we divirted off our path to seattle specifically for the opportunity to tour yellowstone. now, when i called to ask if the park was open, they said that the way to see it when it is winter is by snowmobile. as in, i thought it was the only way.

so, we put on our warmest clothes and woke up early to get a quick 10-minute course in how to operate a snowmobile and we were off. i was sorely unprepared for just how cold 15 degrees would feel, especially when zipping along at 30 miles per hour.

but! within five minutes, an awesome sighting: a giant elk! photo by b, he is very proud.

my view the entire time.

being inside the park with nary another soul in sight {beyond the other couple with us and our tour guide} was pretty incredible.

and, the bison were hanging out in the street. is this big guy not totally giving us the side eye?!

by noon, we had made it to old faithful. i should mention that by this point, i had seen the "snow coaches", aka buses on monster truck wheels. i have never been given a look so sympathetic than from these folks all warm in their bus as we whizzed by, tears streaming down my face and freezing onto my cheeks.

but, we got an hour at old faithful to go inside and chug two steaming cups of the best hot chocolate i have ever have while waiting for old faithful to do his thing.

and do it he did! it was very cool to see in person. and mind blowing to think that they can time it down to a few-minute window when he will blow.

from there we stopped at paint pots and more geysers. and our tour guide remarked that in the summer you would be jam packed on the trails with other visitors and have to wait your turn to even catch a glimpse at all the things we got to stop and stare at for as long as we wanted.

so, i guess what i'm saying is even though the sub-freezing temps had me the coldest i'd ever been, and subsequently gave me the plague for two weeks, it was all worth it to see the beauty of yellowstone.

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