Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Travel Day 5: Cody, WY to West Yellowstone, MT

Today was ALL about Yellowstone National Park... and the trip there from Cody.

I got up this morning, stopped for a bite at a local coffee shop - Rocky Mountain MoJoe.  It was pretty darn good, all the way around.  Worth stopping by if you're ever in the neighborhood.  After breakfast, I topped off the tank and cleaned the mud off the headlights and windshield (it had gotten pretty bad after the Pony Express & Oregon trails).  I hit the road once more.

Leaving Cody...

I had 50 miles to cover between Cody and the Yellowstone entrance.  Once I left the Cody city limits, I was driving into the Buffalo Bill State Park. It was here where I drove through a series of tunnels through the mountain (one of which was 3/4 mile long), to be greeted by the Buffalo Bill Dam on the other side.

I arrived into Yellowstone a short while later.  I had made the decision to purchase one of the all-parks, all-the-time passes before making this trip.  So I'd gotten that squared away with the park ranger and made my way into the park.

I didn't make it all the way around the park - I didn't figure that I would.  In previous visits, we mostly had time to drive through the park, and get out and look at a few items of interest.  This trip, I have hiked within the park far more than ever before.  I had a grizzly bear sighting on the South Loop trail which is somewhere between Canyon and Tower Falls.  Fortunately, I spotted it from a distance and we both continued to do what we were doing.  It was a pretty cool experience.

I came in at the 'East Entrance' on the map, and stopped for the evening in West Yellowstone (West Entrance).

Just a small smattering of photos that I remembered to take with my phone...

And to my recollection, we've never had to endure this much snow in the Midwest all at once...

I ran out of daylight before I ran out of things to do and see... and I wanted to make it into West Yellowstone so I could call The Boy before he went to bed.  Driving out of the park after dusk was a whole new adventure in itself... most of us encounter deer on the road.  How about trying to dodge and avoid Bison?!  Needless to say, the trip out took a little while longer than I had hoped... not that I was in a huge hurry.

I got into West Yellowstone, called Aaron, and found a place to park and sleep for the night.  I would complete the park loop tomorrow - trying to be a little more selective with the frequency that I stop - and then head into the Grand Teton NP.

Everything after leaving Yellowstone NP will be new territory, for me.  I've yet to visit the Tetons, and I've not yet driven into Idaho...

New experiences ahead!