Yellowstone earns its reputation

Trip Start Jul 02, 2010
Trip End Jul 16, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Wyoming
Wednesday, July 7, 2010

We awoke this morning to the pattering ting-ting-ting of sleet bouncing off the roof of the caRV. We resisted the urge to tuck our heads back into our sleeping bags and stepped outside to a light dusting of snow and sleet on the ground. It wasn't long before the sleet changed back into snow and we broke camp with light showers and flurries coming down. We were on the road quickly and descending the western ridges of the Bighorns early in the morning.

The valley in between the Bighorns and the mountains of Yellowstone lay before us as we drove on US-14 towards Cody, Wyoming. The Bighorns were impressive with their stark rocky crags and river canyons that rose steeply into the sky. We were quickly off the slopes and stopped at a little store in a town called Greybull that served as the bar, restaurant, liquor store, coffee-shop, gift shop, and grocery store for the town. Locals sat around checkered cloth tables and drank coffee and talked with a familiarity of people that live, work, and play together daily. A store clerk arranging tourist baubles on a shelf stopped and turned to an elderly man walking out the door. "Good-bye Walt. We’ll see you in the morning" She said with an assurance that the claim had been made many times before. “Yep, seeya then” Walt said.

After bulleting down the wide high-speed highway 14 we entered Cody, Wyoming for a stop at the Sierra Trading Post for some supplies and a little shopping. Hannah got a new orange sleeping bag and I got some gloves, a nose/neck warmer, and long john pajama pants. After the snowfall that morning we wanted to be extra prepared for camp that night. The town of Cody is the self proclaimed “Rodeo Capital of the World” and was founded by Buffalo Bill Cody as a mountain retreat. His image and signs of the rodeo lifestyle could be found everywhere.

We ascended into the Shoshone National Forest on our way to Yellowstone after passing by the large Cody Reservoir. The Shoshone was the perfect prelude to Yellowstone and had a striking beauty all its own. Our road followed a wide rapid filled river surrounded by outcroppings of stone sculptures and the remnants of burnt trees that were destroyed by a forest fire two years ago.

We arrived at the east gate entrance and headed into the Yellowstone National Park around 1 PM. As we got further into the park we could see the snow-capped peaks of Yellowstone and across the Yellowstone Lake the large icy peaks of the Grand Tetons. At the visitors center we bought a self-guided audio tour of the park and decided to do about half of the Yellowstone Grand Loop called the Circle of Fire. After a quick snack we began our journey.

Yellowstone was just as advertised and our expectations were not only met, but exceeded our ideas of what it would be like. We saw geysers, hot springs, fumaroles, elk, bison, a black bear, and hoards of tourists that created instant traffic jams the moment wildlife was viewed out the window with little regard for life or limb as they darted in front of moving cars. But even the few inconveniences could not overcome the awesome power of the place.

We visited some of the highlights of the park including Artist’s Point, Mud Volcano, and Old Faithful where we waited around for about 30 or 40 minutes until the approximate eruption time of 6:13. It wasn’t too far after that time when small gurgles began and a few minutes later Old Faithful exploded to the cheers and clapping of the hundreds of people gathered around on the viewing benches and standing on the wide boardwalk surrounding the geyser.

We got a bite to eat at the Grant Village grill and cleaned up at the pay showers near our site. After purchasing some fire wood and getting camp set we gathered around the campfire and relaxed. The stars were out in full and we winded down the evening talking and laughing until we settled in for the night in our bear-proof caRV.
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Kevin Etheridge on

This almost makes me want to be one with nature.

If only nature had room service.

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