So a little back story. When I rolled into Yellowstone NP I stopped to get a spot at the campground. When I got out of Dee I thought there was a waterfall right in the campground because I could hear a ton of rushing fluid. Turns out it was my engine coolant just pouring through a hole in a rubber engine coolant hose. After much deliberation with Ranger Rick he “allowed” me to turn around and head out the one-way campground road (only 50 feet…yeah he was a bit excessive about the rules of the place) to head back down the hill to Gardiner, MT.
This little town doesn’t have much but luckily it has a shop and some extremely generous employees. Although I did kinda park right in front of their door and block up the whole place so they HAD to fix mine first. I talked the mechanic into allowing me to help him do the labor to get half off the labor rate. So after my diagnostic (aka visually seeing coolant spray from a hose) we were able to get it all squared away in 45 minutes and for only $100. Healthcare for cars is so much cheaper than humans, I wish I could tell my doctor that I did half the work so cut my bill in half! One day!
I’m not sure why but I was almost excited to break down. Had it happened just before or just after this I would have been in the middle of absolutely NO WHERE so I felt uber fortunate to be in Gardiner. After the repair I was ready to go back to check in for camp and when I arrived Ranger Rick himself had a spot reserved for Dee and I. Damnit if he didn’t come through in the clutch for me.
The park was jam slammed, packed to the brim, teeming with people, crowded, you understand? There weren’t any spots in the campground left except for the one saved for me, and Rick hooked me up with the best view and most secluded site. (Full disclosure his name is not Rick, male rangers are referred to as Rick, females are Betty, nuff said)
I drove through most of the park without stopping because the parking situation was ridiculous. It is like they paid all these people to be here, I’ve never seen so many people in a park. The most amazing part was seeing the huge gang of buffalo, or herd of bison depending on how you classify them, lead the cars going the opposite direction.
Turns out that these bison backed up the traffic for miles and miles, I would guess no less than 15 miles of PARKED cars. I’m so glad I wasn’t driving that way I would have blown a gasket and had to take myself back down to Gardiner.
They say not to approach the animals and leave at least 50 feet to bison but apparently they only enforce those rules one way. I was quite offended that they get to play by different rules.
Yellowstone had the most large wildlife of anywhere I had been yet. Everywhere I have been has had copious amounts of small rodents and mid-size animals so it was badass to see some bears, bison, and elk. Unfortunately as you can see below Yellowstone also had the a large number of visitors.