At this point in our travels we had finished visiting the friends and family that were along our path and our vacation actually begun! From here on out it would be national parks and wilderness for us to explore 🙂
Yellowstone National Park
Our first stop after visiting a friend in Wyoming was to Yellowstone National park. One of the great things that we found out upon entry into the park was that we didn’t have to pay for entry or a membership because hubby is military! It was completely free for us 🙂
One problem we did have was we didn’t book anything in advance mainly because our trip dates were so flexible and dependent on the conditions we ran into but we had mistakenly assumed there would be plenty of space for us to camp at the national parks. Wrong! Someone told us that in the last 4 years the park has been extremely crowded. Booking space in advance whether you camp or stay in lodging is a necessity! Another issue we ran into was that trailers aren’t allowed in many campsites or along some of the trails and roads which was pretty limiting but we still had a great time.
We got very lucky to be able to book a room in the park instead of having to drive back out to stay somewhere and come back in the next day. It was super expensive for what we got though. We stayed in the Old Faithful Snow Lodge in a cabin detached from the main building so there was no wifi or tv. Actually there was only free wifi available in one building in the entire park so prepare yourselves for a bit or detachment if you don’t have service (or a phone like me).
We arrived in the evening so we decided to just rest for the night and get going in the morning. Our lodging was very close to Old Faithful so that was our first stop!
We also wandered around some of the trails around Old Faithful too. (Side Note: pets are not allowed on a lot of the trails so if you are traveling with pets be prepared to leave them in the room in order to wander around).
We just made our way up and through the park, stopping along the way at any of the pull of spots we could find a parking spot to stop at. Around these geysers we ended up walking up another trail too for some extra exercise.
The only wildlife we did get to see was this one Buffalo just before we were about to leave the park but it was very exciting even in the distance!
There was a restaurant near our cabin but it was always packed full and seemed expensive so we ate at the “cafeteria” around the corner. Also expensive for what it was but at least we didn’t have to wait forever. It was wonderful though because they had black bean burgers for me and I know the hubby wished he would have gotten the same because his meat patty was seriously the nastiest thing either of us had seen! Aside from that the whole park was pretty eco friendly. They offered reusable cups that we could get our coffee and other drinks in, lots of disposable items were biodegradable and there were lots of recycling bins around the park! Plus this sign that for whatever reason needed to be put in the bathrooms. 😛
Because we spent the entire day driving around the park and new we weren’t going to spend another $200 to stay in the park if there were any rooms available anyway, we drove out to Bozeman right outside of the park to stay the night there. However when we asked around for prices for the night the cheapest place we found wanted $170. So we used the free wifi at one of the hotels to get on Booking.com to find a cheaper place to stay and we ended up at a Motel 6 in Butte $80. For that we got Wifi, a fridge, microwave, tv, air conditioning, a place to do laundry (MUCH needed at this point) and the room was CLEAN! Happy face. The hubby had time to take the car somewhere to get fixed in the morning while I did some laundry and we were ready to make moves 🙂
We decided to spend the night at Flathead lake which is somewhere between Yellowstone and Glacier National Park. This was our first time on the trip actually camping for the night so that was fun and the place was beautiful! We got lucky again in finding a campground at Wayfarers Park which allowed trailers. Our spot was pretty secluded from our neighbors and the best part was you could walk to the lake from our site without having to walk by anyone else.
This as also my first time swimming in a body of water that wasn’t a pool! It was pretty scary since you couldn’t keep your footing getting into the water with the waves and I’ve got asthma and probably hadn’t exercised that much in a hot minute so keeping my head above water was a bit of a struggle.
We went back to the lake to watch the sun set which was incredible and after we stayed for a bit to watch the stars.
The hubby caught a shooting star passing by over our camp spot too as we were getting ready to call it a night.
Glacier National Park
After Flathead Lake we drove into Glacier National Park. Again we made the mistake of assuming that there would be plenty of space for us to camp at. But having a trailer really limited the already limited spaces that were available. At first we drove into a campsite with a sign for no trailers thinking that maybe ours was small enough to get by with. We fit into a spot and started cooking but soon the camp hosts came by to tell us we would have to move to another campground the next day. They were very helpful though. They let us know which campgrounds allowed trailers (Athabasca, Hector or Bow Lake), we did have to remove the trailer and park it near their campsite for the night but they called a host from one of those camp grounds to see that they had space and they let us take our prepaid camping ticket to the new campground so we wouldn’t have to pay twice.
I really wanted to come to Glacier National Park to see Lake McDonald. I’ve had this lake pinned on my pinterest travel board for the longest time because the rocks looked so unbelievably colorful! So I was a little disappointed when we arrived and found that although the rocks are quite colorful they were nothing like the photos on pinterest. Sad day but still beautiful.
We still had a lot of fun at the lake though. Dave and I skipped rocks, went swimming, collected and stacked rocks just waiting for the sun to set over the lake.
Our Campsite Set Up
Hubby slept in the tent he had brought with us. It says it’s a 2 person tent but lets be honest, its not. The other reason we didn’t share the tent is because I’m an early bird and he would sleep in till 6 pm if he could so getting in and out would just make the mornings a little more stressful. So he slept in the tent and I slept in the car which had seats that laid flat so I could stretch out.
One of the items I could not have survived without on this trip was our water jug! Even though the pump we had didn’t fit which made things a bit more difficult, camping or driving the long distances would have been a mess without having our own large supply of water handy at all times. There were even places at the campsites to refill our jug.
I also took pictures of some of the posted notifications and warnings around the campsite which would have been nice to know ahead of time just for planning purposes.
The day before we left Glacier National Park we got up to explore the trails near our campsite, which again do not allow pets.
The day we left the park we wanted to drive up and out to take the most direct route into Canada however the road that leads you there through the park is extremely steep! It was so steep and twisted that trailers were not allowed to be taken up. We went up a little ways anyway (aren’t we terrible) and we ended up having to turn around and exit the park somewhere at the bottom in order to drive out and around the park to get to Canada. A mess. ANYWAY! The views from that impossible road were amazing!
We left the park, saw an amazing sunset and headed for the border.
We also got to see how the tree line bordering Canada and the US was cut down so you could actually see the border line which was awesome.
And thats it for that part! We added a little over 1,000 miles from this leg leaving us with about 2,200 miles to go 🙂
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