Adventure at Yellowstone: Our Family’s First Trip

Our first trip to Yellowstone fifteen years ago was an epic adventure, as we survived an invasion of territory-encroaching bikers, eluded vicious trap-laying mosquitoes, and chased down a difficult-to-photograph bear. But oh what fun we had in the process!

Our band of merry travelers (including my wife and three young children) arrived at our campground in West Yellowstone, Montana, eager for excitement after a five-hour drive. We found a secluded spot with hardly another soul around–although we noticed a distant cyclist setting up a pup tent. We hoisted our massive two-room tent, dubbed the “Taj Mahal”, and relaxed under the stars.

The next day we entered the park and saw many wondrous sights, including the Old Faithful geyser. Upon returning to our campsite, however, we stopped in shock. To our horror, an invading brigade of touring bicyclists had erected dozens of pup tents around the “Taj” like wild mushrooms. The lone cyclist from the night before must have been an advance scout with designs on our territory! Fortunately they only spent one night there.

Returning to the campground after our second day in the park, we saw a roadside sign for free firewood. We drove 100 yards down a dirt road to an area with loose wood. After loading a few handfuls, we were suddenly swarmed by an attack squadron of hungry, bloodthirsty mosquitoes! We beat a hasty retreat to the car and drove away. Unfortunately, several of the peskier mosquitoes had followed us into the car, so we kept swatting at them while driving. I think the mosquitoes set a trap for us!

On our last day in the park there was a commotion along one of the roads, as there were rumors of a bear sighting nearby. Not wanting to go away empty-handed, my wife, in full safari documentary mode, jumped out with her camera. She came back a few minutes later, mission accomplished! Or so she said–after developing the film, there may or may not be a bear in the photo. My wife swears there is one but all I see are trees.

We learned that natural beauty is a thing to be appreciated, but the best memories come from interacting with each other and with nature. While the park itself was certainly memorable (thanks to breathtaking scenery and geothermal wonders) our personal adventures created the most enduring memories.

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