Waking up in the Trek tent on the morning of day two felt like waking up in my own home. I was struck with a sense of belonging. I had missed it dearly, and I hadn’t felt so content for such a long, long time. The cherry on top was waking up with my travel and Trek soulmate. The cherry on top of that cherry was realising how my hair and Liz’s hair shared the same wacky arrangement every single time we woke up. In future Mountain Trail entries, you’ll get to see these beautiful displays of follicle fantasia.
Dismantling the tents and getting the trailer loaded was pretty straightforward. Our group made a good team and there was always someone on hand to help in some way, whether it was to fold the outer sheet of the tent or to pile on my inflatable bed to help me deflate the thing.
We had some breakfast and then we got inside the van to start our journey to Yellowstone. This drive would be shorter than yesterday’s, measuring just 280 of the miles. Another thing shorter today than yesterday was my tolerance for not having a pillow. This first world problem would be eradicated come afternoon, as we had a grocery store stop penciled in the schedule for the day.
Let us talk about seating strategies, shall we?
I’m doing it anyway.
The seating situation in the bus worked on a rotation basis, similar to how our groups worked. Now, if you’re into pro tips, listen carefully.
The BEST seat in the entire van is the front row middle seat.
Q: But…but…Dean, surely the back seat with the mini walkway is the best seat because you can stretch your legs??
A: You’re close to being right. Stretching your legs does make for a sweet seat spot. But the back seat is too far back for my liking.
Q: Why should I believe you?
A: You shouldn’t. I make up a lot of things. I didn’t actually go on Trek America.
Q: Surely the best seat in the van is the driver’s seat?
A: Shut up, Dean.
Look. Let me explain why I think this is the best seat. Although the room leggage is standard, the rest of the perks make up for this. Here’s why:
1) Close to the AUX cable – you can smash on some banging tunes if the front seat passenger falls asleep or forfeits their DJ priveleges to you because they’re awesome.
2) You have a freakin’ panoramic view of the road ahead, as well as a perfect view of the left and right sides of the van. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT. A 360 degree view?? (Actually, that sounds good. Get on it, Trek America).
3) There’s a small space in front of you (between the seats of the driver and front seat passenger) where you could put things, like, oh, I don’t know, AN IPAD WITH MRS DOUBTFIRE ON. Jeeeeeeeeeez.
4) If you ever need to address the Trekkers as a whole for some reason, like if you wanted to start a singalong to KC and the Sunshine Band’s ‘Give It Up’, then you can simply turn around and everyone’s face will be looking at you.
I needed coffee to function otherwise my Welsh accent would get thicker and more Valleys-like and then we’d have a problem. So we stopped in a gas station and got some snacks and coffee and created The Gas Station Dollar game.
This game was conceived by Liz and I. The aim was to find something weird or wonderful for one dollar and give it to the other person. Simple, right? Fun level? 1000. Liz and I kicked off the game with a packet of nuts for me and a can of Potted Meat for her. Bellissimo! Don’t know what Potted Meat is? We don’t entirely understand it either…
Drive. Drive. Drive. Walmart! After some time conversing about current affairs and having deep, intellectual conversations with Potted Meat, we pulled into Walmart. We split into our groups and were told to purchase our group meals for the next few days. Yellowstone was a two-night deal, so we’d need food to last. We’d also need alcohol!
With group A clearly being the most functional and fantastic group of them all, we immediately agreed on cooking fajitas when our time came. We zipped around the store, picked up our ingredients and then dropped them off to Devon. He then granted us some free time to browse the store and pick up whatever personal items we needed. Nearly everyone went for a cheap pillow! Trek pro tip: do the same as us – buy a pillow. It changes everything.
With a trailer full of pillows to create Wyoming’s greatest pillow fort, we drove a little more until we reached a picnic area to stop for lunch. We found a great place in Ennis that had a cute munching area and decent amount of grass for Devon to school us in a revolutionary frisbee game called Kanjam.
