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Old Faithful, fly-fishing, bison-jams and camping, oh my!
Yellowstone National Park is simply a place that will take your breath away. Where else can you see bison, grizzlies, wolves, elk, deer and an assortment of other wild animals? Follow that with fishing some of the best trout water in America, the spectacular geyser system and the beautiful nature of the Park – it’s outdoors at its finest.
This past weekend our family spent the weekend camping at the Madison Campgrounds just north of Old Faithful. You can make your reservations through Xanterra and for around $20 a night, watch bison and elk wander through your campground, as well as see the most amazing star-filled sky. To me, nothing is better than a good campfire, s’mores and lots of laughter.
I’ve always wondered why food cooked over a campfire tastes SO much better?! Maybe it’s the fresh air, the smell of the fire mingling with the savory aromas, or its just the fact that you are outside having fun.
We spent the day fishing the Madison and Firehole Rivers catching spectacular brown and rainbow trout with pale morning duns, elk hair caddis and ant attractor patterns. You can only fly fish in Yellowstone and a special licence is needed, so drop by any of the vistors centers or grocery stores in the Park and they can set you up. A majority of the Park is catch and release so make sure to read the fishing regulations closely. Only in this beautiful place will you have the heart pumping experience of reeling in a fighting fish, while the bison graze nearby. Their grunts will remind you they are close by and to keep a safe distance.
No trip to the Park would be complete without stopping at Old Faithful and watching the geyser blow like clockwork. If you just miss the main geyser, or see it as soon as you arrive, take the time to walk around the area and see the many other geysers. The spectacular colors of the bacteria around geyers, the bubbling hot water and mud pots and the eerie steam that covers the area is fascinating.
Make sure to stop by the new Visitor’s Center which has fantastic interactive displays and movies on the Yellowstone area, history, geysers and geology. Kids and adults will love it! Then, take a stroll through the magnificent Old Faithful Inn, grab some ice cream and sit on the upper deck and wait for Old Faithful to go off, or just enjoy people watching. Also, don’t miss the geysers at West Thumb near the South entrance to the Park or the Prismatic Geyser, a five minute drive north of Old Faithful.
There is so much to do and see in Yellowstone during the summer. Take the time to spend a full day or two in the Park and enjoy everything it has to offer you. Lodging and camps sites in the Park book early so don’t wait until the last minute to make your reservations!
I’ll leave you with this parting shot and thought. Slow down, take it all in and be prepared for traffic. The RV type and the animal type. “Bison-jams” are a regular occurence in the Park, so just kick back and enjoy a leisurely drive that may include some interesting road blocks!
For more information on Yellowstone, lodging, wildlife and fly fishing regulations, visit www.nps.gov/yell/