Our last full day of vacation & we made the most of it. Another sunny morning & we left The Beartooth Inn @ 7:30 AM after our comp. breakfast. 50 miles from Cody to Yellowstone on the Buffalo Bill Scenic Highway. And it IS scenic: through the Shoshone National Forest (1st National Forest to be established in USA!), followed the pretty Shoshone River, past ranches & saw MANY impressive rock formations called hoodoos.
8:30 AM: Entered Yellowstone & drove through mountainous, rugged area. Passed large (past) wildfire area with charred, dead pines. Saw several pockets of forest like this in the Park during our travels. Also, the park lets trees lie where they fall unless they block roads or trails. So there are tons of downed trees throughout park. Not unsightly, just natural… & interesting.
Stopped at Fishing Bridge General Store for a bit of shopping and got huckleberry yogurts for future lunch stop.
9:30 AM – It was a pretty morning & not too warm yet so we decided on a hike stop. Parked in the Bay Bridge Marina lot and found Natural Bridge Trail Head. This was a pretty, fairly flat hike (3 miles roundtrip) through pine woods with glimpses of the bay. It was quiet… not many others on trail at all though we saw handful of folks hiking out as we returned. My husband had the bear spray in hand but only animal sightings were chipmunks! 🙂
11 AM – Quick restroom & coffee stop at marina store near where we parked. Headed south past Yellowstone Lake. Saw elk in field. Gorgeous day & getting warmer…. glad we hiked when we did!
Suddenly, we came to complete stop right beside Lewis Lake. LONG line of cars & none coming from other direction. Shut off car & wonder if it is a big animal jam (we had only encountered very brief animal crossings during week, no real ‘jam’ or delay). A few people walked down road & we heard that someone went off road & almost into lake. Finally go past this vehicle – nose down on a steep bank & almost in water. This was an hour-long delay. I felt bad for folks just entering the park or people with kids. And I was glad we weren’t on a tight schedule for a flight today.
12:50 PM – Left Yellowstone through South Entrance. What an amazing park! And now back in those glorious Tetons. 86 degrees now but no humidity. Hot!
Go through Colter Bay’s Visitor Center’s interesting exhibits & then head south through the park. Stop at Willow Flats pullout & see large, male moose in the distance. At 3 PM, my husband announces we have put 1,000 miles on the rental car. It doesn’t seem like we drove that far/much as there is constant beautiful scenery, animal sightings, etc., to see along the way. The entire week was one lane roads – all in pretty good shape. And traffic was not bad at all.
Postponing our departure from the mountains views, we stop at Dornan’s for a drink & strike up a conversation with a woman from Dover, NH!
4:30 PM – Checked into Miller Park Lodge in Jackson & discovered the best room of the week: huge room with Jacuzzi tub, plush carpet, king bed, fireplace, kitchenette & little 2nd floor deck with table & chairs! Lovely… and all for about $150. It was walking distance to restaurants & downtown. Returned the rental car, cooler & UN-used bear spray to Dollar to streamline the next morning. Called Teton Mountain Taxi for a 5 AM pick up for next day (blah!). Walked around town & in shops. Dinner at The Snake River Brewery – noisy but fun place with good meals. Sat on our room’s deck… it cooled off nicely. What a full & wonderful final day in Wyoming!
“All good things are wild and free.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
June 30: Taxi arrived promptly at 5 AM & our flight home left at 7:15 AM. Sigh…
I already want to plan my next trip to Grant Teton & Yellowstone National Parks.