13. Do not build plans
We stayed 3 full days plus the day of departure and arrival. I think this is a great time, because we managed to see everything we wanted. If you go to Yellowstone for a shorter period, it is better not to build rigorous and clear plans. Anything can interfere with them. For example, road congestion often occurs due to a passing herd of buffalo. Have plenty of time and be ready to turn around if you drove past a viewing platform. The park has to look into every corner.
14. Bring the kids
The main task of the park now is to preserve the heritage for our children and educate a new generation of rangers, as devoted to nature as the present. For children, a school of young scouts is held here, where they rush through the mountains, observe flowers, streams, bison and learn to respectfully interact with nature.
15. Plan a budget
There are different ways to get to Yellowstone. For example, we traveled from Denver in a rented car. Gasoline for all 7 days, including the reserve and the road to it, cost $ 70. Entrance to the park - $ 30 for a passenger car. Camping - $ 25 per night, food - $ 220 for 5 days (they cooked mostly themselves), souvenirs - $ 150 (impossible not to buy), repair of a perforated tire - $ 45.
Come if you haven't been here yet and come back if you have already. This is some other world, where people are in harmony with animals, where silence, endless meadows, bison with deer by the road and birds sing, where “mercantile paws” of civilization do not spoil the environment, but ennoble it.