Yellowstone had never been a big part of this trip, I was meant to stay one night on the edge and then drive through the next day. My parents had brought me here when I was young and I had some good memories of that trip which I figured I would leave that way. As I got nearer to the park though I decided that I would stay an extra day.
I have fallen into my summer routine of not getting up very early at all and so by the time I got going to explore the park it was probably about 11 am. Yellowstone is a huge place and it takes a long time to get anywhere, especially when slow moving Bison are wondering along the road. This meant I spent most of my day hanging out at the geyser basin and geeking out with geology.
The next day was a travel day but has probably become one of the best rides I have ever had. Leaving late again as it had rained in the night and I wanted to pack a dry tent I didn’t leave West Yellowstone until 12:30. There isn’t really a straight line through the park and I had a couple of options. The original thought was to go over the Bear Tooth highway in the North East but there was rain clouds that direction and being at 10,000 feet, wet and cold didn’t seem like a fun day so instead I headed towards the East Entrance of the park. Most of the park was area that I remembered but for some reason this area I didn’t. I assume that when my parents brought us here they skipped this part. It is also a very remote part of the park which is nice. Before you leave you travel over the Sylvan Pass and then head down into the Shoshone National Forest. Leaving Yellowstone you pass by many different ranches all of them offering horse rides with B&B like accommodations in a very remote part of the state.
The Shoshone ends at the city of Cody and this part marks the beginning of flatter grounds. That said nothing in Wyoming is flat and for the most part the terrain is marked by rocky buttes and rolling hills which set it apart from places such as North Dakota and Manitoba. Also unlike those areas to the North the ground is much greener and looks much more nourished by water.
Straight across from Cody along highway 16 is the town of Greybull. As I went across the state I figured I was done for mountains and the plains were all I would see. But as I came to Greybull I found the Bighorn Mountain range. The road is a series of very tight turns as I heads up to Granite Pass. In the lower elevations the scenery is very rugged with layers of rock showing the different ages of the earth everywhere. When you get up to the top it is much more forested and signs along the road start to talk about snowmobile parking. In fact the temperature dropped 9 degrees from bottom to top.
Coming down the east side when things were starting to get warmer again I had to stop many times to get different pictures of the mountains and the valley below. At one stop a doe walked up the side of the mountain, sprang over the guardrail for the road, trotted along the road and then jumped back over when a car approached. It was a cool moment as I don’t think that it knew I was there at all and if it did it wasn’t at all interested or scared of me.