Few places live up to the hype. Yellowstone National Park is one of those rare locations where the scenery really does look like the postcards or books you've read. The extraordinary times are when you find those beautiful places off the crowded trails and you get a little slice of awesomeness all to yourself. I didn't get to fish much on vacation but I did get to cast my line at big trout and see them chase streamers. It was exhilarating and in the environment of Yellowstone you can't be disappointed even when you're skunked. I can never fully describe how great Yellowstone is all I can say is everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. My pictures are crap to the real wonder and grandeur the park has to offer. The colors, textures and true beauty of the place can't be captured in photos and I think that's by God's plan. You can only really experience Yellowstone by being there in person.
I did weeks of research before we made our trip and I still feel like we missed out on some things. You can easily get overwhelmed with all there is to do and there is only so much time in a day. With kids you can only push so much before everyone including yourself is miserable. The car becomes a torture device and night becomes your enemy. The constant adherence to an agenda can make your trip feel like work instead of something to enjoy. Finding that balance is always a challenge I did my best to make it work. I believe we all had a vacation we'll remember for a lifetime and the sights we did see we may not fully appreciate until we have a fond memory years later.
We stayed in Cody just outside the park and it was a great location. The people were very friendly, deer passed by our place every day, and the smell of sulfur from geysers in Shoshone Canyon hit your nose when there was a breeze. The entrance to YNP was only 40min away.
As you head toward the park you'll hit the Buffalo Bill Reservoir. At one time this dam was the tallest in the world. Learning how this dam was built is very interesting. It was started in 1910 during the winter and no steel was used in its constructions.
It was the model for the Hoover Dam later and was created using rocks from the canyon with concrete. The winter made it hard for the concrete to cure so the workers covered the dam with tarps and used steam to keep the temperature up. Here's a link about the dam if you want more info.
Leaving the reservoir you drive through Wapiti Valley where the views are breath taking with rock formations like nothing you'll find in Yellowstone.
Cliffs and crags line the horizon all around and every turn has another amazing view.
Most of these rock formations have names and we bought a book at the Buffalo Bill Dam that pointed them out. It was a fun activity for the family.
The goose or Bart Simpson riding his skateboard.
Driving through the East entrance of Yellowstone you go over a pass and see your first glimpse of Yellowstone Lake
The picture in no way captured how awesome this view is. The water is a turquoise blue and has a major contrast to the green of the grass. I'm no sure what is going on with the forest around this area. I'm not sure if this is the result of a fire or some other phenomenon. Going down to the lake we saw our first geyser and bison.
I'll continue the rest in the following post.