Saturday, August 16, 2014

Out West 2014: Through Wyoming to Yellowstone

Long drive. Loooooooooooong drive. Longdrivelongdrivelongdrivelongdrivelongdrive!

Short drive?


Actually, the kids handled the drive really well. Will has a Nook, and we brought the ipadalong as Syd's e-reader, no playing apps allowed (or they'd fight over it and she'd never get to use it as an e-reader). Our public library is a member of a digital library that includes all the ebooks and audiobooks that you'd ever want, and all you need is wi-fi to return them and check out new ones.

I've also got a Nook, but for most of this drive I was engrossed in Robert Galbraith's The Silkworm. I love myself a good, hard-boiled detective novel, and when I read Galbraith, there's the extra fun of anticipating that maybe, just maybe at some point in the book a certain bushy-haired chick, or black-haired dude with a lightening bolt-shaped scar, might pass Cormoran on the street. It hasn't happened yet, but don't you think that it should?

The drive also included some lovely places to stop and stretch our legs a bit, such as one dirt road that we found that led to the most beautiful pasture, and the coldest mountain stream we've ever dipped our toes into--

Check out these freakin' wildflowers!!! Holy hell, Wyoming!!! Indiana wildflowers are like... black-eyed-Susan. Daylily. Wyoming wildflowers are like those bouquets that we buy in grocery stores in Indiana to give people on their birthdays.
 --and this pull-out at the summit of a mountain, where we watched the storm rolling in that later, desperately in search of another pull-out on our way down the mountain, since the brakes were acting a little loose and also we could smell them, I was pretty sure that we'd also die in:

Yellowstone was a blessing to attain, finally. We saw the bison that the kids had been DYING to see--

We saw lots of bison in Yellowstone, but only the solitary dudes, never the herds of females.
 --and hiked around one of the larger geothermal areas that I'd been looking forward the most to seeing:

The highlight, however, was something that I had told the kids over and over not to anticipate, because we more than likely wouldn't see it.

But see it we did, and our first day out, too!

Yep, we saw a bear. My Yellowstone rule is that when you see cars pulled over looking at something, you, too, must pull over and see what it is they're looking at. This rule gradually relaxes the longer that you stay in the park--if you've seen a couple of bison up close, you no longer pull over when you see more bison, and the same with elk, and mule deer, etc. But if you can't tell right away what people are pulled over to look at, you always pull over, too, and check it out, and that's how we ended up at this totally chaotic pull-out, in the pouring rain, with dozens of other tourists and one harassed ranger trying to keep them from actively becoming bear bait, watching this bear eat on a moose carcass, get a drink from the stream, walk around a bit, and then slowly amble away.

We never actually saw any wolves, although we did see wolf-spotters with their high-powered scopes hanging out at a couple of pull-outs, so I'm sure they were around. Tangentially, one of Will's favorite computer games is Wolf Quest, which takes place in Yellowstone.

We could only stay in the park for a few hours that afternoon before we had to head out for the night and drive into Montana to our hotel reservation, but even leaving the park at sunset, just on the backside of that big rainstorm, turned out to be a stunning event:

All that, and we still had three more days to enjoy Yellowstone!


Tina said...

I needed some awesome nature right about now. As always, thanks for sharing your travels!

julie said...

Do you have those insane wildflowers out in Montana?

Tina said...

Not that I have noticed, but then again, whenever we head out of the city, we are usually in search of trees, not more prairie/open expanses.

With the winter storm warning we have for the next few days, we probably won't be able to search for wildflowers until next year.


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