Sunday, June 7, 2015

Wigtons Go West Day 5


The drive from Cody, WY to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming was beautiful.
 It went from bare rock mountains to mountains covered in conifers... this.  
We learned that these special Lodgepole pines have pine cones that are naturally glued shut and need exposure to high temperatures, such as in forest fires to open and release their seeds.  These make up 80% of Yellowstone's land, so there are a lot of necessary forest fires at Yellowstone.  Yellowstone is quite a dangerous place, we found out (not first hand, we're fine).

About an hour from Cody was Yellowstone National Park.  It was breathtaking.  At every curve in the road we passed waterfalls.   Below is Yellowstone Lake.  It is the mouth of the giant active volcano that comprises most of Yellowstone.  It was hauntingly beautiful.

For those who have never been to Yellowstone, you drive super slow mainly around a ring road and stop every few miles to see something of interest on the map.  There are a few hubs where you can stop, get fuel, food and go to the bathroom.  Otherwise, you are on your own with the wild animals, active geysers, fumaroles, cauldrons and waterfalls that you drive and walk to.

We were so stinking excited about seeing everything we were going at full throttle, stopping to see everything. 

We were beside ourselves when we had our first bison sighting.  We ended up with a bison tally of 46 today and every time we couldn't believe how close we got to see one, we saw another one closer yet.   

"It's gorgest," says Phoebe, age 3 1/2

Tower Falls

This is a fox we spotted on the side of the road.  We also saw a baby black bear but didn't have a chance to take a picture as we had to help traffic keep moving.

We finally made it to Mammoth Hot Springs which is very Northwest.  Thanks to the sweet Libyan lady who offered to take our picture.  I got to return the favor by taking several shots of their family of nine with multiple cameras (JACKPOT!).

We finished the day with a five minute trip to Montana for dinner.  
We ate at a cowboy place and it was really good.  I haven't mentioned how much BBQ pulled pork and beef I've eaten on this trip, but wow.  I think we've all had enough to last a lifetime.  

Outside our hotel were tons of elk just laying around.  At first we thought they were mule deer, but no. They are elk for sure.  We couldn't have counted the elk, they really were everywhere at Hot Springs.

This tree was outside our cabin's window and at one point Phoebe and I were going out the back door to the car and there was an elk eating the leaves off of it!  We waited until she left (they were all soon to be mommas outside our hotel), then snuck out.  It was so neat!

Summary for Global Thinkers Pained by Excessive Detail:
Hours logged on the road thus far: 35.5
Miles so far: 1870 
States we were in "today": WY and MT
Running total of states: 8
Sanity Status: More alive than ever!  What an awe inspiring place!!!  
Mood: The kids hit rock bottom today.  I think they are overtired.  We were all smitten with Yellowstone though.
Major Incidents: 0 (praise God, no one was mauled by a bison!)
Brief summary of the day: AMAZING in every way and we are not easy to impress!!!  We would come back happily when the kids are old enough to not need carried on the long walks.  I would recommend staying on the park premises for sake of ease and next time we will know to bring or buy sandwiches for lunch as it would have been nice to just stop in between hubs to eat when we were hungry rather than have to get to one for food.  

Funny kid quote: "EVERYBODY BE QUIET!!!" shouted Juni as we passed Avalanche Peak.  

I have lots of notes and pictures that I have kept over the past week, stay tuned for the rest of the trip.  Day 5 was actually Wednesday, June 3rd.  Today is June 7th, we arrived at our destination last night and I now have consistent WiFi, unlike at Yellowstone.  We plan to continue the family blog even after the trip journal (maybe not every day, but frequently) to stay connected to friends and family afar.   Thanks for your patience and thanks for reading!  

1 comment:

Kate said...

What an amazing experience! You have sold me on going to Yellowstone. James will be so pleased - he loves it too. God bless you, Wigtons! Big hugs to all of you!!