Thankfully our driving day to West Yellowstone was a really nice one. In order to makeup the time we had lost the day before we did decide to push through. The drive was beautiful, especially when we reached the National Forest area and we loved driving along the Snake River.
After a long driving day, we finally arrived at West Yellowstone a little later than we would like but were excited to arrive at our summer home, Fox Den Campground. Many campgrounds here are parking lots, but this one is older and has lots of trees. It also has a very nice family running it and they have gone out of their way to make us comfortable. Keep in mind if you come in April things are still pretty muddy (and snowy), but the clean air and lack of crowds might make it worth it.
I had heard some negative things about the small town of West Yellowstone, but so far I really like it. The prices are higher (which we were prepared for) but not gouging like we have seen in other small resort towns. They also have all of the basic services including post office, library, police department, two small grocery stores, several gas station, restaurants, and tons of shops. Since the closest cities are Idaho Falls (1-1/2 hours) and Bozeman (2 hours) I was relieved to see the grocery stores carried the basics. In all fairness though I like the town now when hardly anyone is here, but I’ll let you know what happens when it is full of tourist for the season.
In addition to the services I mentioned there is a health clinic in town and three more in Yellowstone itself. Again I found that reassuring. Of course lots of restaurants and lots of hotels which range from the very fancy to more basic. These places get booked way in advance though so if you are planning on coming up here (even out of season) I would do some planning. When we arrived April 22 MANY of the places were still closed and the park itself only had main roads open. We have learned that most of the business in town are owned by various members of one large family and as their workforce trickles in more places are opened. Even without those places though this is a town people live in year-round. I asked one local who said the roads to Bozeman and Idaho Falls stay open all year long, which I thought was interesting.
Getting here early meant Lee was the first seasonal employee to start at the camera store and so far he really likes the job. He worked 10-6 five days the first week, but we are guaranteed at least one weekend day off together. We can even go into the park after he gets off work some days but unfortunately the weather has been really hit and miss. It has rained quite a bit and snowed several days and we have yet to have one clear sky day off together to visit the park. Still we have the whole summer so we are trying not to be too impatient with the grey skies and overnight freezing temps.
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