Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cody & Yellowstone

Bright and early before the crowds begin to flood the streets of Cody, Wyoming, we’re out taking photos and exploring the historic and reportedly haunted Irma Hotel. Built in 1902 by William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody, the hotel still caters to travelers today. Then we’re off to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, which features five separate museum and thousands of artifacts, photographs, paintings, true life exhibits, and lots more.

Last stop is the Museum of the Old West at Old Trail Town, which features an assortment of storefronts and clapboard cabins gathered from the region and assembled on the original town site of Cody City. The site includes a collection 26 buildings, dating from 1879 to 1901, one hundred horse-drawn vehicles, plus an extensive collection of Native American artifacts and memorabilia of the Wyoming frontier. Another great stop and lots of great photos.

Then we’re finally on our way to Yellowstone National Park. The oldest National Park in the United States, the park attracts some three million visitors every year, and I think we met at least half of them. Of course, this is peak season for all National Parks, and I expected the crowds. We enter through the east gate and pass by Yellowstone Lake, the largest high elevation (over 7,000 feet) body of water in the country. Absolutely, beautiful, we’re snap, snap, snapping away with the camera. Then we visit a number of basins with spitting, boiling pots, before making our way to Old Faithful. We, along with hundreds of other people sit waiting for the expected 100 plus foot eruption of water and we are not disappointed.

Now we begin to make our way to the north end of the park, eagerly anticipating the sight of some stunning wildlife, which we have heard is more prevalent there. Unfortunately, the best we do is the butt-end of one buffalo who has his head buried in the trees, and the head of another who is sitting in tall grass. It’s all ok though, we’ve got a lot of trip left. Making our way through the area that was severely damaged 20 years ago in the devastating fire of 1888, the views of new growth, with toothpick like stripped trees is stunning.

Finally, we reach the great state of Montana, bedding down for the night in Livingston with big plans for the next several days.

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