“It charmed me, intrigued me, seduced me so completely and in such a way that memories of it result in the kind of longing normally reserved for the best fruit pie of your life.” This journal entry was made after my first encounter with Yellowstone in 2003. The best fruit pie of your life is a powerful memory; one that will be difficult to surpass. Or forget. If your visions of sugarplums are instead bodacious double crust fruit pies, you’ll understand. If not, pity.
Just in case the first paragraph gravely misdirected you, this post is about Yellowstone, and sadly, not fruit pies.
I’m not the only one infatuated with Yellowstone and the surrounding area. Some famous people whose opinions really count, feel the same. President Theodore Roosevelt called the stretch of highway between Cody, Wyoming and the East Gate of Yellowstone National Park “the fifty most beautiful miles in America”.
Named the Scenic Byway of Highway 20, aka the Wapiti Valley, the road is wedged into a valley shaped by the flow of the Shoshone River. The swath of wildness is charged with history and scenery. The Buffalo Bill Dam/Reservoir and Buffalo Bill State Park were worth the drive alone.
Nothing mechanical could capture what I saw with my own eyes. I didn’t try to create art from art, but rather to simply document I’d actually been there. Sometimes point and shoot is all you need do. Things like this burn into your memory and you may forget when it happened but you never forget that it did.
Cody was established in 1896 by wild west showman, William F. Cody, “Buffalo Bill” along with a group of investors from Buffalo, New York and Sheridan, Wyoming. They realized the potential for tourism since Yellowstone was only 50 miles west. Burlington Northern Railroad reinforced (and rewarded) the tourism dream when they completed a line into Cody in 1901.
Instead of the railroad, I drove. The round trip of 100 miles to Yellowstone from Cody and back took 7 hours. That should tell you that either I drive really, really slow, or there was a lot to see. Given that I’ve had a speeding ticket in almost every state I’ve driven, the latter is the best guess.
These guys did their part to make sure no one was in a hurry.
For more information on Yellowstone, check out these links:
** The East entrance closes from early November to sometime in April because of snow. Be sure to do your homework before heading there in the winter.