The Day I Bought $40 Sweatpants

Our trailer was soaked as we pulled into our campsite inside Yellowstone National Park. It was late, too. Almost 11 p.m. The entire campground was asleep and so were all the kids we had in our car.

We had stopped a few times on our drive in from Glacier National Park that day, to snack and see sights and do laundry – because that is a road reality.

Even though the rain had stopped by the time we parked and started to unload, the air was still making me shake even if I didn’t want to. I hadn’t planned on buying a thing in Yellowstone, but I knew then that I’d need to do something about being so cold.

I can’t say I’ve ever spent even $20 on sweatpants, let alone $40. And the sweatshirt I got to keep my top part warmer was even more. But I didn’t really care that I was a pricey, walking Yellowstone billboard throughout our stay. I wasn’t shaking. And I could put a price tag on comfort and warmth.

I wore that zip up hoodie everywhere, as we drove to see the upper and lower falls. As we hiked up to the natural bridge. As we checked out all the villages and got a look at Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon. As we gawked in amazement at the elk that snacked on the side of the road, each hauling around sets of massive, velvety antlers.

As we came up bison throughout the park, one even resting next to a tent in our campground.

The sweatshirt was money. It wasn’t yet with me as we watched Old Faithful erupt, but I wasn’t freezing in the sun.

But, it was when we walked out to hear the gurgling from the mud and paint pots, to feel the steam from the hot springs and to visually inhale the rainbow of colors inside the Grand Prismatic – which was incredible, by the way. Hiking up to it, you can actually see the colors of the pool lifting with the steam billowing off of it.

Yellowstone was cold. But I’d rather be cold and see all those things than not see them at all. Also, they have $40 sweatpants, so. The park has you covered.