Saturday, June 23, 2012

Colorful Yellowstone Revisited

After dragging my tired arse and mangled toe out of Dayton, WY I set a course for Yellowstone National Park. This required me to first drive over the beautiful Bighorn Wilderness and then across a wide valley to Cody, WY near the eastern gate of the park. I camped in Buffalo Bill State Park nine miles west of Cody and forty miles east of Yellowstone's east gate.

After going down under a magnificent cluster of Milky Way stars I was awakened by a devilish wind that lifted and tossed the tent. While closing the fly I'd left open to welcome in a soft breeze, the gale thrust a bucket full of dirt down my throat, up my nostrils, and into the cores of my eyeballs. For those interested in such things, WY dirt does not taste good. And chewing on it for hours is not on my list of fun things to do.

 If you are American and you haven't been to Yellowstone, then get your own sorry arse out there to see it. Make it happen and you will be forever glad you made the effort.

I spent two days in Yellowstone, traveling in a figure eight around the park's road system and visiting most of the "hot spots" while using a campsite in Bridge Bay campground as a home base. As was the case in the Badlands and at Buffalo Bill's, the wind played a key role in this visit. Cold temperatures that ranged from the 20s to the 60s combined with 20-30+ mph winds to create an almost constant chilling nuisance. The uniquely mind numbing beauty of Yellowstone easily overcame all of the discomforts.

There is a story I can relate. Just before reaching my campsite one evening the rented RV (RV1) in front of me came to a stop. A lady jumped out of the passenger side and started knocking on the side door of another rented RV (RV2). Apparently, RV1 had been assigned the very campsite that RV2 occupied. After a few seconds a man walked from the front of RV1 and also started knocking on the door of RV2. Meanwhile, RV1 started to drive away. Wait a minute! It crashed into the side of RV2 and ground to a halt as the knocking man, who apparently had been in the driver's seat, ran around RV2 with his hands to the sides of his head just in time to see his rig smash the side windows out of RV1. Mayhem! Luckily, no one was in RV2. I soon learned that the driver of RV1 was French and the renter of RV2 was a Spaniard. Luckily, they both spoke English, because neither one of them spoke the other's language. And that, folks, is why we have insurance!

My big adventure on the still aching toe was a "climb" up Mt. Washburn. This 6.4-mile jog/hike was a glorified easy hike, really, since it only ascended from 8800 ft to 10,243 ft over three miles. The views from the summit tower made the jaunt worthwhile.

Enjoy some of the photos from those two days.
Seen in the Bighorn. 
Feeling lost or a bit out of place . . . or just plain cool?

Fashionably late, but still mind blowing.
Up from a nap.
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone . . .
Snowbound trailhead sign.
Several long snowfields along the road.
The Mt. Washburn tower. Super windy!
Traffic jam maker.
Isolated beauty.
Up next is a photo post from Grand Teton National Park.

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