Wednesday, June 1: Yellowstone! A Week Early.

Sunday morning, May 29th, we departed bright and early and by 2:30 we were in Bozeman, Montana. Bozeman is a quaint college town with a lot going for it and we enjoy stopping there. The campground is nice and Costco and Walmart are only a few minutes away making it ideal for picking up last minute provisions and filling our chest freezer.

It also has a very nice dog park. After 2 weeks on the road (mostly in the front seat wedged in between Mary Ann and me except when she was sprawled out in the back seat, no the front seat, oops, back seat) Braeten had just a little stored up energy so the dog park was our second priority…right after getting the chest freezer plugged in.

Over the next few days we made 2 trips to the dog park, did our requisite supply shopping, and even took time out to watch The Revanent, borrowed from the campground video collection.

Wednesday morning we were up with the sun and ready for an early run at the west entrance, Yellowstone’s busiest entrance. We arrived around 9 prepared for the long line we encountered but pleasantly surprised by how quickly it moved.

As we progressed into the park we were amazed to see very little snow remaining on the ground, even in the higher altitudes on the road between Norris and Canyon. The temperature readout on the truck overhead console was also unexpectedly high. Though our arrival date in the park was within a day or two of normal, we were seeing conditions not normally expected for another week or more.

We encountered traffic volumes much higher than is typical for early June. We had anticipated this to some extent based on forecasts for increased park visitation for the National Park Service centennial celebration.

We arrived at our campsite for the next 14 weeks before noon followed 20 minutes later by the other 3 boat captains. Mosquito season was already in progress, fully a week earlier than normal.

Everyone spent the next several hours setting up. The next day we were all scheduled to sign in.

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