Sunday, October 21, 2007

Day 21: Yellowstone

We woke very early and checked out of our motel. We wanted to see as much of Yellowstone as possible and also to reach Rapid City by the end of the day so we could also hit the Badlands the next day. Yellowstone was, in a word, breathtaking. From the wildly varied landscape -- pine forest to Geysers to volcanic lakes -- to the free roaming wildlife -- we saw bison, a coyote, an elk, many deer -- the Grand Canyon is about the only place I can recall having had such an intense experience of the sublime. It's so big, so beautiful, your mind collapses in on itself trying to take it all in.

Since it was off-season, there was little traffic in the park, though there was enough to make you realize how awful it must be in-seasoon. Each time we stopped to look at a buffalo or an elk or whatever, 10 other cars would see us pulled over, rush into a spot on the side of the road, jump out, ask what we were looking at, and start filming. To be honest, we did the same. The highlight of the day was seeing a group of bison in the road. We stopped, watched several cross the road in front of us, then realized there was an entire herd at play in a field next to us. The video above says it all.

At the other end of the park, it snowed for a while. We drove across Wyoming, stopping in Cody for lunch. We ate at what is supposed to have been Buffalo Bill's favorite hotel/restaurant -- Irma. Amazing early 20th century woodwork, lots of taxidermy and pictures of Buffalo Bill -- nice, but a little scary too. We made it to Rapid City late that night, after 13 hours in the car.

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