Daily Archives: July 28, 2013

GART Day 19: Yellowstone Day 2

Andy made steak and eggs and beans in a cast-iron skillet over the morning fire. Cowboy breakfast extraordinaire. It was a fine way to start the day and an even better way to fend off the post whiskey morning cobwebs.

We headed out to West Thumb Geyser Basin along Yellowstone Lake to see the geyser basin. It was a great way to whet our appetite for the myriad of thermals to come. A highlight was seeing the skeletal remains of a baby elk that had died at the edge of a pool only 2 months ago and how only two months in acidic and boiling water had stripped the bones clean.
Next we drove past Old Faithful (we’d return there later) towards Norris, about 1 hour away to see the Norris Geyser Basin and the Steamboat Geyser. On the way we saw 2 wolves out in a field at a great distance but we stayed and watched them for awhile. Norris Basin was great but it was hot. To cool off we drove back a few miles to a picnic area along the river and made some sandwiches. The kids waded in the river. From there we went to the Artist Paintpots and Gibbon Falls. From there we drove all the way back to Old Faithful where Andy, Pam and kids would be spending the night. We had reservations to eat at the Old Faithful Inn. So we changed clothes and went and had a nice meal.
After dinner we all went and saw Old Faithful at sunset and then took a twilight walk around the myriad of geysers, springs and other thermals near the lodge. As darkness encroached we said our goodbyes and drove the 40 minutes or so back to our campsite, narrowly missing two rabbits and a deer during our drive.










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GART Day 18: Buffalo Bill and Yellowstone Day 1

We filled the trailer with water because we knew the campsite we’d have in Yellowstone for the next two days would have no services. It added another 750lbs to the trailer and we knew we’d have a 2500 foot elevation gain into Yellowstone from Cody.

Before heading to Yellowstone we took a side trip to the very well done Buffalo Bill Cody Center, which is 5 museums, one for Buffalo Bill, the Firearm Museum (largest collection of American firearms in the world, a natural history museum focused on Yellowstone, a Native American Plains Indian Museum, a Museum of Western Art. We toured three of them; the Firearms Museum (which I could understand how it might be interesting if you were interested in firearms, as there were several thousands of them, but I personally couldn’t muster any interest, nor could Tawny or Clara. So after ten minutes or so we left and headed to the Buffalo Bill Museum.

The Buffalo Bill Museum was pretty interesting. I didn’t know the history of Buffalo Bill at all. Knew nothing. But it was really interesting to learn about how one person single handedly helped to shape the enduring image of the American West and the Cowboy. Buffalo Bill has a fascinating personal story, as well as legend and enigma. Rather than detail it here you can read about Buffalo Bill on Wikipedia. 20130728-213629.jpg







As we checked out the natural history museum – which focused on Yellowstone – we realized we’d rather see the real thing, so we left and headed to the park…
On the way to Yellowstone I got the first speeding ticket I’ve received in over 20 years. We were going from a 65 zone to a 50 zone and I wasn’t even going 65 (because our trailer was so weighted down). I wasn’t paying attention and got caught going in the low sixties in the fifty zone – speed trap. The annoying thing was I wasn’t intentionally speeding. We weren’t in a hurry and we had nobody behind us pressuring us on. I was just enjoying the view and the drive. I chalked it up to an “entrance fee” for Yellowstone.

We came in from the East Entrance and continued on into the park and Yellowstone Lake. We headed to the Bridge Bay campground and checked in. Our friends Andy, Pam, their derby daughter Zoetrope and her friend Nico would be joining us but hadn’t yet arrived. We went and set up camp, putting on the big r-dome on our r-pod trailer and getting out the picnic table, chairs, etc., to cozy the place up. We had a very cute little meadow vole living in a hole right next to our fire-pit and we watched him work on redecorating his hole entryway. Very cute.

Just as we were pulling out to do a little touring we saw Andy, Pam and family. We directed them to our site (they were car camping with tents) and told them we’d be back in about 2 hours for happy hour. We headed out to Mud Volcano and Sulphur Cauldron. As we approached Mud Volcano we saw some Bison by the road. We pulled over, took a few shots and moved on parking at Mud Volcano. One Bison was working his way through the parking lot and along the road very close to us. We saw our first thermals, bacteria mats, the Dragon’s Tongue, Mud Volcano, etc and headed up the plank trail to see more. As we headed up the hill there was another bison laying just below the platform. But just over the crest of the hill was a heard of buffalo with babies and they were standing on the trail. There were people stuck on the opposite side of the trail and this trail was open plank with no railings on the side. A group of people – idiots – started approaching the buffalo from the other side and it cause the buffalo to turn away from them and start moving towards us. We, and about 30 other people quick turned tail and hustled our way out of there.






That close encounter made us leave Mud Volcano and go across the street to Sulphur Cauldron where we could see a herd of buffalo with babies across the river. It was beautiful and we stayed there some time watching before returning to our campsite to fix dinner and hang out by the fire with Andy, Pam, Zoetrope and Nico. The kids ran amok in the fields and wore themselves out while we had a fine dinner, and roasted marshmallows by the fire.







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GART Day 17: Part II – Cody, Wyoming

Day 17 Continued…After Devil’s Tower we drove on to Cody, Wyoming. We had to go to Cody so Cody could get a picture of himself in front of the sign saying Welcome to Cody. Conveniently, it was also the cross-roads to the Eastern Gate of Yellowstone park.

The drive made for a very long day but with such an inspiring side trip as Devils Tower it didn’t seem as long. We drove I90 from Devils Tower to Sheridan, but made a quick stop in Buffalo to visit the famous and historic Occidental Hotel (where several notorious guests have stayed and drank, such as Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, Calamity Jane, and others from the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang. We perused the historic town and its great old signage and bought some malted milkshakes at the old fashions soda fountain (The Busy Bee) next door.





From Sheridan we started up highway 14. It was a steep climb quickly rising over 3000 feet in elevation gain to over 8000 feet. From here the view back across Wyoming plains left us in awe. It certainly made up for the very boring drive on I90 for two hours. Once we reached the summit it was several hours of downhill driving to Cody through Greybull. We headed through the Big Horn National Forest and came out at a jaw dropping canyon on the other side.



As we headed further west across scrub and desert high plain towards Cody we passed a sign that said “FOAL – Friends of a Legacy”. Tawny looked up the acronym and we saw that it was a wild horse reserve. We looked for horses and saw some as we got closer to Cody. They were off in the distance but you could see them running wild and fighting each other as we passed by.



A storm was brewing on the horizon. Dark clouds and lightning could be seen in the hills west of Cody. We were able to pull over at the welcome sign and get a few shots before the rains came. As we pulled into our campground (right on the highway unfortunately) it started to pour rain. Tawny and I were drenched as we tried to unhook the trailer. We left the trailer, and wet we drove into town to find someplace to eat. We ended up at the Cody Rib and Chop House and had a very good meal and some local beer before running some errands and returning to our campground. We planned on going to the Buffalo Bill Cody Museum the following morning.





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