Living at High Elevation, Snow, Sleet, and Rain

Since the last three posts have been so beautiful I think its important to take a moment and talk about the reality of the weather here. Those three days were the anomaly and over the last three weeks almost every other day the weather has been so much worse. We have had several days with 3-4 inches of snow and almost every day has been overcast with intermittent rain/sleet/snow.

Jack LOVES the snow
One nights accumulation

Personally I can handle the cold (although 9 degrees a couple of morning was a bit much) but the lack of sun has been a real bummer. It’s been a long time since we have been anywhere the weather has been this bad for so long and I have to say I haven’t missed it. And not to be too whiny but the high elevation isn’t helping. West Yellowstone is at 6,667 feet and this is the highest elevation I have ever lived at. I have intermittently found myself to be light headed, nauseous, and fighting off dehydration. To be fair these moments are getting fewer and fewer the longer we are here, but combined with the weather not so great. I really feel sorry for the folks that just have a few days here, because if they pick the wrong few days it’s hard to see much of the park.

A few times we did go into town which has a surprising amount of original buildings from the 1800’s and I have to say I still really like it here. I also wanted to mention that the Visitors Center is excellent and has not only the town visitors center but also a desk with park rangers. Really good!

And since Lee gets such a great employee discount at the camera store I invested in a new 18-400mm lens. It works really great and is just slightly heavier than my other long lens, while being 100mm better. I am VERY happy with it.

Practicing with my new lens

One of the reasons the weather has been frustrating is we have been dying to see more of the park. I know we have the whole summer, but we keep hearing horror stories about the crowds that will be here soon and we want to take advantage of the time we have. On May 10th there was a 30 minute wait to get into the park at park mid day so its hard to imagine what it will look like in July and August. My plan is to see as many of the “hot ticket” sights in the park as early as possible and save the rest for when the crowds get crazy.

This sign explains the crazy crowds

It’s still easy to get in during the evening though although with the cold and wind I usually don’t want to. One day Lee went by himself and got some great pictures of a sow and two baby bears, but since he had to stand in the cold and wind for 30 minutes to get them, honestly I am not that upset I missed it. I was super happy for him though.

So cute!!

I did rally though when Julie and Casey came to visit and it was nice to hear they were sick of the weather as well. This is their fourth season working in the Tetons and they said this was much worse than usual. They made the 3-1/2 hour drive to get a camera from Lee’s camera store and to see the park. We were blessed with the best day in weeks on Sunday, which I will save for the next post, but had a nice happy hour and dinner at the Slippery Otter in town on Saturday night.

It so nice to see friends and we can’t wait to return the favor and drive down to see them in the Tetons.

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4 thoughts on “Living at High Elevation, Snow, Sleet, and Rain

  1. Great posts. Are you working in the park for the season? It’s an amazing place with the potential for miserable weather! Stay warm and enjoy tge sunshine when it returns. Cheers, from Las Cruces. Liz

  2. We had such a great time with you guys! We’re so glad you are spending the summer up here, both so you can really explore the area but more importantly, so we can see each other more than once every 4 years! We are loving our new camera. Many, many thanks to Lee for his expert guidance and advice.
    You nailed it with your description of the weather. Just when I think we’re turning the corner the temps plummet and the snow/rain comes. Good grief. On the bright side, the Tetons are absolutely gorgeous covered in all that snow and, as proven in your great photos, the animals are still fairly active. Win, win in my books! Keep enjoying Yellowstone and we will see you again soon.
    Hugs, Julie and Casey

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