Yellowstone in Winter

“Yellowstone, here we come!”

Early Wednesday morning, nine outstanding North Carolina educators will meet three Museum staff at the RDU airport heading to Yellowstone National Park! For the past few weeks, everyone has been preparing in their own way. Team members shared snippets of what’s been going on as they look forward to this snow-filled educational adventure to our first national park….

Adam testing out his winter gear and camera.

Adam testing out his winter gear and camera.

Adam writes:

Here we are just a few short days out and I feel both prepared and unprepared at the same time! I know that I am ready. I have read “American Wolf,” studied my topic for discussion, watched documentaries about Yellowstone, watched YouTube videos on winter wildlife photography, read multiple articles about layering to stay warm and bought all the appropriate gear! Yet here I am doing a dry run on packing my bag and trying on clothes in our few 30-degree days thinking am I missing something — what is left to do? During a 6-mile training hike today, my wife reminded me to just relax. I have done all the prep work, I have everything I need, ‘just get ready to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience,’ that I have been blessed to be a part of!

Johlynn and her kitty reading American Wolf together.

Johlynn and her kitty reading “American Wolf” together.

Johlynn writes:

I cannot believe that in just a matter of days I will be in Yellowstone.  When I talked with my elementary students about the trip, they especially enjoyed hearing that I am going to switch roles and be the student for a week; I told them I even had homework!  Speaking of which, my cats Tabitha and Agatha have been working through our assigned reading, “American Wolf,” by Nate Blakeslee, with me. It’s been fascinating learning about the history of wolves in Yellowstone, and I am very hopeful for wolf sightings on the trip.  My Edgewood Wolfies (future Whiteville High Wolfpack) especially hope I can bring back some photos and videos of wolves.  My cats have also been good sports while I worked on another pre-trip task: familiarizing myself with my new digital camera.

Tracy's daughter helps her prepare substitute plans for her time away from school.

Tracy’s daughter helps her prepare substitute plans for her time away from school.

From Tracy:

The Best and Worst of Preparing for Yellowstone.

Best = Packing the Layers! It’s going to be COLD and snowy and I’m feeling prepared and blessed as I try on all my gear that my family and friends gifted me in 50-degree Raleigh weather.

Worst = The worst is time spent preparing sub[stitute] plans while I’m gone. It takes HOURS and HOURS of preparing 30+ lessons for while I’m out. But on the bright side, my 5th graders are super excited to track our team’s whereabouts on poster-sized maps of Yellowstone and read about our daily adventures on our blog.

Landon's very organized packing... this blog editor is impressed.

Landon’s very organized packing… this blog editor is impressed.

From Landon:

I always start my preparation for a trip with a packing list. I’ve been going over what I need & then checking twice to make sure I have it in my stack. I’ve been playing around with my smaller suitcase to see if I can squeeze everything into that! I used this trip as an excuse to buy a new carry-on duffle bag. I am SO looking forward to Yellowstone during winter! My shoe gaiters came in & were the wrong size, so I panicked and bought two new pairs. I’m hoping they both come in time & that one of them fits… Here’s hoping. 🙂

Kelly's cat is checking to make sure she's packing enough warm clothes.

Kelly’s cat is checking to make sure she’s packing enough warm clothes.

From Kelly:

How does one prepare for such an adventure? Luckily we got a list — two pages of stuff — that our intrepid leaders recommended that we pack so that we will have an amazing experience in the freezing Yellowstone landscape. I’ve found lots of stuff in my closet, borrowed other things, and thrifted a few. Luckily my cat is doing quality control on this hodgepodge of gear. I’ve been working on this for weeks, slowly adding things to the pile in my guest bedroom as I think of them, and I’ll do a final packing the night before we have to be at the airport at 4am. Until then, I’m dreaming of frosty bison, starry nights, steamy geysers and howling wolves. Oh yeah, and I’m still packing, and packing, and packing….

Getting ready!! I have my hand warmers and learned what a balaclava is … and bought 2!! Can’t wait to see everyone again at RDU at 4am. It’s an early morning I’m thrilled about!

From Angie: “Getting ready!! I have my hand warmers and learned what a balaclava is … and bought two!! Can’t wait to see everyone again at RDU at 4am. It’s an early morning I’m thrilled about!”

Sallie writes:

I’m spending the weekend figuring out just how many warm layers I can wear at once! Answer: many! The snowy and blustery weather in Western North Carolina is helping me gain some perspective on how Yellowstone might feel. Temps in the mid-30s like we have today are MUCH warmer than what we will experience during our entire time in the park. As I prepare for the coldest temperatures and wind chills I’ve ever experienced, I am getting excited for the snow and wildlife, and seeing how the landscape changes from dawn to dark!

We hope you will follow our adventure over the next week as we explore the magic of Yellowstone in Winter. We’ll post a blog each night of our trip, so check back often!



  • Tonya Dobson

    5 months ago

    Hope y’all arrived safely! Can’t wait to hear the adventures, stay warm, be safe, and enjoy every moment, you deserve it!

  • Ann

    5 months ago

    What a great opportunity! Thanks for sharing your adventure.

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