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.
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.