Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wyoming & Montana

We made our way over to Wyoming and did a little drive through Montana to get to Yellowstone Park.

Our first stop in WY was the Devil's Tower, which is an impressive 867 feet (264 meters) from summit to base. Most Native American folklore tells of a giant bear or beast that made claw marks o the sides of a tree or mountain. The most interesting story is of a guy in 1941 named George Hopkins who "parachuted onto Devils Tower, without permission, as a publicity stunt resulting from a bet. He had intended to descend by a rope dropped with him, but this failed to land on the tower summit. Hopkins was stranded for six days, exposed to cold, rain and 50 mph winds before a mountain rescue team finally reached him and brought him down."

It's really hard to see in this pic, but on the sides of the tower you can see the small remnants of wooden ladders used by early explorers to climb the monument. 

Beautiful wide open roads.

In Montana, we only passed through for the day and stopped at the Battle of Little Bighorn of 1876, which was an overwhelming victory for the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho, led by several major war leaders, including Crazy Horse and Chief Gall, inspired by the visions of Sitting Bull against George Custer and his men. There was definitely some pro-Custer bias going on at this monument in the markers and the historical explanations. However, it was interesting to see how the battle played out.

Graves of the fallen American soldiers.

Only grave markers for the Native Americans.

Beautiful sculpture honoring the Native Americans who fought in the battle.

We then made our way back to Wyoming and to Yellowstone National Park. The entire park was unfortunately not yet open (e.g. it would still be a few weeks until the lake area was open), so we'll have to make our way back out there again. On the pro side of being there so early, it was not very crowded.

Near the entrance of the park were multiple elk grazing.

A wild elk taking an early morning stroll through the town.

Very gorgeous and diverse scenery.

We had to drive through herds of bison. They weren't scared at all of the tiny prius or trucks, but they ran by our RV quickly in fear. We were the predator car!

Make haste, bison!

Suspicious of our intentions.

Ok, it's hard to see, but that black blob under the tree is a black bear! It had attracted quite the crowd of humans from the other side of the river.

There are also a large number of active geysers. 

Elk taking advantage of the warm geyser ground.

The park is so big, we spent a long time just driving around and eating lunches in the RV while admiring the scenery.

Typical Californians in the snow.


Geyser vapors + bison.

Old Faithful geiser.

This was a favorite: Red Spouter. Geyser mixed with red clay.

Sunset Lake thermal pool with an awesome array of colors.

Looks like a swimming pool. A very dangerous swimming pool.

Grand Prismatic Spring.

Brown bear. Also had a large human following.

At the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

More baby bison :)

Next stop, Utah!

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