When we woke up on day 11 (it was June 8th, 2015), it was time to leave Idaho and Yellowstone and start making our way East toward home. We still had lots and lots to see and do, but I remember being sad that day.
We got up, had breakfast, packed and cleaned and loaded the truck and headed out around 8:30am to pass through Yellowstone one last time. Our destination for the night… Calamity Peaks Lodge in Custer, South Dakota. According to Google, the drive would take about 10 hours… we knew that meant at least 14 hours for the Atwaters 😉
To squeeze in a little more Yellowstone (without stopping much), we took a different route than the previous two days and drove “straight through” the park (vs going south or going north – like the previous days) .
There were more hot springs and geysers… more mountains and streams and waterfalls and well… all the things…
(above) … snow still piled up next to a flowing stream/waterfall. So pretty! And we kept seeing snow too… quite a bit!
One thing I want to mention that we actually saw every day in Yellowstone but I didn’t mention previously were all the standing dead trees:
If you’re not familiar with the history of Yellowstone, there were massive, wide-spread wildfires in 1988 that destroyed a huge, huge part of the park. Now, almost 30 years later, there are still thousands of acres of the park covered with the standing dead trees.
I visited Yellowstone in 1986 before the fires (I was 10) and again in 1996 (after the fires) and then of course last year, in 2015. I don’t have tons of memories from that first trip but looking back through pics from that first trip vs. the second and third trip – there’s a startling difference!!
We also saw lots of wildlife in Wyoming on Day 11… not all inside Yellowstone. We saw more bison, more ducks… but we also saw a moose, mule deer, and pronghorn (no great pics – they were all pretty far away)…
Maybe the highlight of this last pass through was Yellowstone Lake. It was so beautiful … but then again, everything in Yellowstone was! We pulled over and let the kids “touch the water” at least once, but mostly we just snapped lots of pics and kept moving:
We drove around the perimeter of the lake for quite a bit and the landscape changed a lot from area to area… the water looked really green along this stretch!
OOOoh – and we drove through a tunnel too. I mentioned back when we were in Utah how I do not like tunnels, but the kids got a kick out of my disklike… ha!
After leaving Yellowstone, the drive across Wyoming was pretty but we were all tired and had lots of miles to cover so we didn’t stop a lot. I’m sure we had a picnic lunch that day somehwere, but I don’t even remember where. Here are a few pics that I took:
We traveled on some roads that are not open in the winter because of the snow. We dealt with that a little bit when we lived in Idaho years ago, but I’m always fascinated by how much snow they actually get in many areas out West.
See the orange poles in the picture below? I can’t tell you how tall they are, but they’re there so you can find the road when the snow is too deep. Can you imagine how much snow there’d have to be to only see the top of those orange poles sticking out?
And why would you be driving in that anyway?? Ha! Necessity, I guess!! As you can see – these were in Sheridan County, Wyoming.
And then there was the driving up and down seriously steep grades as we crossed over the Rocky Mountains. Richy hated seeing signs like this:
More prettiness in East Wyoming:
Oh… also the kids passed around the camera that day and got “close-ups” of the whole family. They might have gotten a little bored and stir-crazy with all the driving and not taking breaks 😉
The last picture on my camera for that day… the sunset in Wyoming. We drove for quite awhile longer after sunset, not arriving at hour lodge in South Dakota until nearly 10pm (nearly 14 hours after leaving Idaho). So I’ll leave you with that picture:
If you’ve missed previous posts – catch up on our 6000 mile road trip HERE!