Bison Quest Adventure Vacation Blog

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Winter Snow Coach in Yellowstone National Park March 17, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bisonquest @ 8:52 am

Winter is a great time in Montana, and we usually have our fun on skis or snowshoes.  We do have snowmobiles, but tend to go for the quieter forms of transportation and leave the snowmobiles for when we really need them.  But one form of recreation that we’ve always wanted to try, is taking the snow coach to Old Faithful.  We’ve talked about it for years, but never took the time off to go until this year.  And we LOVED it!  We spent the night at the Stagecoach Inn in West Yellowstone and the next morning made our way across the street to Yellowstone Vacations to board their snow coach for Old Faithful.  We met Heather – who made our reservation and greeted us with enthusiasm, and even got “dog care”.  When Heather found that we had Lee Lee with us, she asked if she could “dog sit” and keep Lee Lee in the office with her!  As many of you know – EVERYONE loves LeeLee!
By 9am we met Doug, our tour guide (and summertime YNP ranger) and boarded a beautiful, spacious bus on “snow tracks” along with several other tourists and off we went. Turns out, it was the maiden voyage of our new tracked vehicle and it was a joy to ride in.  And I have to admit, in the cold, zero degree (F) day, I sure was glad I wasn’t one of those snowmobile riders!   Doug was full of information and kept up a running commentary on the Park history, geology, wildlife and other fascinating facts.  He would periodically throw out wildlife questions and, when no one would answer, Craig or I would quietly give the answer.  He would look at us in surprise and then say, “well, someone here obviously knows their wildlife.”  At the end of the tour, we formally introduced ourselves and, when we told him we were wildlife biologists, he laughed and said,”No wonder you knew all of the answers!
The Park in the wintertime is a whole different place than in the summer.  For us, one of the highlights was being able to see numbers of Trumpeter Swans, as well as bison, elk and other wildlife.  We always look for them in the summer, but there are very few and those that are there, are scattered.  But in the winter – they migrate from Canada to the Madison and Firehole Rivers in large numbers because these rivers do not freeze due to hot springs and geysers.    Doug was super good-natured in stopping when we’d see some close to the bank so I could “get some shots”.  Beautiful, beautiful birds!

Yellowstone Trumpeter Swan

Yellowstone Trumpeter Swan

And how exciting to drive up to Old Faithful and have it seem empty by comparison with the bustling hordes of tourists in the summer.  Strolling around the geyser walk by ourselves, watching the clouds of steam roll off of the hot pools, all under a brilliant blue sky.  What can I say – we highly recommend the snow coach tour and would go again in a minute.  And , after meeting the lovely staff of the Yellowstone Vacations, we would highly recommend them also for those of you planning a winter vacation in the Park!

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