Today would be our first day in Yellowstone. Of our group only my Mom had been when she was a little girl. The plan was to go in the east entrance then up the the east side of the bottom loop. Across the middle then Norris and up to Mammoth Springs. Lunch there. Then down to the Tower area with reservations to go on the Cowboy Cookout. From there back to hotel.
• A little of a slow start due to our late night. The hotel has an interesting set up for breakfast as far chain hotels go. They have a separate gift shop building and in the back room of this is where breakfast is served. Very large area, but the hotel is also very large. Good cooked breakfast with long picnic tables community style.
• We went headed toward the east entrance to Yellowstone about an hour away. Along the way we see Buffalo Bill Dam that we will be visiting tomorrow. Get into the park - pay our fee. Oh well. We were maybe a half mile from the gate
and our first buffalo siting! He was all alone by himself heading back toward the gate. We had a huge laugh over that.
• We passed through Fishing Bridge, Canyon Village & Norris Geyser Basin we would stop and explore them more tomorrow. We just made quick stops at the visitor center at Fishing Bridge & Obsidian Cliff. With a few buffalo traffic jams we made it from Cody to Mammoth Springs in just over 3 hours.
• First Order of business was to gas up the car as it was pretty busy and a line. Mom to go on a solo explore of the springs area. We gassed up then checked out the Old Fort buildings. Then in the picnic area for some lunch. Mom found us and we ate. Then we all went up on the boardwalks to check out the fake snow.
• Time to head to the Tower area as we had a 5 o'clock check in for our cookout. As we headed back east I spot a road - maybe a cut through? It was quickly discovered to be a dirt road but an adventure. It was very rutted so only
about 20mph most of the way.
• Our dirt road adventure dumped up out back on the loop road around the curve & down the road from the Roosevelt Stables our check in point. Checked in for the Old West Cookout. http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/dining/roosevelt-lodge/roosevelt-old-west-dinner-cookout/
The cook out was awesome. You have the option of riding horses or riding in wagons. We took the wagons. You have to use a ladder and they will make sure if you have issue you have plenty of help. Before taking off there is a safety talk slash sing along. The about 6 wagons of folks - about 150 people take off. About a 30 to 45 minute ride to the campsite where dinner is already there. Dinner was perfect. Steak and fixins. The signing and cowboy coffee by a fire. You can visit more with your guides and pet the horses. Then load up and head back. We had a far off bear spotting in the valley we were in.
• As we still had an hour maybe two of sunlight / twilight decision was made to head back to Cody via Lamar Valley then out the NE gate and back down Chief Joseph Highway. Lamar Valley was full
of life. Many herds of buffalo and various deer. No wolves spotted.
• Out the gate NE gate and through the cute little towns of Silver Gate & Cooke City. Then Chief Joseph in pitch dark. What an adventure! It was very winding and crazy. https://goo.gl/maps/xzrcGN4gzsj
Back late to the hotel.
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