Yellowstone National Park has four entrances, each beautiful in its own right. My favorite is the north entrance out of Gardiner, MT. That entrance contains the Roosevelt Arch dedicated to President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903. It was through that entrance that I entered the park this trip and it is where the new road was built and opened on October 22, 2023. Deb, Rex, and I spent a bit of time in Gardiner. We attend Mass there at St Willam’s and enjoyed a delightful breakfast after Mass at a small cafe tucked away on main street before heading back into the park to search for animals.
We weren’t as successful finding animals as we hoped we would be. Early on we saw a mother black bear with two cubs, but no grizzlies. There was road construction going to Lamar Valley, the best place to see animals. We didn’t want the long waits with the one lane traffic.
Parts of Yellowstone Park are not pretty. They are foul, dark, scary places and smell of rotting eggs. The worst is experienced in the Norris Basin. Often trails there are closed due to poisonous gas coming from the vents. Another of these repugnant places I can’t resist stopping to see when in the area is Dragon’s Mouth Spring . That place horrifies me and I imagine it as the gate to hell. Also near there are bubbling mud pots that stink of pig sty.
In the visitor’s center there was a display telling of the acidity of various springs in the park which I found most interesting. The acidity of Canary Spring, for example, is the same as you find in milk. The acidity of some of the Norris Basin springs would burn the flesh off your bones.
I spent four days in Yellowstone. It was time for me to travel on to the Black Hills to visit Judy. Deb and Rex were staying there for a few more days. Since I would be leaving at the east entrance and not wanting the stinking Dragon’s Mouth to be my last memory we head east to spend time at Lake Hotel on the edge of Yellowstone Lake. I have always wanted to get a room at that beautiful place but it is now too late as the rooms cost nearly $500.00 a night, which I cannot afford. There are less expensive cabins but that’s not the point. It is the hotel I have my eye on. We had a wonderful time there playing cards near the bar, drinking beer, listening to a lady play the piano. People were have a great time visiting and some were dancing. A number of guests were curious about the card game we were playing. Everyone was very friendly.
The Graves and I parted ways at that point and I drove east out of the park, through Cody, WY, making my way through beautiful, wild country of all sorts. I decided late in the day to get a place for the night. I was ready for a hot bath and a soft, warm, bed after five nights of sleeping in a vehicle. I found a little cabin to rent on the edge of Buffalo, WY for a reasonable price.
In the morning I stopped for fuel and a hot up of coffee. I climbed in my truck and continued going east. Hello, South Dakota, here I come.