Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Magnificent Yellowstone, But Where is Yogi?

This is a long post. Yellowstone deserves that. There are few words, but many pictures. I hope that you enjoy them....

Day 59 saw me leaving Cody in Wyoming without the cowboy boots I was tempted to buy. The trouble with things you buy when you are away from home is they look great there and then, but get them back to your everyday surroundings and that cool purchase doesn’t look so cool anymore. I am glad that I resisted. They were nice though.....

On the west side of Cody on US 14 is the Mountain Trails Galleries. I was struck by the beauty of the sculptures standing outside – the one below was maybe 15 feet high and was of a cowboy lassoing a deer. Wonderful....




















When I was planning my route across the US, I considered the pro’s and con’s of doing it east to west, or west to east. I chose east to west for one very simple reason – I wouldn’t have to ride into the sun in the mornings. Here is an example....

This is Main Street in Cody. Here is looking west (in the direction I was riding)....




















And here is looking east. I am glad I considered this when sitting in my office in the UK....




















As I continued west I came near to the Buffalo Bill Dam. Just before that there was a tunnel – the first I have ridden through since New York (I think)....



















































The dam is on the Shoshone River and when it was built, was the tallest dam in the world. This is above the dam....




















The driftwood behind the dam made for an interesting pattern....




















The dam operated a system that you parked your car / bike away from the dam and then were transferred to the dam itself by a golf buggy. The driver of the one I got in had noticed the licence plate on my bike and commented on the fact that I had “GB” on the back of my bike, meaning Great Britain. It is a requirement in Europe that you display what country your vehicle is from. The drivers name was Nyuki and she told me she was raised in the UK at a place called Canterbury and still had ties to England....


























What was funny was she pointed out her car to me. Note the GB sticker on a US car!....




















A little further on, I saw a couple of things that intrigued me. The first was a motel that was designed in a western cowboy style. It was very simple, effective, stylish and cheap to build. A brilliant use of clever design. I liked it....




















The second structure that caught my interest still confounds me, because I have no idea what it is....


























I had to stop here just to take in the sheer beauty of the landscape at the side of the road....


















This was called Chimney Rock, for obvious reasons....



















The various layers of rock could easily be seen in Chimney Rock....


























Soon I reached Yellowstone. Even though I had never been here before, I sort of knew what to expect, having watched several tv documentaries about the place. The main thing that struck me the most was the size of the place. It is enormous. One thing I hadn’t realised was just how much of Yellowstone had been affected by the recent fires, the most devastating of which was in 1988, which burned for several months. There are a huge amount of dead trees....





































































But, from the ashes mighty oaks do grow. OK, in Yellowstone, not oaks, but fire actually helps regenerate the forest and fire splits open the fir cones which is how the new seeds are released. For every dead tree, I reckon there were 10 new ones growing!

Of course, one of the things I really wanted to see in Yellowstone was buffalo. I discovered later the correct name is Bison and that the commonly used name Buffalo is wrong. It didn’t take long to spot my first Bison....


















I followed these Bison through some trees, trying to get as close as I dare. I heard later that someone was killed getting too close to a Bison just a month ago. Gulp....


















The scenery in Yellowstone is extremely diverse. This was stunning....


















Looking back on it now, something quite startling happened as I rode north up the east side of the park. Along with two other bikers I stopped to let some Bison cross the road....there are bulls, cows and calfs here....


















Then more appeared and prepared to cross the road....


















We soon realised this was a huge herd crossing right in front of us. It was a splendid sight.... note the big bull looking at us....


















The big bull gets most of the way across the road....


















.... and then turns back right in front of us! He seemed a bit upset and was snorting.... he was about 10 feet away from me, when I looked sideways and saw the other two bikers getting off their bikes preparing to retreat.... I kept taking pictures as I wondered what to do....


















I too then retreated. A park ranger in a car came driving up and put his car between the bull and us. He with the aid of his megaphone the three of us to move even further back and get into a car. Any car.... you can see his megaphone and my now abandoned bike in this picture.... please nice bull, please don’t push my bike over....


















Thankfully, he left the Leading Ladies alone. I was about to get into a car when I noticed a big dog on the back seat barking at me. OK, I think I will choose someone else’s car.....soon the ranger suggested(!) it was safe to return to our bikes and carry on. We did this quickly!.

We rode off and stooped up the road in a car park. Here are the two other guys, Carlo on the left, from Omaha Nebraska and Bob, from Kansas City. I think they are smiling from the relief of escaping the angry bull!....


















The three of us rode together for the rest of the day, saw the sights as a group and even shared dinner that evening.

Here are some of the things we saw that afternoon....

Some geysers....


























Some fantastic waterfalls....




















































































The Mammoth Hot Springs, which have built up from minerals in the water over millions of years....




































An odd shaped rock column....



























The next day, I continued to explore the park....

These are Elk by a river....




















Some wonderful colours caused by micro-organisms living in the boiling water coning out from geysers....
































































































And an almost pure white scene....


















