Bagging all four FIVE Yellowstone National Park entrances, Day #5, Triumph!?
Awakened in the destination that inspired this trip. Today I would bag the final Yellowstone entrance, a 50 minute drive past Cody.
But first, laundry. Then the day was so exhilarating I had to stroll the quirky streets of the town. Then I discovered “Bubba’s”. Thought there was only one Bubba’s restaurant, in Jackson Hole. HAD to have a barbeque pulled chicken sandwich at 10:30. Nothing like spicy barbeque sauce and garlic hitting your stomach early in the day. THEN I hit the road to the Park.
President Theodore Roosevelt called the stretch of highway between Cody, WY and the East Gate of Yellowstone National Park “the fifty most beautiful miles in America”. It’s the Scenic Byway of Highway 20, also called the Wapiti Valley. Shaped by the flow of the Shoshone River, it’s replete with history and scenery; the river’s carving into the volcanic rocks of the Absoroka Mountains makes for stunning vistas at every turn of the drive. 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.
In the Prologue I gave you the history for this trip. What I failed to say was I’d fallen in love with the Mid-West 6 years ago. 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 eaten at age 6.
I entered the Park through the East entrance, felt the wonder of return to it, and then basked in the satisfactory zing of completion that fired through my brain. Nice.
Along the way to Fishing Bridge I stopped several times. At the top of Lake Butte Lookout overlooking Yellowstone Lake, I was surprised with a view of Grand Teton, over 100 miles away. You can’t imagine that unless you’ve been standing on the spot. Sylvan Lake was also beautiful and already partially frozen.
Turning around I knew I wouldn’t reach Cody before dark so I began searching out the subtle movement of wildlife. It was quiet until I got back in the vicinity of Buffalo Bill State Park and then, as my husband has since echoed the rarity of, there were hundreds of grazing mule deer. Twins nursing, bucks stirring among them all, it was a hunter’s most glorious and surreal dream. And a driver’s nightmare; I was driving through a mine field. Being a fisherman favoring the exaggeratory technique of “bigger” when there’s no one to prove otherwise, I videotaped the scene to back my story.
Past the mule deer land mines I became part of the full moon rising over Buffalo Bill Dam/Reservoir. It caused a memory flashback to my son and I witnessing the same moon rising over Hoover Dam several years ago. Things like this burn into your memory and you may forget when it happened but you never forget that it did.
Post Script from Journal, Day #5: “babied the truffles all day and again took them to the safety of my room. Have only eaten 1 from the box.” The Chubby Chipmunk