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Yellowstone, bears, Cody & Deadwood.

Posted on May 7, 2015 at 11:25 PM

Well, since we last wrote we have spent 4 or 5 days in Yellowstone National Park….. and we found BEARS!!! YAYYYYYY!! More about that later.

You know, I can’t believe how much the scenery changes in one day. In the past week, we have gone from UTAH, to IDAHO, to MONTANA, to WYOMING and now currently just got into SOUTH DAKOTA.

Just today we left a coolish Wyoming and went from rolling hills of pine trees, to flat boring land, to white ice all over the land including a frozen lake, then back to dry hills full of orange and pink layers, with hardly any trees or grass, then back to undulating hills with canyons and ragged sandstone outcrops. Just in one day!!

The one thing we did not realise until we were on the road, is that some of the roads are still closed.

We have been REALLY fortunate so far, cause it was just by chance that we learnt that Yellowstone West gate was open early and we could go in now…. But it also meant, that there was not so many people there yet, and the hotel at Mammoth, the northern part of the park, also opened,…. So for us… we were pretty lucky we chatted to those Aussie girls we met that day at Bryce.

We see some great cars too.!! Some of the weird looking things that they do is have dual wheels on the back of their F350. Naturally, the extra tyre doesn’t fit in the wheel arch, (which would make it illegal back home), so over here, they just extend the wheel arches and bingo,.. problem solved. (actually I think they just sell them that way now). But also seen some really cool older cars and bikes…. A lot of you guys out there would be drooling.


So, back to Yellowstone. First, we visited the Bear and Wolf Discovery centre just outside the national park. This place has a few rescued bears and wolves so you can see & learn about them just in case you miss out in the park. Naturally we were pretty excited about finding the ‘wild’ bears and wolves in their ‘own home’ in the park. Have to say, the first couple of days really let us down and we didn’t think we would see any. So we concentrated on the southern end of the park to begin with, seeing the canyons & hot springs, next day we did the middle section of the park where Old Faithful was, and as her name says… she did not let us down… she blew her top in all her glory around every 45 min, and lasted for around 2 minutes.


Aside from the seeing the waterfalls, geysers & hot springs etc etc, (yep,… we did PLENTY of walking again)… we found quite a few other critters we have not seen before, so that made it nice for us. We found Mule Deer, (they have huge ears like a mule), Elk, Pronghorn, Longhorn Sheep, Marmot, different squirrels than we have seen before, oh, and the Chipmunk….. he is cute, but WAY smaller than I had expected…. Not much bigger than a mouse!!! We also found a couple of Moose, but it was disappointing to realise that the Elk and the Moose don’t have their great antlers at the moment….. they both shed them each year and now is the time that they are just starting to re-grow. Never mind, at least we saw them!!


BISON, they were pretty much everywhere, and seemed pretty relaxed walking down the roads in front of the cars, then passing right by you without a care in the world….. this was their home and they knew it. Actually it was pretty cool to have this HUGE beast with his HUGE head pass by within patting distance. (no I didn’t). As we drove along one day, we found a group of people stopped on the road, so naturally we got out with the Canon D7 in hand with it’s 50 -500 lens. There was Coyote who was out on the hunt. It was great to watch him sniff out and stalk a mouse, or something small in the grass, then of-course he would leap on it…. And lost it… so had to start again. Yep, we followed that Coyote from the opposite bank of the river for quite a ways. Having the chance to watch the animals in their own world is such a reward you can’t imagine. We also were lucky enough to see a grey/black wolf, not for very long, and more of a distance…. But it was gorgeous to see him trotting along. All happened too quick for my camera. Apparently there is a female wolf there with cubs and these males have accepted them and are looking after them all. Quite a rare event.


