A Travellerspoint blog

Leaving Yellowstone and Visiting Cody, Wyoming

Friday, June 20, 2008

sunny 24 °C

I wake up early and we are packed up and ready to leave the Fishing Bridge RV Park in Yellowstone by 8:30am!

We drive down the road a few miles and see a bear jam....I'm excited. This is the area where there is a mama grizzly and 2 yearling cubs. We park the rig and watch the 3 grizzlies for about 15 minutes before they disappear into the woods.

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Then we drive through some incredible scenery to Wapiti, Wyoming (Yellowstone Inn and RV Park). As we drive through Sylvan Pass, the road is blocked by several big horn sheep. One big guy refuses to move out of our lane and we finally end up driving around him.

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Just before leaving Yellowstone we come to a "moose jam": there are 4 moose in a creek beside the road. No parking for our large rig so no goods pics, but still fun to see so many moose.

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The scenery continues to be great; the road between Yellowstone and Cody is supposed to be one of the most scenic highways in the country. I'm not sure if that's true, but it definately is scenic and we enjoy it til we are stopped in traffic due to a highway accident. (We find out later that it was a head on collision between a motorcyle and truck). It's a nasty one and we see there is someone laying beside the road, covered, and obviously not alive. I'm not sure why he is still there; I'm assuming they used the ambulance for the other crash victims. Very sobering/upsetting knowing that there is a family out there who is going to get "the phonecall" that you never ever want to receive from the police. I say lots and lots of prayers throughout the rest of the day.

So we silently make the rest of the drive to Wapiti, Wyoming. The campgrounds in Cody, Wyoming are full for the weekend. There's an indian pow wow in town this weekend. Wapiti is about 16 miles west of Cody. We set up, have lunch and head to Cody. On the way we stop at the Buffalo Bill Dam/Reservoir Visitor Center for a quick look.

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We spend the rest of the afternoon at the Buffalo Bill Cody Historical Center, where they have 5 museums in one: Buffalo Bill Museum, Whitney Museum of Western Art, Natural History Museum, Plains Indian Museum, and the Winchester Firearms Museum. (I go the coffee shop while Jere and Joe go through the gun museum--looking at 3000 guns is just not "fun" to me.)

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We return to the campground for dinner and I spend the rest of the evening trying to upload some of my travel blog. We did not have TV or internet or cell phone coverage for the 10 days in Yellowstone's Fishing Bridge RV Park.

Posted by jengelman 10:09 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Our Last Day at Yellowstone National Park

Thursday, June 19, 2008

semi-overcast 15 °C

Our last day at Yellowstone. We have had such great weather the last few days; we are going to miss the cold mornings and pleasant afternoons, but we’ve seen the entire park so time to move on tomorrow.

We have a good breakfast and then head off to “hike” Uncle Tom’s trail. On the drive to the trail we stop at Hayden Valley to watch a grizzly and her cub.

Uncle Tom's trail has been closed due to ice/snow, but was opened up yesterday. The trail is not much of a trail—it’s 328 stairs down to the bottom of the Lower Yellowstone Falls.

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Views from the trail:
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We then visit the brink of the Upper Falls, have a picnic lunch and then hike the North Rim Trail to the brink of the Lower Falls. (The North Rim Trail is closed beyond this point due to construction).

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On the North Rim Trail, we pass a huge waterfall that also will eventually drain into the Yellowstone River:
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We stop for ice cream (Buffalo Chip) and then head back to the campground.

Joe and I go in the woods behind our trailer and he builds a “pirate ship” with logs that are laying in the area. Kindof like playing with really large “Lincoln logs”.

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We bike down to the Fishing Bridge before dinner for one last look at the Yellowstone River.

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After dinner we start packing up so we can leave by 9am tomorrow. Jere and I go for a short ride to see if we can spot the grizzly and two cubs that we’ve heard are often seen up the road. No luck seeing bears, but pretty sunset to finish out our day.

