Blog Note: Comms were very patchy in Yellowstone so finally catching up from Twin Falls, ID on Day 11.
We were excited about our move to Yellowstone but had one more box to tick before we left Cody. After a supplies pit-stop in Walmart we went to check out the excellent Old Trail Town. This is a complex of 20+ restored old west buildings with cool stories and artifacts. One of the restored cabins was a hideout used by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Jeremiah Johnson was re-buried here and Robert Redford (who starred as Jeremiah Johnson in the eponymous movie) was a pallbearer at the ceremony.
From there we headed west towards Yellowstone. Took a quick rest stop at the Pahaska Tipi, Buffalo Bill’s hunting lodge before entering the park. Harry is a 4th grader so courtesy of the excellent Every Kid in a Park program we had free admission (normally $30). This would be good for Grand Teton also. Thanks Harry!
Very soon into our drive we had our first wildlife sighting. A big-horned sheep was perched on a precipice overlooking the road. Ryan, our wildlife expert was asleep at the time and was not happy about our sighting in his absence.
As we got closer to Canyon Village, our campsite, we entered Hayden Valley and came across our first herd of Bison (not Buffalo!). I have neither the time not the inclination to wax lyrical but it was quite an experience to see these animals up close and in the wild.
Finally made it to our campsite and we immediately headed off on a hike to check out Yellowstone Canyon. The rangers were not exactly encouraging about a hike directly out of the village. The whole place seems to be set up for driving to a spot, getting out, having a look around and then getting back in your car. That’s an over-simplification but on day 1 that was the vibe we were getting. We set off regardless, without bear-spray and with much anxiety. After 40 minutes we were still in the car park of the Canyon Lodge although we did pass right by a reclining bison breaking the 25 yd rule…but not on purpose. We eventually found the unmarked trail to the Canyon and once we got there it was worth the stress. We hiked down to a great view point and took a load of pics. Lauren, competitive and gazelle-like bounded back up the trail smoking her old man on the return journey.
We finished the evening with a slap up meal back at the village. I had a very tasty Game Meatloaf. Felt a little weird eating Bison and Venison in the same place where these animals are so revered but such is life and they’ll be welcome to take a shot at me as I line up my next landscape shot. Ryan questioned the meat-loaf contents but I made my excuses and left (that’s a Sunday World reference).
Day 7 Verdict: Sorry to leave Cody but Yellowstone, once we got our bearings, was looking awesome.