A Glass of Red: Adventures in Yellowstone
First of all…. I know it is odd that I'm combining my business segment with my vacation, but these two need to work together. You have to be able to step away from your work every now and again to rest your mind and refresh. Take intentional inactivity in order to refill yourself with creativity. It can seem impossible to step away from the kids, work, the house to go on a break, but it is absolutely and completely necessary. Kirk and I left for Yellowstone for 4 days and we came back together as a team. We definitely needed this vacay.
We had the BEST time on this trip! It is truly the purest essence of what America is, has been, and always will be. There is something so spiritual about Montana and Yellowstone National Park. The mountains just speak to you… I felt so humbled being there feeling so very small against these absolutely enormous and rocky beings. It felt like the cultures of the past were still all around us. Even in the most high tourist traffic times of the day through the park when you got out of your car, pulled over to soak in the view, or just rolled the window down..it was so quiet. You could hear the streams, the rivers, the birds, the elk, even the wind in the grass. It was very emotional for me, actually. It was the purest form of nature I had ever experienced because it was so raw, so untouched, so left alone…. Amazing.
We flew into Bozeman which is an hour and a half away from our hotel. I recommend flying into Bozeman though because there is so much to do there. It is such a charming town! We grabbed our rental car and hit the road to explore a little. We got in very early, so we had plenty of time before our check in at Dreamcatcher. Kirk decides to take us on an adventure up to the resovouir to test out the rental car. Gorgeous views! Then we went a little further and found several hiking trails. Kirk wanted to get out and go up… but I knocked that down because a) We didn’t have bear spray b) we didn’t have bear spray and there were signs everywhere saying “grizzly country” and to have bear spray during hiking….. SO NO WE ARE NOT GOING HIKING, BABE…..
When in Bozeman swing by Montana Ale Works for some fresh draft Montana beers, GREAT FOOD, and a fun atmosphere. It was soo good! We had bison dumplings and wagyu beef burgers that were out of this world! We then went across the street to grab some beer and snacks for the room at a little market. Buy a case of water as well since you will need it during your adventures in the park. The water and food inside are like amusement park prices. We kept our waters in the car! Next, we started making our way to the Dreamcatcher Tipi Hotel! The drive there was just stunning. Mountains everywhere and green pastures and valleys. We were already loving it!
Dreamcather Tipi Hotel
This hotel is so unique! I have always loved the idea of a “glamping” adventure, and staying in a luxury tipi was just the ticket. It is seated right off the highway and nestled at the foot of the hillside. There is a communal fire pit where you can find complimentary beer, wine, and smores every night starting at 730pm. The tipis themselves are the cutest things! Unzip the entrance and in you go. You’ll find a nice bed with two chairs, lamps, heaters, and a coffee maker, outlets, a flashlight, fresh towels, and robes. It is really very cozy. The mattresses are SO SOFT. I slept like a baby! Wondering where the bathroom is? You’ll find it a short walk away in a nicely kept bathhouse. About 6 separate bathrooms make up the bathhouse, and each one has its own shower and soaps. They were always VERY clean and stocked up. Some things to be prepared for:
· Daylight begins at 530am. It literally feels like 7am and it’s so bright! I kept waking up at 530 everyday thinking I woke up late!
· Being that the bathrooms are walking distance away, there could be animals around if you have to go pee in the night. Bring your flashlight!
· You can bring your friendly pets!
· There are games like corn hole, etc, so, grab the bags from in the welcome tent when you check in!
· WIFI is available, but you are in the country! It isn’t the best service. Enjoy the separation from technology…( it was super nice- not being sarcastic)
· Compliementary coffee and hot tea is available in the breakfast tent right next to the check in tent.
