On the way to Yellowstone

Thursday May 24 - Friday May 25, 2001

We left Illinois late on May 23 in order to pick up my step-daughter in Missouri at 9am the following morning. After meeting her and getting her stuff loaded in our already overflowing car we were off again. Drove through endless Iowa to South Dakota then straight across South Dakota into Wyoming. It wasn't until we hit a rest stop in South Dakota that I actually remembered to start taking pictures though!

At a rest area in South Dakota, just before we started to enter the Badlands area. I wish the clouds would have shown up in these pictures, they were extremely cool! Looked more like ocean waves coming into a beach than clouds in the sky.
South Dakota Rest Area

Entering the Badlands of South DakotaEntering the Badlands of South Dakota, picture taken through the car window so it's a little fuzzy. The hills in the distance were almost surreal, at this point we're very close to where the alien planet scenes of "Starship Troopers" were filmed. We're also close to the area where "Dances with Wolves" was filmed. Not too far from Wall Drug, where we stopped to get gas and have some dinner, it was too dark after that for more pictures. By the time the sun came up again we were on the other side of Wyoming.

Chief Joseph Sign

The sign post at the summit of Dead Indian Pass, notice the bullet holes! Oh yeah, we're definitely "out west" now!

the view from the summit of Dead Indian Pass

This is the view from the summit of Dead Indian Pass, on the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway (Rte 296) in western Wyoming, between Cody WY and Cook City MO. Yellowstone, looking down into Sunlight Basin. Unfortunately my picture taking skills were rather rusty and I was having a problem deciding f-stops (hence the funny sky colors) so they just don't do it justice! But you should be able to see from the collage how extraordinary the view was.

(taken from Gorp website)"The Chief Joseph Scenic Highway is part of the Nez Perce National Historic Trail. Chief Joseph's band of the Nez Perce Indians traveled this route on their 1,200 mile odyssey from their Oregon homeland to the Bearpaw mountains of northern Montana."

Looking at the road down the passLooking down from the scenic overlook at the road we'll be driving down the pass...lots of twistbacks! Notice the chipmunk sitting on the rock? There's a better picture of him on the Wildlife page.

Clarks Fork Canyon

Looking out over Clarks Fork the base of Sunlight Basin.
Clarks Fork Canyon

The next stop was Cody Wyoming where we stopped to have breakfast at Granny's Diner (best coffee we had on the whole trip!) after breakfast we headed out again towards Yellowstone, as I was driving then I didn't have a chance to get any pictures, but the drive was very pretty, although not what you'd expect being so close to Yellowstone, the surrounding land was dry and desert-like. I drove until we hit Cooke City Montana where we stopped for gas and to use the facilities. After that it was only a short way to the Northeast Gate of Yellowstone National Park.

Northeast Entrance to Yellowstone National Park

Of course, one of the first things we saw after entering the park was a bison beside the road (there are bison everywhere in the park, rare to drive more than half an hour without seeing another herd~!) This poor guy was so itchy, he was trying to find anything to use to scratch his itchy, shedding hide. Looks like that stump is doing the trick for now! Feels So Good!
Soda Butte A short ways into the park we came across this formation rising up in the middle of Lamar River Valley looking like it didn't belong there!

Sign says "This travertine (calcium carbonate) mound was formed more than a century ago by a hot spring. Only small amounts of geothermal water and hydrogen sulfide gas currently flow from this once more prolific spring. This Formation is very fragile. It is illegal to remove, deface or destroy any part of it."
Soda Butte Creek - there were countless bison tracks in the creekside mud, and a few wolf tracks as well!Soda Butte Creek
Lamaar Valley

Lamaar Valley

The Lamar River Valley - (from guide book) the Lamar River Valley whose broad open meadows were created by a great glacier 10,000 or more years ago during the last Ice Age. Granite glacial boulders are scattered over the terrain. Bison, elk, and pronghorn graze in the expansive meadows."

This valley was close to where we camped (Slough Creek) so we saw a lot of it during our time in the park. Seeing it's wide expanse was always a wonderful way to start our days.
Once we reached the campsite and got our tent set up, Doug took off for a hike (to get away from two cranky females no doubt!) and I lay down in the tent to take a much deserved nap. While i was sleeping my parents arrived and quickly got their camp set up as well.Camp - Day 1


View from Camp

View from behind our tent
And that concludes this day!
After my parents got there we set up camp,
made dinner and turned in early (we were all exhausted by then).


Page design and all photos copyright to Joelle Miller June 2001 unless otherwise noted. Unauthorized redistribution or reproduction of these images strictly prohibited and punishable by law.