We took a trip up to the first National Park – Yellowstone, over Labor Day weekend. The drive from Denver to Cody, Wyoming where we stayed is ~450 miles. The trip north on I-25 is rather boring. Typical small Wyoming towns every 50 miles or so, with the ugly ass city of Casper on I-25 where you turn left towards Cody. Once you take the left turn on state highway 20/26 the scenery begins to change for the better. A two lane highway travels through some beautiful canyon lands surrounded by mountains and rugged outcroppings. Deer, rabbit and ravens are plentiful on this route. Use caution when driving after dark as deer and rabbit have a tendency to play suicidal games with oncoming traffic.
We made it to the cabin on the outskirts of Cody sometime around midnight. The cabin was located on Applejack Ranch, and run by a really welcoming and nice family. When I awoke the next morning and stepped out to enjoy my first cup, I was greeted by a one dog welcoming committee named Rooster. He bounded down the dirt lane, tongue hanging out, sporting a huge grin as if saying, “oh boy, lets play!”
We entered Yellowstone on the first day from the east entrance and then headed up through the northern section of the park. First stop was a boiling cauldron of sulfur and minerals oozing up through the ground. The earth’s crust is typically ~40 miles thick, but in Yellowstone it averages ~6 miles. We saw many buffalo, deer, ravens and geese. On the way back out we saw two wolves frolicking on the river bank about 2 miles away.
On the second day we stayed out of the park and in the stead drove up Chief Joseph highway towards Montana. Then onto the Beartooth road over the pass to Red Lodge, Montana. Beautiful! Mountain lakes, windy roads, sheer cliffs and high winds make for a spectacular drive and hike.
The third day it was back to Yellowstone for a tour of the southern section, plus a session at Old Faithful. Great scenery will blast your senses the entire trip. Old Faithful is very cool. When it finished a granny next to me said, “is that all?” I laughed. Not sure what she was expecting? Maybe a fly-over by the Blue Angels and some shitty country singer belting out ‘god bless America’?
We then exited via the southern egress point into Tetons National Forrest. Well worth the extra time back to Colorado. Yellowstone is a perfect example of what we as a nation can achieve if we set aside public lands for everyone’s enjoyment and keep the greed-heads, miners and corporations out. Go there and get lost.
More photos at FLICKR.