Yellowstone National Park
The following day, we got up at like 6am to get started. We were told to get to the park very early to avoid the crowds. We drove into Grandier (10 mins away from the hotel) and stopped to eat at Tumbleweed Bookstore and Café, a little place that makes really good breakfast sandwiches and lattes. We took ours to go and kept driving through Grandier, passing little restaurants and bars along the way, until we reached the North entrance to Yellowstone. As you enter the gate, be prepared to pay $35 for your pass which is worth it because your pass is good for like 5 days after you pay. Make sure you ask what radio station the Yellowstone station is on. Youll hear advice from the rangers on what to expect while you’re there and animal safety- although, after a ways into the park you wont have service and you will also not have any radio. You will drive a winding road of about 5 miles into the park and hit the Mammoth Hot Springs. Yall… this is where the adventure begins.
You are about to face a ton of driving.. but, honestly you don’t really realize how much you actually drive because a) the excitement of seeing REAL WILD animals b) there is beauty all around you! Take it all in! We drove the entire park that day. We got out at every lookout, feature, and geyser. Do the same! You don’t want to miss a single thing. There are plenty of signs to direct you to all the attractions and different areas of the park. Lamar Valley was probably our favorite place. That is where most of the wolves live, and we saw 4! Go in the evening when they come out to play and hunt (730-8Pm).
Our Favorite Features:
· The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone -so gorgeous and a HUGE waterfall
· Old Faithful (because duh)
· Lamar Valley -wolves and buffalo
After a full day in the car we were ready to grab some cold brews and grub. That night we went to the Iron Horse Saloon and had some Elk Nachos.. so GOOD!!! We then topped the night off at the Blue Goose Saloon where we had way too many birthday shots for Kirk’s bday. The nighlife for being in the mountains is actually pretty fun! Make sure to plan where you want to eat first because a lot of the restaurants close early.
The next day we were supposed to go white water rafting according to the Birthday Boy’s wishes. FORTUNATELY, we didn’t go because it was a little on the chilly side and we wanted to see the Grand Teton National Park. We just couldn’t do all that in one day, so Grand Tetons it was. To get there you have to drive through the park again and come out the other side. The Grand Teton Mountains are a MUST SEE. We drove all the way to the base of the mountains. When we had had our fill there we turned around and went to the Jackson Lake Lodge (located in "cowboy country", Wyoming. This place is so cool. You can stay there and sign up for fun excursions like horseback riding and fishing. We sat out on the patio overlooking the Teton mountains across the lake while sipping some Sweetwater Pale Ale. The perfect ending to a fabulous day sight seeing. As we made our way back through Yellowstone we saw bears, elk, and all kinds of creatures coming out as evening approached. We stopped at Lamar Valley and saw those 4 wolves (KIRKS FAV part of the trip) The perfect ending to an amazing time in the outdoors.
We went and ate at Rosies Bistro. Half the restaurant serves pizza and sandwiches the other half is “fancier” (very casual-just different food) We had the Bison Lasangne which was delicious! The tipi was calling our name at that point, so it was time to head back. We had some wine and enjoyed our last sleep with our Tipi home.
The next morning we packed up and drove over to the Grizzly Bear Rescue. This place is so neat because you can see actual Grizzly bears up close and personal (obviously not close enough to touch, but from a safe/close distance) Here you can learn about bear safely, what sets them off, how to stay alive if attacked, and what to do if you face one in the wild. Very interesting stuff.. I would have actually liked seeing this at the beginning of the trip. After that, we were back in Bozeman where we ate lunch at “Roost”. You NEED to eat here. This was the BEST fried chicken Kirk and I had ever had in our lives…. That says a lot because we eat and try all sorts of places and no where in Houston have I found a place that does chicken like Roost does! At least, not yet.
This trip was sooo much fun! Yellowstone is just awe inspiring and beautiful. We will definitely be back. I will say, however, it will be when Fisher is much older. This is not a very good vacation to bring a little baby on. Too much driving around! Please go visit this amazing part of our country! You haven't SEEN America until you've been to Yellowstone National Park.
Hope you guys enjoyed it! Please let me know if you guys have any questions about the trip, hotel, park, please let me know!