tI had set the alarm clock just before sunrise, so I could do an early morning hike today, but when I wake up it’s raining outside. Where it was blue skies and sunshine yesterday, it’s grey and raining today. Not really the hiking weather I was hoping for. So I go back to sleep and wake up again around 7.30. It’s still the same weather, but I’ll go to the Grand Tetons anyway. If the weather gets better I’ll do some hiking and else I’ll just drive further to Yellowstone National Park.
It’s still nice to drive through Grand Tetons National Park, but it’s clear there won’t be any hiking today. At the entrance of the park I ask the lady for recommendations on a day like this. She tells me to visit the lodges and have a relaxed day. That sounds like a good idea. I first park my car to have breakfast somewhere and enjoy the view before I drive to Jackson Lake Loge. It’s a huge lodge with enormous windows to look over the lake. I sit down at one of the couches and think about what to do today. The lodge here is nice, but I remember from seven years ago that the one in Yellowstone was way more beautiful, because that one is very old and has a big fireplace. I wouldn’t mind spending a few hours there. It’s only two hours driving from here, so that’s where I’ll go today.
This morning I checked the weather report for Grand Tetons National Park, but not for Yellowstone. If I had done so, I wouldn’t be this surprised. Almost as soon as I drive in to Yellowstone National Park, the rain changes to snow and the sides of the road are covered in white. I did not expect this in May. It reminds me of a few winters ago when I went snow mobiling in Yellowstone with some friends. A whole day we went through the park on snow scooters, that was awesome. Driving through is also nice. Yellowstone is one of the few places where it can be freezing and snowing outside and the river is completely free of ice. It’s because Yellowstone is on top of a volcano and the water is hot. I drive to Old Faithful Inn and pack my books and notebook. I plan to spend the rest of the afternoon here. I walk to the lodge and it’s just as beautiful as I remember from seven years ago. It’s a big open space with a fireplace in the center and two more floors with balconies. On the first floor there is a violist playing music. I find a nice desk to sit down at. I get myself a coffee at the espresso cart and think of myself as a happy man.
The Old Faithful Inn is a very cozy place. People sit down here to talk with each other, read books, write and draw or just sit down and listen to the violin music. It feels like time is standing still in this place. The seats in front of the fireplace are very popular, so when a few chairs get free I take my chance and sit down by the fire with a book.
It looks like it stopped snowing and raining, so I’ll walk outside to see the Old Faithful geyser and then go back to my car. I drive to another scenic place in the park, the canyon with the big waterfall. Even though it’s a bit raining again, it’s very nice to see this familiar piece of nature. I drive further through the park and see deersa, bizons and even a bear. Yellowstone is maybe not the most impressive park for mountains or rocks, but what makes this park different than the others is that I’ve seen here more wildlife than in any other park. By now I’m in the North of the park and suddenly get the idea to drive to my family in Helena, only a couple of hours away. They don’t know that I’m coming today, because I thought I wouldn’t be there until the weekend. I hope they like the surprise, I think they will. Just after sunset I arrive in town. Driving into Helena feels like coming home. I know these streets and I’m glad to be back here. When I arrive at my family’s home it looks like they’re already sleeping. I decide to park my car at the driveway and camp in front of their house so I don’t have to wake them up now. They’ll discover me in the morning. It’s nice to be back here and I’m looking forward to see them all tomorrow and to see the surprise on their faces.