With camping in the backcountry it becomes an infernal obsession to improve on every trip. Seeing what works and what doesn’t – trying new gear, shelving old gear, the seasons, the geography, the landscape, equipment breaking down, things not working, too much weight, I should have brought this and not that. All factors that dictate what to bring and what to leave at home.
Winter camping in the mountains is a challenge of sorts due to the the terrain, the snow, the longer periods of darkness the unpredictability of the weather and the fact that I won’t have the presence of a warm fire in Yellowstone to keep me company due to fire bans. But it’s not like a reality show where every move you make is fraught with danger and peril. Anyone can enjoy winter adventures with the right gear and mindset and maybe a little cold resistance 😉
On the plus side, the park itself is virtually empty. If you’re seeking solitude, this is the perfect time to go. No bugs, no bears, no traffic, no noise. I like to think of the snow as a sandy white beach, which is a little easier said than done sometimes and probably laughable to most people, but if you go into this environment with a negative mindset, you’re already halfway defeated before you even get to your destination.
The only entrance into Yellowstone during the winter is the Northwest Mammoth entrance just south of Gardiner, Montana. Go south of Livingston, Montana off of highway 90 via highway 89 towards Gardiner.
In my opinion the northern part of the park is the most beautiful during the winter, with great views of the Beartooth Mountains just outside the park boundaries to the north.
My plan is to head east towards Tower Junction on Grand Loop Road after getting into Mammoth. This is the area that the animals tend to migrate towards in wintertime, due to the lower altitude. Up to 5,000 elk, lots of Buffalo, Bighorn Sheep and of course Wolves, (with all that dinner running around) make themselves home here in the winter.
I recently read a great article on the benefits of going unplugged from social media for a couple of days, and I plan to do it during my stay as natures guest in the park.
According to a study done by the University of Utah, the daily grind of social media takes its toll on our brains. When we spend a couple of days outdoors without the internet, seldom used areas of our brain start to take over and our sensory perception and productive day dreaming start to improve. Our minds recalibrate as we start to notice things around us more clearly and our senses become acute and in tune with our surroundings. Your frontal lobes start to heal and recover. Something to think about. #brainspa #unplugged