In the park, some of the roads are engineering masterpieces. OK, I am an engineer after all....


















This is Sheepeater Cliff....


























One of the marvellous lakes....


















More stunning scenery....


























A deep hot water pool....


























I decided to take rest from riding on day 61 and I went fly-fishing in Yellowstone instead. This was my guide, Rob, patiently tying on another fly....


























And here I am, in the Madison River....




















Day 62 saw me riding south through Yellowstone, mainly through areas where there are a lot of geysers....









































































This is Sapphire Pool. I knew it was very hot, but still I had this crazy notion I wanted to jump in. It just looked so inviting....


















More geysers....



































I then reached the most famous geyser of them all, Old Faithful. The crowds were there in eager anticipation, and like me, camera at the ready....


















Then, right on cue, the geyser began to rumble....


















































So, that was Yellowstone. It lived up to expectations and overall, it was magnificent.

The only trouble was, I didn’t see Yogi ....

12 comments:

Donna aka Froggi said...

Wow! Your buffalo encounter story beats mine...and that's okay! LOL! Glad all turned out well and glad you got to enjoy our favorite National Park. It's different every time you visit!

iansolley said...

That is an amazing set of pictures - Yellowstone is truly a wonderful place!

Eve said...

HOLY COW!!! I mean Bison!!! That was close Gary!! I'm so glad you and The Leading Ladies made it out of that close call!
You probably know that Yellowstone is on top of a Mega Volcano and from what I've read only about 40,000 years overdue to blow!! I would love to go visit but with my luck...I wouldn't want to do that to the rest of America!!!
The pictures are fantastic! I love Chimney Rock with the LL's down below. Oh and the boots!! You could send for a pair if you change your mind, you don't necessarily have to wear them...use them as a decoration!! Pot them up with some flowers for your garden!! Get a pair made out of Bison skin!! hahahaha! That'll teach him!!
Did you catch any fish???
So do you think after seeing the most beautiful parts of America that it will be calling you to come back and do a southern tour? That would be a little more tricky with the wild weather of the south. (I'm just trying to get you to come so I can see the rest of all the beautiful places in the US!) Na, not really we'd love to have you down here too!
GREAT post, great photos and a great ride! Thanks Gary!
Ride Safe...Hope there is a bear in your future...just not one really close up!

Arizona Harley Dude said...

WOW!!!! The trip just keeps getting better and better. Yellowstone is still on my to do list because whenever I've been near there it was still to cold to visit.

mq01 said...

im so glad you stopped to enjoy yellowstone!! it is a beautiful place, even if you havent spotted yogi ;)

Charlie6 said...

Very nice shot of the waterfalls....

682202 said...

Yellowstone does look Magnificent. I have yet to visit it, but your photos, specially the water falls, inspire me to get it done. Thanks for the great post. Travel safe.

Paul said...

Just remembered the present you bought me in Yosemite! That’s where Yogi is! Loved the pictures and brought back some amazing memories of when I was a child. I have emailed you a few of them as you will see they are identical to yours!! What a place.

SonjaM said...

Awww! That brings back memories. Have been to Yellowstone in 2007, it was great. Thanks for the lovely pics.

Oz said...

Great pics! I enjoyed YNP so much and I am glad you did also. It is an amazing place. I hope you got to eat at the Old Faithful Inn. The food there is great.

bobskoot said...

Gary:

thanks for the memories, we were in Yellowstone back in 2004 and also encountered Bison on the road right beside the car. I know what you mean by the boiling pools by the side of the road. you get the urge to jump in, even though you know it is boiling.

somehow your photos are more stunning than mine. I think you see more on a bike, or else it is easier to park and stop

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Gary France said...

Donna – The encounter was fun, if not a little scary. I was more worried about my bike!

Ian – Thanks. I did enjoy Yellowstone.

Eve – I think if the Yellowstone Volcano blew big time, it wouldn’t matter where in the world anybody was, as it would probably be goodbye to us all. The boots were a bit pricey to use for planting! I caught one little fish. I think it will be a long time before I do a southern tour. There are just so many other places to visit in the world.

AHD – Thanks, and to think that I have many of the National Parks yet to come! I would love to see Yellowstone in the autumn (US = fall)

mq01 – It truly is beautiful.

Charlie6 – Thanks, there is something about moving water ....

682202 – Go there – it is worth it.

Paul – LOL. I laughed when I read that. How is your Yogi? From your pictures, I can see Yellowstone hasn’t changed much. You on the other hand....

Sonja – You are very welcome. What a place.

Oz – Amazing yes, and luckily no sign of the large volumes of traffic I was warned about.

Bob – I am glad I resisted jumping in. I did wonder just how hot the water was. I think it is generally easier to take pictures from a bike. You can see all the way around you without even getting off the bike, but in a car, you have to stop, park, get out...... I keep my P&S camera in the screen pocket right in front of me, so I can take a picture in seconds, even with one hand.