Pack Less. Play More.
#WoolxinAction Dispatches from the road: Yellowstone
Lifelong outdoor enthusiast & friend of Woolx Donald Yull shares his experiences wearing his favorite Merino Wool gear on the cold weather trip of a lifetime: A deep winter adventure through National Parks in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming. All culminating in a late February backcountry snowmobiling trip through Yellowstone Park.
Woolx : You mentioned that a trip like this had been on your “bucket List” for a long time. What sparked your interest in visiting Yellowstone in winter, what about this particular adventure appealed to you?
Donald: I wanted to see the wildlife in nature without all of the summer tourists. The idea of traveling through Yellowstone on a snowmobile in a small group of people, with a knowledgeable guide intrigued me.
Woolx: Yellowstone is known for its abundant wildlife. Were you able to get up close and personal with any animals?
Donald: Yes, I was able to see eagles, one chasing after a duck, a bobcat and many bighorn sheep. Bison were everywhere. I actually got to see some Bison up close and really personal as they ran alongside my snowmobile. I was able to see moose, mountain goats, red fox, trumpeter swans and mule deer in other areas on my trip.
Woolx: There were upwards of 800,000 thousand visitors to Yellowstone last July, in peak season 25,000 people a day come to see old faithful. While normal visitor rates for February are only about 30,000 for the whole month. The cold weather must deter quite a few people. Were the lack of crowds a major draw for you planning a trip this time of year?
Donald: Yes, after visiting other national parks during the summer I realized winter would be ideal for this trip. The first day on snowmobiles we traveled for hours without seeing any other humans, often viewing wildlife in an undisturbed natural setting.
Woolx: What kind of temps and weather conditions did you experience out there, and (shameless plug) what Woolx items did you pack?
Donald: The low temperature was -16 degrees, with a high of 44 degrees while in Yellowstone, and the wind-chill factor on snowmobiles drove the numbers even lower. I packed mid and heavyweight Woolx tops and bottoms, saving the heavyweight bottoms for the snowmobile ride. The Woolx Neck Warmer is always in my cold weather travel bag. Since being introduced to Woolx, I have left my ECW (Extreme Cold Weather) polypropylene at home. The Woolx that I use while skiing, hunting and enjoying outdoor activities seems like a second skin compared to the bulky ECW that I had relied on for years. I felt comfortable in my Woolx while other people were using hand and foot warmers and huddling around the stoves in the warming huts every chance they had. The Woolx products are cut generously long and wash and dry with ease, keeping their shape.
Woolx: I know you’re an experienced snowmobiler, and you said the first day out you travelled about 100 miles. Would you recommend this trip to someone new to snowmobiling or does it require a bit more expertise?
Donald: Some of the people in the group were relatively new on a snowmobile, but they caught on fast and fit in well with the group.
Woolx: You bracketed your Yellowstone adventure with a few side trips, Zion and Grand Teton National Parks. You also stopped in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, as well as Sundance and Park city in Utah. What were some of the highlights of these spots?
Donald: The Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole where the elk come down to escape the harsh winter in the high country was fun. I rode in a horse driven sleigh through the elk wintering grounds. Seeing Bryce and Zion both at sunset and sunrise was breathtaking. Pictures of these parks cannot duplicate the excitement of seeing these natural wonders in person. The sunshine on the rocks and the snow was brilliant.
Woolx: Did the trip live up to your expectations?
Donald: Yes and then some! The only shortcoming was not viewing the elusive wolf in the wild.
Woolx: Is there anything you wish you had done differently? Any advice you would give other people planning a similar trip?
Donald: Two weeks wasn’t long enough. Given more time, I would have visited Arches National Park, Canyons National Park and Death Valley. I would have liked to have skied in some of the best locations in Utah.
Woolx: What’s next on the bucket list? Any future plans?
Donald: Denali has always intrigued me. Picking the right month to go is always the challenge.
Woolx: Thanks for sharing your experience with us! We look forward to hearing about your next adventure!
Donald Yull is a resident of Geneseo, NY where he spends his time hunting, skiing, snowmobiling, playing polo, and enjoying a variety of other outdoor pursuits in beautiful Upstate NY!