Sunday, 9 August 2015

High Season in Yellowstone

In the short time that Andrew and I have been paragliding, we've found that one of the biggest obstacles is finding a way to get to the launch point and still have our vehicle at the landing zone. You either have to know people, get to know people, find a shuttle or figure "something" out at each new destination. And it's always good to get a site briefing from someone local who knows the site to get beta on any particular hazards.

We've had mixed luck on how welcoming people are when we contact them by email so, in an effort to simplify things a bit, we were looking for places that had systems already in place. Jackson, Wyoming, was one of them. A gondola to the launch site and guides available to go up with you, provide site briefing, etc. It's a bit more expensive but, to us, the ease of organizing is worth a few extra dollars.

Normally, we tend not to travel too much in high summer season but with Andrew having a conference in Seattle in mid-August, we decided a road trip should be done. Unfortunately, our "let's just wing it" travel style doesn't translate well during high summer season.

After the first long day of driving, we arrived in Livingston, Montana, in the pouring rain and there was not a hotel room to be had for many miles around. We checked a few campgrounds and finally found one with a group site. $10 later we had a place to rest our heads.

Driving through Yellowstone National Park was yet another reminder of why we don't travel high season. Too many people, too many vehicles, too much road construction. Ugh!

But the landscape is beautiful despite the frustrations.

Yellowstone River
Gorgeous shades of red.
Who owns the road? This big guy does! 
Hello there. I think I'm just going to close the window now so your big horn doesn't get me!

(Andrew, able to lean out the car window, got a better photo of the bison walking down the road. 

In addition to lack of or minimal vacancy, the other high season frustration is cost. We paid an absolutely ridiculous amount of money to guarantee us a mediocre hotel room for tonight but luckily have managed to find a campground for the next few. 

The past couple days have been a bit windy and rainy but we're hoping for calm skies tomorrow for our first day of paragliding in Jackson! 

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