Kanjam played a massive role in taking our Mountain Trail trip from ordinary to extraordinary. It wasn’t just a silly frisbee game. It was our Trek life. It was the kind of game that created legendary stories of letterbox throws and epic, life-changing fribee slaps. There was plenty of honour and glory to be gained from the game, and everyone wanted a slice of that juicy pie.
It basically worked like this:
There were two short, cylindrical bins, or cans, that had a letterbox cut out of them. This ‘letterbox’ was big enough for the frisbee to fit through. The bins/cans were spaced apart with the letterbox facing inwards. The spacing depends on how adventurous you want to be, but we generally kept them the distance shown in the picture. The official rules recommend 50 feet.
Next, you needed two teams with two players. One team member stood at one end, the other member at the opposite. So you should have two people at each bin/can, but they’d be on an opposite team. Once all players are ready, the thrower will throw the frisbee to their teammate (the deflector). Each team member will complete a throw each before handing it to the other team. This rotates until 11 or 21 is reached, depending on how long you want the game to last.
There are a few ways to score. You can:
Get your teammate to slap or hit the frisbee and have the frisbee touch the bin. Redirected hit! 1 point!
Throw the frisbee and hit the bin without teammate help. Direct hit! 2 points!
Throw the frisbee and have your teammate slap the frisbee INSIDE the bin. A bucket dunk! 3 points!
Throw the frisbee inside the letterbox. Instant win!
It’s hard to describe just how addictive, competitive and exhilarating this game is. I highly recommend you buy a set and see for yourself.
Yellowstone wasn’t far off, and the plan was to head straight to Old Faithful to watch it explode some boiling joy. We powered on after lunch until we entered the wonderfully massive Yellowstone National Park. Claimed to be the first national park in the world, Yellowstone is rich in wildlife, natural beauty and features plenty of peculiar ecosystems. It’s a seriously stunning place and a nature-lover’s dream. As you make your way across the park, it’s not unusual to be driving along a road only to be held up by wildlife crossing and tourists getting out of their vehicles to take a picture.
Old Faithful is a geyser inside Yellowstone National Park. Although it isn’t the largest geyser in the park (thanks, Steamboat Geyser), it is still incredibly popular due to its frequent and highly predictable eruptions. You can actually watch a live stream of Old Faithful and witness it erupt today!
The visitor centre has a gift shop (#standard) and some information on the history of Old Faithful (#thanksnationalparkservice) for you to consume. Around the circumference of Old Faithful is a wooden walkway that grants visitors varied views of the geyser, as well as some bubbly wonders.
A notice inside the visitor centre displays the time that Faithful is due to explode. With this in mind, we explored the walkways and I got a lovely blast of eggy sulphur in my face. When it was time for the geyser to erupt, we (along with an insane amount of people) watched and cheered and oohed as Old Faitful hit the air with thousands of gallons of boiling water.
We grabbed a group photo after the eruption and then headed to another part of the park to witness some gorgeous hot springs. The colour of the springs and the vibrant landforms that surround them is incredible. It was unlike anything I’d seen before and astonishingly beautiful to behold.
I stood thinking for a moment. I had just witnessed the breathtaking blasts of Old Faithful, and now I had became paralysed from the enchanting, natural beauty of Yellowstone’s hot springs. This, I thought, was why I keep coming to America. It has some of the most stunning scenery in the world.
I wish to witness it all.
Our final stop today was Madison Arm Campground. We’d be living here for the next two nights without proper showers, and I was okay with that because I’m disgusting. I’m not exactly sure when we reached the site, but I’m guessing it was between PBR o’clock and half past Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum o’clock.
The tents were put up in record time and food was being prepared. As beers lubed our lips, we passed the time by making internal rivals via Kanjam. Liz and I also encouraged everyone to have a shot of Captain Morgan’s because alcohol.
As mentioned previously, I fail to remember the finer details of Trek as Dean got more PBR-ed, but I’m pretty sure we headed over to another Trek America group’s camp and chatted to them before we retired for the night in pillow heaven.