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Posted by jengelman 10:07 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Relaxing around Fishing Bridge, Yellowstone

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

sunny 16 °C

We had such a long day yesterday, we decide to simply hang around the Fishing Bridge area. We spend much of the day catching up on chores, but after lunch we take a hike around Indian Pond to Storm Point. It’s a nice walk, but nothing special. We see several marmots along the shore and a buffalo near the trail.

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After dinner we all have some “me” time. I spend my time walking down to the Fishing Bridge and watching the pelicans, a beaver and an osprey. Jere spends his time on the computer and Joe watches a Pirates of the Caribbean DVD. It’s nice to spend time with family, but I enjoy the time by myself, listening to my favorite songs on my mp3 player and watching the wildlife.

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Jere and I attend the ranger campfire program on grizzly bears, and call it a day.

Posted by jengelman 10:06 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

More Yellowstone Geysers, Pools and Waterfalls

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

sunny 16 °C

A full day of touring Yellowstone today. We start off with stopping at the West Thumb Geyser Basin and walking the boardwalk. The hot springs are interesting to watch, but the two busloads of international students are the highlight of the stop: Jere and I hope that U.S. students act more respectful when touring Europe than this group of students. They are loud (one group is screaming out the French national anthem) and clowning around near the hotsprings. I can see how people fall into the hot springs and get burned after observing this group’s behavior. There are large numbers of international visitors at Yellowstone, especially at the popular areas of the park; this rowdy group of students is NOT typical of the international visitors—most are very friendly and very respectful of their fellow tourists.

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Our next stop is at the Grant Visitor Center where they have an exhibit and a film about the 1988 wildfires that burned millions of acres of the park. It’s a very one-sided exhibit by the park, and all the exhibits and the film focus on the unavoidability of the fires and how the fires have helped the park. Interesting museum, but very “pro national park service”.

We drive up near the Old Faithful area to take a 7-mile hike. Long hike, but some wonderful things to see, including seeing the colorful steam coming off the Grand Prismatic Pool

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and a great overhead view of the Grand Prismatic Pool:

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We take a long break to cool off at Fairy Falls.

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And then walk a little farther to view a very pretty geyser that spouts off for 3-4 minutes every 30 seconds, Imperial Geyser.

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On the hike back we encounter a large bison near the path and take a detour to keep the required 25 feet away from it.

We are exhausted after the hike and drive down to the Old Faithful Lodge for Bison Meatloaf for dinner, before driving back to the campground. On our way back we drive around another geyser area where I get a cool picture of the sky reflecting in the Fountain Geyser.

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And we see a large herd of buffalo in the road, so we stop and watch them for awhile. There are some newborn calves in the herd, and several of the bulls are fighting/playing with each other. They have no fears of our large truck and walk right next to it.

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Posted by jengelman 10:05 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Lamar Valley and Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone Natl Park

Monday, June 16, 2008

sunny 16 °C

Another beautiful morning here at Yellowstone, so we head up to Mammoth Hot Springs at the northern end of the park. It’s a long drive and we end up making several stops to enjoy the wildlife (including wolves, elk, buffalo, pronghorn and big horn sheep),

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stop for a picnic lunch and also decide to make a side trip to the northeast entrance/Lamar Valley. We’re glad we do; the Lamar Valley is a beautiful part of the park and many of the buffalo herds are still in their Lamar Valley winter home.

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We stop at the Mammoth Springs Visitor Center, have a second picnic lunch outside the museum, and then head over to hike around the hot springs. I am initially very disappointed: much of the large structure is dry and pretty dismal looking, but we eventually find areas where the hot springs are running and see some pretty scenery.

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It’s getting late in the day, so we decide to drive into Gardiner for dinner. We had stopped here on the way home from Bozeman Montana and had some really good buffalo burgers, so we head back there. They do not disappoint: these buffalo burgers are just as good as our first. I highly recommend this little drive-in: Helen’s Hamburgers Corral Drive-in. Doesn’t look like much, but incredible burgers.

We make the long drive back to the campground, with frequent stops, including a stop to see another black-colored grey wolf.

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Our last stop is at the Norris Geyser Basin, for a quick stroll around the basin. This is probably our least favorite geyser area; not much geyser activity and the pools are not as picturesque as other areas of the park.

Posted by jengelman 10:02 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

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