Saturday, March 19, 2011

Jellystone Park - Part 1

 I lived in Australia from the ages of 9 through 16, and grew up there sitting on the living room floor every Saturday morning watching Hanna Barbera cartoons in black and white.
The Flintstones, Tom and Jerry, The Jetsons, Quick Draw McGraw, Huckleberry Hound - I loved them all.
One of those crazy cartoons that I watched on our 4-channel TV was Yogi Bear.
I happily watched Yogi and Boo Boo and greatly enjoyed all of their picnic stealing adventures in Jellystone Park as they eluded Ranger Smith.
So this young Norwegian-English-Australian girl was very surprised when she moved to Canada and learned that there actually was a national park named Yellowstone (HEY - that sounds just like JELLYSTONE!!), and that there actually was a baseball manager by the name of Yogi Berra.
Who knew???
My Mountain Boy, my Jamie-dog and I drove about 48 miles the other day towards Yellowstone, until we reached a Road-Closed sign blocking our way and the sight of unploughed road in front of us, and we had to turn back.
We were only a couple of miles from the main entrance to the park.
We left Cody that morning in warm and sunny weather, and by the time we were only 20 miles from town found ourselves in snow covered mountain territory.
By the time we turned around and headed back to town we were in deep snow country.
It was a wonderful, exciting, beautiful drive..............

Not too far out of town..........
 We came across a small herd of bighorn mountain sheep grazing in the snow on the side of a hill and stopped to take a few quick pictures before continuing on............
 A few miles further down the highway we came across a small herd of buffalo quietly sitting and eating on the side of yet one more hill.
Even though we had left Cody in warmth and sunshine, we soon began to hit small bands of snow on our journey.
The whole day we climbed further into the mountains and were constantly met with changing weather.
One minute it was sunny, the next cloudy, the next snowy, the next cloudy again.
It changed constantly..............
 Black tail deer crossed the road, stood alert and watched us for a few minutes while I leaned against the truck and took pictures of them, and then they ran further into the woods.
Cody proper has deer all over the place.
I have never lived in a town where so many deer can be seen inside the city limits.
We have seen small herds constantly - walking down the roads and sidewalks, eating vegetation in people's yards - they are everywhere, and the town people and the town deer seem to coexist very happily together.............
 The highway followed a wide stream for most of our trip and I took this picture while waiting for a large construction truck to move out of the roadway so we could continue on.
Road crews were working to lay rocks along the river to help stop erosion and prevent the river from "wandering" closer to the highway.
I have been told by many locals that Cody is an extremely busy town during the summer.  
The informal "gateway to the park".
In a few months this highway we were traveling will be filled with tourists.  
All of the snow filled and closed campgrounds we passed will be filled.  
There will be wall to wall traffic traveling at a snails pace.  
There will be multiple vehicles pulled along the highway taking pictures of the constant wildlife.
But the other day, close to the end of winter, and close to the start of spring, we passed less than 10 vehicles during our entire 96 mile return trip...............
 A short while later I asked LC to pull off the road so that I could take pictures of the river, complete with snow on both banks and mountains in the background.
I climbed out of the truck, looked to my right and was very surprised to see another small herd of mountain sheep.
It was just sheer dumb luck that we stopped here and that we saw this herd...........
This was the river that we stopped to photograph.
It was quiet and it was beautiful and if I did not mention specifically that this picture was taken outside Yellowstone Park in Wyoming it could just as easily have been taken right outside of Juneau in Alaska........... 
 Taken only a couple of miles before we had to turn the truck around and begin to head back..........
 One small cabin sitting up on a hill in the now-deep-snow close to the Road Closed barrier, only a couple of miles from the main gate...........
 We stopped at this place - still closed for the season - took some pictures of the mountains that were surrounding us - realized that it was snowing heavily but was not cold - realized how much we were both enjoying this trip of exploration - and then finally began to head back towards Cody............

What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. 

It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. 

It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.........Crowfoot Quote

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