Day 14: Friday, September 28 – Buffalo, WY to Yellowstone National Park

  • It takes us 3 hours to get out each morning no matter how hard we try or how we change our routine. It’s 3 hours. We must accept it. Ok – 3 hours later – we left on the long road to Yellowstone. First up – incredible scenery and up and over a mountain. 8,500 feet or so, winding switchbacks and heading into Big Horn National Forest.
  • Towns are few and far between in this big ol’ Wyoming. Once you get to one, it might be a dot. Like Emblem, WY, population 10 (so says the sign). We stopped in Cody, WY, population 10,000 – megametropolis – founded by Buffalo Bill Cody as the gateway to Yellowstone and a whole wild west vibe. His hotel, Irma, (named for his daughter) is still here and still open for biz. We lunched here and strolled the main street.

  • Back on the road to Yellowstone, which purported to be 68 miles, but it turns out that was just to the east entrance to the Park and we are heading to the southwest entrance. Another 70 winding miles. Again, fantastic scenery, crazy weather patterns and animal sightings. Just when we were giving up hope on seeing animals, we struck gold with a major elk sighting! Here’s what we learned:
  1. Elk are in mating season now.
  2. The male (bull) makes a bugling horn call to impress the babes (cows). A good bull will have a harem of babes, possibly up to 20.
  • So, lucky us, we witnessed a bull (10 point rack) and 8 cows hanging out. The bull bugled 3 times, at least, and the cows responded with their own call. It seemed to us that the sistahs were more or less doing their own thing, calling to each other, and were generally unimpressed with Mr. Bull.
  • We met a Google-Earth photographer scoping out the park for a future Google project who filled us in on elk behavior. So we think the bull was about 8 years old – in his prime! One sistah hung with him but the others totally wandered off. We did like his bugling, however. Later we saw a young bull, only a 4 point rack, who had his paltry harem of 2. Go young bull!!
  • Our accommodations here in Yellowstone are in cabins. However, a little less appealing than our Badlands cabins. Well… quite a bit less. Bordering on skeevy.

Jersey Junction

Lame today. We saw 5 cars from Jersey on the road, in Cody and in Yellowstone but no encounter. Our Google photographer was singularly uninterested in discussing Jersey except to note that it is at sea level while were were at 8,000 feet. That’s it!

Theme of the Day: The Elk’s Club

Up Next: Stay in Yellowstone