On day 3 of my road trip out to Oregon, Jennifer and I drove across the 9th largest state in the nation – Wyoming. It was beautiful. We had drove through our first mountains and reached our highest elevation on day 3. One of the first things we did for the day was visit Devil’s Tower National Monument. Devil’s Tower is an igneous intrusion where molten magma was forced into sedimentary rocks and when cooled, fractured columns were created. It stands 867 feet above the base and the base itself has a diameter of about 1,000 feet. Devil’s Tower was named the first National Monument in 1906 by Theodore Roosevelt under the Antiquities Act.
We did a little bit of hiking around the base of the Tower. Nothing too strenuous and we were rewarded. There was this beautiful lookout point to the area beside the Tower.
Our main goal for the day was to reach our lodge (Mammoth Hot Springs) in Yellowstone by evening, since it was the only place we actually made reservations. To do that we went through the Bighorn National Forest and went through our first chunk of mountains. We drove through the Powder River Pass and reached our highest elevation for the trip (9,666 feet!). This is where we encountered our first snow on the trip.
It was an interesting day. At one point, Carla, Jennifer’s GPS, had us turn down a dirt road (and not by mistake). We also made a stop in Cody. We had dinner at The Irma: Buffalo Bill’s Original Hotel in the Rockies. Being a farm girl in my childhood, one of things I noticed was the lack of crops in the fields. There was a lot of grazing land with a lot of cattle in the areas that we drove through.
We also saw our first bison in the Shoshone National Forest before we got to Yellowstone. That was pretty cool. Once we got into Yellowstone, we also passed a bison that was just walking down the road on the shoulder.
Day 3 ended with quite the adventure. We arrived at Yellowstone’s East Entrance a bit before dusk. The first part of the drive was stunning because everything was covered with varying degrees of snow, plus the evening light. Then, it got dark and started to snow. Imagine the starfield screen saver, except more intense, plus some steam off the road, for 2 hours. We were so happy to make it to our lodge without any incidents (like more bison walking on the road). I was so excited that I hugged a post at our lodge’s entry area. I just kept thanking Jennifer for driving in that. I would have been too freaked out. Thank goodness for Carla though because we were able to tell what was coming up on the route!
As with the other road trip posts, I took all the pictures. Stay tuned for my next post – it will be about our day in Yellowstone National Park!