Yellowstone National Park

Road Trip USA: Seattle to Yellowstone National Park

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We left a surprisingly dry Seattle behind us, and set out on the next leg of our journey, to the famous Yellowstone National Park. We took the scenic I90 towards Spokane, and then on through forests and yet more unbelievably beautiful landscape into Montana.

Our first proper stop was in the ghost town of Garnet, one of many ghost towns which dot the Montana¬† mountains. (And by the way, the state is well-named.) This ghost town was, as is the case with many of the ghost towns, built to extract the gold from them thar hills. In 1889, 1000 people called the town home. But over the next thirty years or so, fire, hardship, and the privations of the First World War meant that most people left the struggling town. It was briefly and partially the subject of renewed interest during the Great Depression, but gradually faded into obscurity. It has now recovered some slight renown as Montana’s best-preserved ghost town, and it was fascinating to walk the deserted streets and imagine all the many people who once would have lived there.

We spent the night camping near the city of Missoula, then set off again the next day. After our fascinating experience at Garnet Ghost town the previous day, we decided to visit another ghost town as we made our way to Yellowstone. This one was called Nevada City, and was only just off our route. Nevada City is a whole town that has become a fascinating outdoors museum. It was a mining ghost town until it was restored to its former state by the Bovey family between 1945 and 1978. As we wandered with many other tourists past traditional log cabins, it was easy to imagine that we had really stepped back in time.

We got back on the spectacularly scenic road and eventually, as the sun was just beginning to set, we reached the West Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Trees and mountains loomed overhead and the road wound between them. We passed through the gate and got our first taste of the natural splendour Yellowstone has to offer. We drove alongside the gleaming river, between the tall dark trees. After a few miles of driving, we found our camp site at Madison Campground, pitched up and enjoyed the tranquil evening in Yellowstone. Madison Camground is centrally situated within the park, and we knew it would be ideal for our explorations over the next two days as we went to see the main attractions within the park.

Old Faithful and the other geysers, Yellowstone Lake, Mammoth Hot Springs, Canyons, mountains and valleys, flora, fauna and a whole range of signs of geological activity greeted us as we explored the many natural wonders of this National Park set atop a super-volcano. The geological activity beneath us is the main thing that makes Yellowstone so special, and at times, the vents, mud pools and geysers seemed like something from another world. We could have spent a year exploring the amazing natural wonders of Yellowstone, but reluctantly, we said goodbye, and heading off towards our next destination.

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