Yellowstone was my favourite. Hands down. I had NO idea what I was in for so when I saw it for the first time… you just need to imagine my face – it was an absolute picture. After getting past the wild boar obstruction on the road we drove through the massive park en route to our first point of interest on the map. I was practically jumping up and down in my seat when I saw them out the car window. And I knew what geysers look like from seeing them in Iceland – or at least I thought I did.
The geysers in Yellowstone National Park had colours in them I didn’t think existed in the natural world. It looked like someone had chucked a whole box of crayola into a melting pot and added a smoke machine. It was absolutely out. of. this. world.
It took everything in me to keep my feet planted firmly on the ground – all I wanted to do was jump up and down in excitement – but you can’t ! The synthetic walkway they built to allow you to walk over the geysers was electrically charged to the point it was shocking everyone as we shuffled over it. So every 10 or 20 seconds you’d hear someone yelp as they’d accidentally brush past or touch shoulders with someone else. And if the thought of falling off the walkway onto the ground below wasn’t enough to keep you focused… the burning hot acidic pools beside you definitely were. I kept my feet firmly on the ground.
I really didn’t want to leave but there’s only so many photos you can take of a melting hot geyser, so we reluctantly made our way back to our (not so colourful in comparison) zebra wagon and continued on our journey north. Our last national park in America, and our last adventure with our little campervan friend on American soil was Glacier National Park in Montana.
We drove over miles and miles of windy mountain roads, stopping at bright blue glacier lakes and twisting our way up the mountains – pulling over every couple of minutes to admire the view. It really was like nowhere I’d ever been before – with such a contrast between the vivid greens of the trees and the grass compared with the bright whites of the ice still enveloping much of the mountain we were driving around. Waterfalls cascaded down the sides of the rocks, periodically giving our van a little wash as we drove by them. It was honestly just magical, and the perfect place to end our road trip in America.
We continued driving north up to the border into Canada through the park, and after a couple of raised eyebrows at the van – some disbelief from the border security guards that we WEREN’T actually carrying any drugs or weapons (the van gave a bad impression I reckon…) we were finally on our way to Calgary.
Since we didn’t have to drop the camper off till the next day we decided to head straight for Banff National Park where wanted to do some more hiking. I’d seen photos of the park before so I kinda had an idea what I was heading into but the COLOUR of that water is like nothing you can describe. Not even through a photo.
We scrambled up mountains and scuttled over logs in the water like wee beavers for the best viewpoints of Lake Louise and Lake Morraine. Taking our time to make the most of our last national park together and with our hippy van. Reluctantly we drove back to Calgary and gave it back to the depot, slumping our way to a hostel to spend the night in a bed, rather than our little roof tent. It was a sad moment, really. But then we had a shower& cooked some food in the kitchen and started to feel human again and it didn’t seem so bad anymore. You don’t realise how much you miss the little things…until you get them back again…
We hung around Calgary for a couple days to recover before taking an overnight greyhound bus to Vancouver – where Taylor said goodbye and left me on my tod to continue the rest of my adventure, solo.
I spent the time in Vancouver getting my fitness levels back up to speed, eating good sushi, exploring little islands by boat and playing ball on the beach. Soon it was time for me to return to the US, so I booked my bus to Seattle to go and meet an old buddy from my first year at uni in Edinburgh. Brandon was in my Swedish class for a semester during my first three months at uni, and he welcomed me into his life – taking me to see cool breweries, playing beer pong in his living room with his flat mates and finally watching the sun set behind the Seattle skyline whilst drinking a beer on his balcony. .. the good life. And what a contrast compared the last few weeks I’d had.
Really though, it’s hard to believe the sheer diversity than can exist in just one country. America is a massively varied place – in terms of scenery, people, culture, ideologies, food. The list goes on. It really has a little taste of everything whether you want mountains, beaches, glacier lakes, natural history or even some cheap late night Taco Bell!
I was loving America so far, and really it was still only the beginning.
Keep following along for the rest of my adventures in the USA where I start paying visits to some more old friends, trying new things & connecting with family I didn’t even realise I had.
Stay tuned x