Snowmobiling in West Yellowstone
People who vacation in the winter generally don't go to a cold spot, Denise Holland of Forest City said.
But that's exactly what she, husband Steve and their daughter, Haley Holland, did earlier this month.
The trio spent five days in West Yellowstone, Montana, a town about the size of Forest City, and also visited the snow and ice-covered Yellowstone National Park.
In below freezing temperatures, the Hollands were outfitted with warm attire for the travels throughout the city on individual snowmobiles.
While in town, snowmobiles were used for all travels — shopping, restaurants and sightseeing.
"Pretty much everything is closed down for the winter months, McDonald's, Subway, all closed down. No one is there," Steve said.
This was the family's second trip to Yellowstone in the winter, but Haley's first opportunity to drive her own snowmobile. A person has to be 16 years old to drive alone and, being able to drive her own snowmobile was a highlight for Haley, she said.
"I am not a cold weather person," Denise said. "But loved every minute of it. There was many breathtaking moments I experienced and seeing the beauty God created, that overshadowed the cold. I will always remember the adventure, the scenery but most important the memories that we made together as a family is what I will cherish the most."
"I'd go back in a heartbeat," Steve said. "It is just one of those unique trips. To have a snowmobile with you the whole time, you could ride everywhere and it was so convenient.
"It is absolutely beautiful. Seeing the scenery, the wildlife was amazing."
With the vacation package the family purchased, Steve said they were outfitted with jump suits, boots, gloves as well as heated seats and handle bars on the snowmobile.
"Heated seats are my best friend," said Steve.
The day the Hollands went to Yellowstone National Park, they rode 100 miles on their snowmobiles, guided along by Park Rangers.
"It offered something totally different like going up 2,000-foot elevation on groomed trails," Denise said of the Two Top Mountains. "And on a clear day you can view the Teton Mountains and be treated to an incredible panorama of the entire region.
"From the upper areas, the surrounding mountain ranges come into view, including Wyoming's Teton's, Idaho's Centennial Mountains, Lionhead in Montana, and Yellowstone National Park. The constant winds create ghostly ice patterns plastered on the trees at the top of this mountain that creates the famous 'snow ghosts'."
"This trip was so amazing from riding on Two Top Mountain to driving through Yellowstone National Park," Haley said. "My favorite day was when we were taking a private tour through the park to go see the Canyon. Along the way to the Canyon and back, we saw elk, buffalo, bald eagles, otters, coyote, and much more ... I know that this is something that I hope to do with my kids one day.You cannot imagine a place on Earth as magical as Yellowstone in the winter."
In the National Park, there was a warming hut about one-fourth of the way into the 100-mile trip. "You could get coffee, hot chocolate and from there, we went on to the Canyon," Steve said.
"That to me was one of the prettiest things in the Park," Steve said of the canyon. It was a beautiful place and the day we were there, it was 7 or 8 degrees," he said.
"Most people think about going somewhere warm in the winter and not be in these cold places," she said.
"I was cold, but it's the best trip I've ever taken," Steve said.