Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Wyoming or the people that live there, this is simply the very opinionated musings of a person who only explored the state as experienced on a single highway. Don’t hate me Wyoming. I don’t know what it is like to be born into ownership of a 7,000 acre plot of dry grass and grayish pebbles. I only imagine this is why you are all there, but back to your perfect smile, Yellowstone.
Even though we showed up in summer without reservations, we managed to land a very nice camping spot next to Indian Creek, which is on the north end of the park. We spent our two days there hitting all the big attractions. We saw buffalo and elk, watched mud pots boil and geysers spew, and we were even lucky enough to get drenched by Old Faithful. We also had the rare opportunity to watch the Beehive Geyser erupt (apparently a less faithful occasion), and find ourselves face to face with a badger.
I don’t know what the rest of you know about badgers, but Youtube has led me to believe that they are a force not to be reckoned with. Imagine my surprise when I am crouched down building a fire, only to raise my eyes and find my self looking one in the face a mere 5 feet away. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I shrieked and ran, but I believe my response to have been comparable to the dance one does after walking face first into an occupied spider web. Once I regained my composure, I backed away slowly and advised Katie to do the same. Naturally, I went for the camera, figuring I could at least bludgeon the creature to death if it got too close for a comfortable Kodak moment. It soon became apparent that the critter had no interest in us whatsoever and instead went about its business of nuzzling the dirt with its nose. I snapped some pictures, dressed my hotdog, and ate it in slight discomfort sitting cross-legged on top of the picnic table.
This morning we woke up, badger free, and drove out of the northeastern entrance of the park and into an increasingly drab landscape. But not before scaling the “Top of the World” in my loaded to capacity, four-cylinder banging Tacoma. At one point during today’s twelve hours in the car, we were at an elevation just shy of 11,000 feet. This impresses me in two ways; One, I am impressed that the truck didn’t explode into a huge fireball of doom, and Two, I’m more impressed because when I went skydiving a few years ago it was at an elevation of 12,000 feet. We were quite literally driving above the clouds and it was amazing. Then we sank down into 400 miles of yellowish colored country that resembled a state. (If you have ever flown from one coast to the other and looked down and wondered to yourself what that big yellow square is, it’s the eastern 90% of Wyoming). This lovely drive continued on for what seemed like eternity until all of a sudden it began to get interesting again. There were some eye-catching red plateaus covered in green grass and even a few clusters of trees sipping from a gentle stream. My spirit was once again resurrected with a sparkle of hope for Wyoming just in time to cross over the state line into South Dakota. Oh….why, hello Rapid Springs, South Dakota. Mind if we stop a while?