Heading out of the Devils Tower area. On to Yellowstone or die trying. I have precious few days left to get back to Reno. Fun trip, even with all of nature trying to kill me. Bugs and weather are a bitch.
An hour after leaving Devils Tower I decide to stop in some ridiculously small town for a bite to eat.
Child labor laws are a little lax in Wyoming, the waiter was at the most 13 years old. Bacon cheeseburger was ok, nothing to write home about. Shit, I just wrote home about it.
Onward! The landscape changed suddenly from rolling hills to jagged mountains. Startling transition to switchbacks and steep grades.
Just as dramatically as it turned mountainous, it changed back to a more smooth terrain. Relatively speaking, of course.
Made it to Yellowstone around 9pm. The nice lady at the gate crushed all hope of an easy night of sleep by telling me the tent sites were full!!!! I had to back track 13 miles to find a site that didn’t have bear restrictions, meaning NO TENTS! I was beat and needed to stop for the night. Finally found this place.
It’s fun to camp in a place where you have to lock up all your food and toiletries in a big steel box to keep the bears away.
All those shots are from the following morning. I pulled into the campsite around 10pm and it was pitch black! My visor was covered with insect genocide and I was aggravated and more than a little pissy. Busted my ass getting to Yellowstone only to be rejected at the gate. I got my tent up, fought off hordes of insects, cooked my usual Indian fare, and drank some wine. I would’ve started a campfire, but the campsite host said I’d have to gather the wood myself from down by the creek. The hell you say! It’s completely black out here and there are bears!!!!
I didn’t sleep very well. It rained periodically throughout the night, wind was trying to rip my tent stakes out of the ground, and I kept seeing weird red lights flash across the roof of my tent.
Anyway, so I’m about to leave the campground when I notice the sky is starting to fill up with ominous clouds. When I woke up there wasn’t a single cloud! Damnit!
My first stop in the park for lunch. I had the BBQ brisket sandwich. Talked to a guy who had spent the last 3 days in the park photographing bears and shit. I asked him where the buffalo were and he gave me this disgusted look like I’d just shook a baby. He said they’re everywhere in the park. Like rats. Cool.
So far I don’t see buffalo but lots of trees, forest fire damage, and dead birds.
Driving through the park I see elk? Maybe that’s a deer…what the hell do I know, I’m not a naturalist. All I know is that it is not a buffalo.
I made the flawed decision to go see Old Faithful. The parking lot was ridiculous. So many people. It takes away from the experience. I got to the viewing area…
The amount of people made me think the thing was going to burst at any second! I was wrong. I sat through 20 minutes of false starts and irritating crying kids. Oh, how I am over crying kids at national parks. Grand Canyon, Mt Rushmore, Devils Tower, now Yellowstone. Ugh.
So, now of course comes the bane of my existence. Rain and putting on the rain gear, or portable sweat lodge, ad I like to call it.
Leaving Old Faithful I get stuck in a particularly long stretch of camper traffic. Usually this means animals on the side of the road. Sure enough, almost as I was about to give up…
As I’m leaving, I hit the lower geyser basin, or whatever it’s called. Took a pano shot.
Some final images before leaving the park. I gave up on driving through the Grand Tetons. I had high hopes for it, but I really needed to get on the road to Reno.
As a parting gift, the skies dumped rain on me for the next 50 miles. Thanks O Flying Spaghetti Monster and your Noodly Appendages.