Yellowstone park

It’s very chilly in the morning, just like last summer when I camped here. Back then there was ice on my tent in the morning, today there is no ice, but still cold: 7°C / 45°F. I wait for the sun to come up to dry the outside of the tent a bit. When most of the morning dew is gone, I break down the tent and attempt to pack it back in the bag. Again, it’s quite a struggle and it actually puts me a bit in a bad mood. It’s so annoying that the bag is so small that the tent just barely fits. After two or three attempts of folding the tent while saying a few bad words here and there, I finally succeed in making it fit. I plan on watching a YouTube video for some tips, because there should be a better way. To alter my mood, I drive slowly with classical music on the speakers to Yellowstone. I drive to a campsite where I camped last year with my friend Matt. I ignore the sign saying that the camping is full and ask very friendly if I’m lucky enough to have a free site available for tonight. As you might guess, there is a campsite available for me. I’m happy and thankful to be lucky again and the lady at the office tells me that “it was meant to be”. After thanking her again, I drive to the assigned campsite. It’s a quiet spot in the forest. I set up my tent immediately, so I don’t have to do that tonight. There is a friendly guy on the neighboring site and he introduces himself as Thor from Iceland. It couldn’t be more Viking than that, right? I talk with him for a while before he and his girlfriend drive off. After breakfast I also continue driving and go to an area that the campsite lady recommended me to see wildlife. Last year I only saw two bisons and I hope to see more this year. It turns out that I might have driven on the wrong side of the park last summer, because when I arrive on the North-East side of Yellowstone, there are hundreds of bisons. They’re walking and laying around in the wide outstretched fields along the road. I stop several times to take pictures and on the way back I’m lucky enough to have one walking right by the road. I haven’t seen any bears yet, but I keep good hope.
Inside most of Yellowstone National Park there is no cell service or internet. Sometimes I’m okay with that, but today it literally makes me feel disconnected. I’m good in traveling alone, but I also like to stay connected with other people via social media and texting. Now I’m all by myself and no way to reach out to anyone. I turn on some music and focus on the present moment. After all, it’s a privilege to be able to drive a car through Yellowstone. Still, I can’t enjoy the driving so much today either. There are a lot of horrible drivers on the road, stopping their cars suddenly or crossing the streets without any signal. Over all, I think that there are too many people here. It’s nice to travel in the summer for a change, but I prefer the other seasons when the parks are not so crowded. I hope the story of today doesn’t sound too negative, but I also realize that it’s okay to have a less than super exciting day in between. The lack of good food, the struggle with the tent and the disconnectedness are probably the cause of it. I accept my current state and do my best to still enjoy today as much as I can. In the evening I drive back to the area of the campsite where there also is a big lodge. It’s one of my favorite places in Yellowstone park since there are fireplaces and comfortable couches to relax. And, they have WiFi. It’s super slow, but enough to text and catch up with a few people. I think a big part of the reason why I want to stay connected is also that I have my business back home. I want to be available to my clients when they need me and in that context it doesn’t feel right to be completely offline. Right now I better accept it, because there it not much I can do about it. I remember that I also found it a bit challenging when I was offline while camping in the Redwoods last summer, but that all was well when I got back online in the morning. It’s probably good to learn to be disconnected sometimes.
Being at the lodge puts me in a better mood. I sit down by the fire for a bit and then take seat at one of the tables by the windows to do some writing. Last trip I enjoyed not writing every day, this trip I really enjoy writing daily again. As I write this, a thought comes to my mind ‘While not every day may be good, there is something good in every day’. The lodge is definitely one of the good things in today and I think I’ll stay here a bit longer before I go back to the campsite.
As I somehow expected, something good is showing up in the evening. After I finish my writing I walk to the bar for a beer and get myself a nice one called ‘Parks IPA’. I start talking with an outdoors looking guy sitting on the other end of the bar. His name is Jeff and he works here at the park, maintaining the buildings and offering fishing trips to tourists. We have a fun conversation and at some point he asks me if I want to join him to the employees pub. No idea what that is, but often open for fun I ideas, I join him to the backside of the lodge. He gets me a special pass to enter an older looking building and inside are many people who work at the park. We sit down at a table with another friendly guy and a bit later a woman with a board game joins our group. While we’re playing the game I’m thankful that such a fun surprise showed up at the end of the day. After the game Jeff and I walk back to the lodge, have another beer at the bar and then I head back to my campsite. Life is full of fun surprises.

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