Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Through Yellowstone to Cody Wyoming

Today the alarm went off at 5:45, I started the coffee, told Marcia I needed another 1/2 hour.  Last night, around 2 am, the winds came in...so much so that Skruffy wanted to come up and snuggle with me because she thought for sure a storm was coming.  Neither Marcia nor I got real good sleep...but I did sleep better than her, so the extra time was needed.  Sure enough, at 6:15 there was much more light outside, the coffee was made, and I was ready to get ready to leave.  By 7:20 we were headed over to the dump station, where I had already move the HHR to, and by 7:40 we were pulling out of Henrys Lake State Park. 

We entered Yellowstone and drove all the way to Yellowstone Lake before stopping for a break....but along the way, Marcia could not help but take more pictures of the sights we saw the first days visit to the park...the many geothermic activities.  Although some of these pictures are repeats of the places we went to a week ago Monday, in this area the activity changes, which changes the landscape features around the geothermal activity in Geyser Basin Area of Yellowstone.
The steam rising off the various fields was very spectacular today.
And even though it was now near 8:30, there were lots of people out.
 And although there are many areas, such as the one below, where HOT water runs into the Firehole River, I would not want to put my foot in that cold river.

 And due to the winds, the sky has cleared up some in this area....I hope there is nice blue sky in the Yellowstone Lake area (although that far away "smog look" kinda is telling me different.
 ...Yes even more steamy features.  Too bad I did not have the camera, I saw the White Dome Geyser shooting off...but there was no way to turn this motor home around, and without the camera, no picture.  But Marcia found lots of steamy areas to shoot....
 ...along with a bunch, and I do mean a bunch, of DEAD TREES
Yep, I'm board.....
(I know you are laughing about this one mom!  Out of the corner of my eye I saw Marcia pointing the camera on me...so I stuck my finger up my noise and said, "Take it!")

Finally we got to the Lake, and it was time for the first of our many breaks today.  Not that I was real tired....it was just hard to rush right through the park....we both wanted to soak in as much of it as we could.  We found a turnout, and stayed there for 20-30 minutes.  I wish the smoke was not there so that we could see the mountains on the other side of the lake...but again, we will just have to come here in May next time.
I had to include this shot (above) of the water sparkling from the morning sun.  Below we are looking over towards the Grant Village area.
 Below Marcia got this shot just a short distance from where we had stopped.
 And below is a view of Stevenson Island.

 Above is the north side of Fishing Bridge, where the Yellowstone River starts its long trek through the park.  Below is the south side of Fishing Bridge where the river comes out of the lake.
Below is a look of Steamboat Point...the mountains should be standing out beyond the lake at this point...and as you can see, they are totally covered up by the smoke.

We stopped a few times, once for another 10 minutes or so.  This lake is so nice, few boats out there, and had it not been for the smoke, a perfect place to be at.

We then drove east away from the lake, and we hit a devastating place....where fire had taken out a lot of trees back in 2007.  It looked much like how I remember in 2001 what the park looked like after the 1998 fire...although the 1998 fire covered so much more territory, and you can still see the damage from that fire.
This look went on and on for miles....it nearly brought tears to our eyes.  We thought back to the devastation of Mt. Saint Helens, and how Weyerhaeuser stepped in and cleared out the dead trees on the properties they have control of, and then replanted.  While the Government controlled land was "left to nature to fix".  Well, nature is still trying to fix the Government's area, while the Weyerhaeuser area is very flush, very much a forest, and very much full of wildlife.  
We then came to Sylvan Lake, which runs along the highway.  It looks like a real peaceful lake, and thank goodness the fires did not touch this area.
 And the smoke from the Utah, Idaho and Oregon fires just linger among the mountains.
The highway from the lake to the east entrance did go over a pass, and for about 5 miles or so I really had to watch the road....and I think Marcia put the camera down so that she did not see the drop-off on her side of the road.  The traffic was light, and I was able to pull over in a few areas to allow the few cars which ended up behind me to pass.  And soon, we were headed through the east entrance exit....saying goodbye to this wonderful National Park. 

And then we were pleasantly surprised at the change of the scenery.
 Ummm, Marcia, I think we need to stop for lunch...how about here?  does this look good??
Yep, that's what I am talking about....a view like this, some hot soup and crackers, a walk of the dogs....only thing wrong with this is that we had to leave since we just sitting in a turnout!
 The dogs seemed to like it, and the view to the rear was pretty nice too....
...but we just could not stay, and we had to move along.

And as shown in the pictures above and below, the rock formations on the mountains continued for some time.

 Eventually the canyon widened, a meadow started running along the Shoshone River, which cuts through the Absaroka Mountain Range, with the North fork starting in the northern part of the range, and the South fork starting in the southern part of the range.
Just before Cody, the river runs into the Buffalo Bill Dam, and forms the Buffalo Bill Reservoir.  The Buffalo Bill State Park runs around much of the reservoir.
The land in this area was once owned by Buffalo Bill, who founded the city of Cody, which is where we are staying.  This was all part of the Shoshone Project, one of the first projects overseen by the Bureau of Reclamation.  Since it covered up many natural hot springs in the area...it is something that would never pass the "green test" today.
There are a number of RV camping areas within the state park.  We thought about staying here...but we need to be near the resources of a town for shopping, for having sewer access so that we can do laundry, and well, I guess we like the looks of other motor homes and trailers more than we do open, wide spaces and lake views....next time, if there is a next time, we will give up the sewer access for the lake view.
We got to Cody around 3:30.  It took us about 8 hours to travel 160 miles.  Can't say we are setting any land speed records, that's for sure.  We are at the Absaroka Bay RV Park.  Nothing spectacular, but we can handle it for 2 nights.

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