The Great Yellowstone Snow Jam of 2007

Having been in the car for almost two and a half days straight (note the minor deviations in the Midwest and Big Horn National Forest,) we were anxious to get to Yellowstone and out of the car. As fate would have it, that wasn’t gonna happen. The story after the jump.

We got in to the park around 7pm, but it was already dark due to the height of the mountains and a building storm. Because of the steep slopes and rain our van didn’t feel safe at anything over 20 miles an hour. This dropped to about 10MPH as we climbed into the 9,000 foot range and the rain briefly changed to snow. I’d say we reached an all-time-slow of about 5MPH when we passed a guy who had spun his truck out into an embankment. Still, we kept trucking in search of Lake Lewis, the chosen campground.

We must have passed the entrance two or three times, because we didn’t get parked into our spot until 11:00pm. Tired & hungry, I decided I’d make fassolakia (a good ol’ Greek dish) to warm our stomachs and brighten our spirits. That’s when Ben notices that water’s leaking into the rear wall of the van. The best fix we came up with was turning the van around, so that the slant of the ground pointed the rear downwards. At this point we’re just glad we had the foresight to buy some booze before hand (Ben decided he’s mixing martinis from here on out.) Before we go to sleep, Ben turns to me and say “well at least we don’t have to worry about the leak, it’s snowing now.” Great.

I don’t recall ever waking up as cold as I was that morning. Apparently about 8 inches of snow came down over the course of the night. My first thought was that we were doomed. Ben talked me down, and then suggested that we gear-up and romp around in the snow. While we didn’t get to see a lot of Yellowstone that day, we did get to see some amazing (and rare) sights.

Snow Van Snowy Waterfall Cold river Me in snow

There wasn’t much to see in our neck of the woods, and we were cold, so we headed back to the van. Unfortunately it was too cold to do anything other than lay in our sleeping bags and drink martinis, so that’s pretty much how we finished off the day.

Fearing bed sores, the next day we decided we might as well start trying to get out. The roads had been plowed, but the 1/8 mile of road in the campground hadn’t been. Amazingly, Ben drove the van out without a single slide. It must be that Zamboni work listed on his resume.

It was smooth sailing from there on out. We immediately drove up to Old Faithful and caught an eruption, and then took our time driving to Mammoth Springs. We couldn’t drive more than 10 minutes without finding a boiling mud pot or geyser that needed photographing. We camped out that night by the springs and managed to lure a coyote to our campfire with our poured-out tuna water. That night we slept soundly with no disasters to interrupt. The next morning we went to photograph the Hot Springs and headed out on the 18 hour drive to Vancouver.

We took close to 800 pictures between us, but whittled them down to about 40 that are worth seeing. Rather than fuddle around trying to describe them, here’s the slideshow.

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Related Posts:
     Entering Yellowstone
     Yellowstone, WY
     Andy Beal Video Interview: Online Reputation Monitoring, His Upcoming Book, and Traveling with Geekery.

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2 Comments in 1 thread.»

Comment by Andy Beal
2007-10-24 07:29:04

Awesome photos! Drive carefully!

Comment by Ben
2007-10-24 11:30:50

Thanks! I think we’ve hit most of the inclement weather, though it’s raining in Vancouver right now ;)

You’d TOTALLY love Yellowstone. When you do your road trip, I’d plan on spending no less than a week there.


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