Stepped out into the chilly Yellowstone air to head to the loo yesterday morning and spotted a rather hefty bison breakfasting at the campsite next door. After getting the requisite PSA from a nice young gent about bison attacking more than bears, I proceeded to use the zoom on the Coolpix and managed to get one decent shot which I think says BISON… without endangering my life.
The previous night a herd of elk casually traipsed through our campsite on their way up the hill. Once again, not whatsoever daunted by the presence of a couple of bipeds.
Our Yellowstone experience beyond the “greatest hits” animals shown above mostly consisted of hiking about on or near the Mammoth Hot Springs terraces and trying not to throw elbows when other tourists acted in that entitled and oblivious manner that gives tourists a bad name. We tried to visit the Artists Paintpots, but RVs and autos and self-appointed traffic directors made this prospect impossible. So beyond our oohing and ahhing along the way out at the size of Yellowstone Lake and the herds of buffalo covering some of the flats, we got some otherworldly shots at the sulfur springs mentioned above, the distant planet effect of which was enhanced by lingering wildfire smoke. Still, not too bad for a day and a half in Jellystone. And not a bear, cartoon or otherwise, to be found.
The east entrance road we used as our exit was breathtaking all the way to the next town of any size which is called Cody. It was here that there was a line of demarcation from the Rockies, forests and meadows to the windblown, arid scrub set against short buttes I am more familiar with from the southern part of the state. This sort of landscape makes for the part of the road trip that begins to resemble the scrolling background of the old Looney Tunes cartoons desert scenes. Lucky for us, northern Wyoming seems to have a law in place that the scenery changes drastically within so many miles because not too long later, we encountered farmland, took an arduous, but astonishingly lovely drive up US 16 to Buffalo and then found more lovely farmland where we dodged turkeys and ogled deer, antelope, and delightfully healthy looking cows on pasture, a breath of literal fresh air compared with the feed lot style arrangements we’re used to seeing in Idaho. A few neighborly waves from passing cars later (I was overjoyed to discover that this is still a thing some places), we found SageRidge Mill & Critters and began our first adventure in sampling ranch life.
This place deserves its own entry, so I’ll sign off here for now. I’m having a hard time believing everything we are seeing and learning day to day and trying to keep up with all of it to share. But I especially hope to do justice to places where beauty and good grace are still evident and not contrived. From what I have seen so far, subject matter will not be short even if time sometimes is.