Friday, June 12, 2015

Yellowstone Park in our back yard! Time for our annual nostalgic pilgrimage celebrating a world wonder

The drive in to Yellowstone from Red Lodge to the Cody entrance is lovely and varied, especially along the Chief
Joseph Highway, then again  between Cody and the East Entrance of the park. It's a favorite summer ritual. 
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone showcases
the turbulent Yellowstone River as it roars through
golden cliffs and ridges with thousands of firs. 


Slowing down as bison cross the road is a Yellowstone tradition.



AS A CHILD growing up in Montana, no summer was complete without a pilgrimage to Yellowstone National Park.
Although most of this splendid place is in Wyoming, our neighbor state, we thought of it as "our park" back in the 1950s.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, we didn't know
better and fed bears from our cars.

A herd of elk parades across the prairie on the drive from Gardiner
 to Mammoth, a thrilling sight no matter how often seen.  
I STILL THINK of Yellowstone as "ours" -- with apologies to our Cody, Powell and Worland friends.  Even after decades of multiple visits -- at least 100 in my lifetime -- a trip to the world's first national park leaves me proud and humbled.  As a global citizen, I feel ownership.  I hope everyone who visits does.  I love hearing dozens of languages, spoken by people whose countries I visited.

TOGETHER, WE gaze at spectacular  waterfalls and geysers, identify wildflowers, admire birds and count mammal species.
"Inspire, educate, preserve" is the motto.
Keller is "arms up" at the Roosevelt Arch near Gardiner.

WHATEVER PART of Yellowstone's glorious two million acres we visit, Teddy Roosevelt's best gift to the country shines like a well loved tiara.  We hike one of Yellowstone's 1,210 miles of marked trails. We usually stay at Lake Yellowstone Hotel or Old Faithful Inn,  and the restaurant at Lake is our favorite. I usually ask to play the grand piano in the lobby. (I've never been refused) while the musician a break.
If we have guests from the East Coast or Europe, we stop at Roosevelt Lodge for a cookout.  And we try to arise early one morning to visit "our Yellowstone" before the crush of folks begins about 10 a.m.
OUR PLACE north of Nye, Montana, is just 70 miles north of Yellowstone, as the crow flies.
As people drive, it's at least a three-hour journey -- to one of the park's five entrances. Our favorites are the stunning Beartooth Highway to the Northeast Entrance, or the less frightening, equally beautiful road to Cody, Wyo., and the park's East Entrance.
Because of its proximity, Yellowstone was a perfect "long weekend" trip for our young family, a journey taken in our Ford County Squire station wagon. We go by Ford Explorer now, and the family's dwindled since the carefree days of yore when we innocently fed bears marshmallows through the car windows.
Lake McDonald  is a stunning sight on a drive through Glacier Park, up next!
I HAVEN'T missed a summer trip to
Yellowstone and hope I never will. It's my celebration of a lucky birthplace -- and a thank you to TR!

COMING UP: Getting to Glacier National Park presented a bit more of a challenge -- about four times further away than Yellowstone, from our little town of Columbus, Montana. Still we made it every summer -- my dad's parents ran a motel in Kalispell for years. Remember to explore, learn and live and check us out Wednesdays and weekends at:

1 comment:

  1. Cody Country RoadiesJune 16, 2015 at 1:19 PM

    This was fun and we enjoyed reading about "our park," from a Montanan's perspective.And we, too, remember feeding the bears from the car. Times have changed and we know better now. Thanks for the memories.....