So, back to the bears. Our first sighting was pretty dismal. We again stopped at a large group of people with big lens and scopes. (oodles of scopes here). “There is a GRIZZLY over there”….. ‘’,over there…. OVER WHERE??? Well to say the least, it was a LONG way. I could barely tell one end of the bear to the other, but took a couple of shots hoping to see ‘something’. Yep, it was a grizzly all right. The only one we saw in the wild…. But… it counted anyway. Next, same thing happened again, but this time with a black Bear. We were happy to finally see these guys in the wild, but we were really hopeful of seeing them a little closer, (like we are use to in Africa)…. Well, our wishes were finally answered. Not once, but twice.!!


The first one being a mother black bear who had 2 cubs, … they were closer than the previous bears, but still within the trees and bushes. The cubs had been hiding right up the top of the tall tree, (which they do for protection), then the mother has to climb all the way up to get the cubs down. When she did this, it was great, it was hard to see, and the light was fading slightly, but we were able to see the mother & the 2 brown coloured cubs running and playing, until the cubs ran up the tree again.

Next day, as we were heading to the same spot, we saw a black object on the side of the road… and there in front of us was a different black bear, who also had 2 black cubs … right there in front of us…. You could not believe how excited we were. Naturally we could not get out the car, or drive right up to her…. That would just scare her off…. But we had a great couple of minutes watching as she turned her kids around and sent them back up the hill. It was magic!!!!

So I guess you can imagine our absolute astonishment when the next morning, as we are leaving the park, we find the first mum (with brown cubs), crossing the road so she could go for a swim in the lake. So, there we are, with almost another 100 people standing on the side of the road filming this bear as she casually takes her swim then heads back across the road, back up the tree, bring down the cubs, and watch them playing again. I tell you,… we were BUSTING. We could not of asked for anything more.!!


Leaving the Park, we went through a few small towns, and it really is like those shows you see on tv. Just a few wooden buildings, log homes with piles of fire wood stacked up the front. Our last couple of days were in a town called CODY. This place is significant cause it is the great BUFFALO BILL (William Cody) has his roots here. There is huge museum about Buffalo Bill and his Western Wild West show that he travelled with all over America as well as England and even Paris. Actually, it was REALLY interesting seeing about his life. He was not just a fast gun slinger, scout and tracker, he was quite the entrepreneur!! He started quite a few business’ that helped the country grow…. Was even a big part of getting Yellowstone National park on it’s feet. There is a lot more to that man than we realised and the museums really helped explain it. It was also good to have a beer and chat with the locals in IRMA’s Hotel. That was the hotel that Buffalo Bill built for his only surviving daughter, Irma.


From there, we have driven past Sundance…. Yep, you got it, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid….. but we didn’t get to stop at this one. (SOME MANY ICONS…. So little time, it is really hard deciding which ones to visit). We drove straight through to DEADWOOD. This is the western town that BILL HICKOK was shot dead while he played cards in the saloon. Once again…. We walk in the steps of history. Where Bill was shot, where his assassin was arrested and where Bill Hickok and CALAMATY JANE are buried along side each other in the Mt. Mariah Cemetery at the top of the hill over looking Deadwood.


Our biggest problem we find, is that the more we look, the more we find. SO MUCH HISTORY, and all those names and stories that many of us grew up with watching the cowboys and Indians. It’s real, it’s here. We went to one Indian reservation museum and spent about an hour talking to a SHOSHONE Indian woman who was happy to relay the stories of her life and the life of her tribes. We have other Indian places to visit as well. Their history is fascinating, and once again, the more we read, the more we learn and are amazed.

The one thing we keep finding consistently, over all the countries we have travelled, is, why is it, it’s history, that when white man arrived, he destroys all the native people and their ways. What is it with white man???? I don’t get it….. not just here in America,… but Australia, - - Africa… . We see the same pattern everywhere white man goes. That is just talking about the native people…. Don’t get me started on the animal world.


Well, enough of my babble. Our heads are just bursting with so much information and sights and sounds it is just mind-boggling.

Time for me to put this baby to bed and get some photos into the gallery. HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO ALL YOU MUMS OUT THERE…… ESPECIALLY A COUPLE OF VERY SPECIAL YOUNG MOTHERS.



That’s all for now pardners. Nighty- night.



Categories: Yellowstone, cowboys, indians & canyons. May 2015

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