Yellowstone National Park
JR and I took the dogs to Yellowstone National Park on Saturday, 8/17. We got a late start getting organized and getting food pre-chopped, cooked, and packed for camp dinners. We hit two construction delays – one at the top of the pass and one in the park. It added an hour to what should have been a two hour trip. Yuck. Timber, after having turned twelve this summer, doesn’t do so well on car rides anymore. We thought he would be the problem, but JR dealt with this for the majority of the drive:
Keep in mind, the dogs had the run of 2/3rds of the back of the car.
Timber was a bit of a basket case though. Mr. Huffy Puffy got anxious and we were wishing we’d brought his Valium for the ride. JR and I could have used one each. Ha ha ha. Knocking Timmy out for any trip over an hour is the way to go. Lesson learned.
We got to our campsite around 5pm. It was pretty full. At the end of last season, we bought a new tent specifically for car (drive in) camping. It’s the biggest tent either of us has ever assembled. It has one “room” for us and one “room” for the dogs. Ahhh…. In about 30 minutes, we went from this
Way to go REI. Easiest setup ever.
JR built a fire so we could cook dinner which consisted of foil packets with peppers, onions, chicken and spices. Pretty tasty for camp food!
Scarlett did really well. She does a lot of what we refer to as “random barking” so I was a bit concerned about all the strangers and strange sounds around. She did really well. We did have to tie her up while we finished setting up camp. She was not a fan of that situation. A few laps around the camp loop did the trick to settle her down. She laid by the fire and us for the rest of the night and took in all the goings-on like a champ. She even ignored the little “Cujos” that walked by barking at her. My Best Girl.
Timber, on the other hand, never got out of his “huffy puffy” phase. We were hoping that since he’d missed his mid-morning nap, his mid-afternoon nap, his early evening nap, etc., that he would sleep all night. Not. So.Much. He huffed, and he puffed, and he kept us up all night. So much for a “two room” tent. A thin, silky room divider does not do much to muffle the panting. Poor boy. I went from feeling terrible for him and trying to think of something I could do for him (does he need water? does he need to “get busy?” is he hungry now after refusing dinner?) to wanting to strangle him. Mostly I felt bad for taking him out of his routine and stressing him out. If a human year is seven dog years then he is 84 years old. We would do well to remember this.
As is the norm with tent camping, we were up with the sun. I was thankful for the sun because it got cold that night. I even had to put the “hood” of my sleeping bag over my head. That worked really well.
On Sunday morning, JR built another fire so we could cook breakfast – egg, sausage, cheese, and potato hash. Again, for camp food, it was not bad. It did take forever to cook considering we had no coffee and we were starving.
That day, we retraced our steps from 2005 to the Brink of the Lower Falls, Artist Point, Inpiration Point, and Fishing Bridge areas. Some pictures:
We went from Sunday which looked like this:
To Monday which looked like this:
There was a “managed” fire burning near Canyon Village. Here’s a picture of what we could see on Sunday:
During the middle of Sunday night, the wind shifted and we woke up to a heavy smell of smoke. When we got up, the campground was in a haze of smoke. But back to earlier Sunday…
We had snacks Sunday afternoon somewhere in between Canyon Village and Fishing Bridge and let the dogs get their feet wet in the Yellowstone River.
Scarlett was what we like to call a “pink nightmare” being forced to wait to get in the water. Heaven forbid. Here she is being shamefully tied to a tree. On Monday, this area was roped off due to the fire and there were bison swimming in the water!
Sunday night brought us tomato, garlic, & bacon soup with grilled cheese (for me) and grilled cheese and fried salami for JR. Mmmmm….
Dogs walks and Rummy 500 kept us busy until the fire went out and we went to bed. You know it has been a good day when you can achieve this:
The clouds from the night before had passed, and IT GOT COLD. At about 3am I was lying in my sleeping bag wondering why I brought long johns if I wasn’t going to put them on. Same thing about my winter cap. Sigh. Lesson number two learned. When you are cold, forget claustrophobia and wigwam up!
Monday morning we got up and in need of coffee, went to the Canyon Village restaurant for breakfast. Coffee! Scrambled eggs! French toast oh my! It was good. It was also interesting. I remember from our last visit that the staff have their home city/country printed on their name tags. I wonder how many countries are represented by park staff? I wish I would have known you could work at a national park as a kid. What an experience that must be! I couldn’t have done it though – I would have been way too homesick.
After breakfast, we broke our campsite down in record time. We even got the tent folded and back into its original sack! Score one for the Hunts!
We hit the road looking for a place the dogs could swim and wash off some of the campground dirt. Boy, did I forget how dirty camping is! My fingernails still have dirt in them.
JR found the perfect swim spot at Buffalo Bill State Park. Easy access, easy in, easy out. Fun was had by all.
That is, until Timber did not want to leave, sat himself down in the water, and became a statue rooted to the ground. I swear that dog can make himself weigh twice his actual weight when he doesn’t want to move. Scarlett, freshly rinsed, noticed Timber was still in the water, got mad, tried her hardest to drag me back down the hill to the water and being denied, decided to root around in the dirt.
WET DOG + DIRT + 80 pounds of intent = EXTREME MUD
I don’t think my nearly white yellow lab has ever been so dirty. Fun was now NOT being had by all! Lesson number three: bring more than two dog towels.
After Timber was lured back up to the jeep with a little help from a slice of salami (thank you Oscar Meyer), we got back on the road. As soon as we hit Red Lodge, we took Scarlett to the dog wash. She smells minty fresh now. How I wish it would last longer than twelve hours! And, I prefer to take my baths at home, but I got a pretty good one at the dog wash!
When we got home, we walked next door to feed the neighbors’ horses and watched another beautiful sunset.
Another day in paradise. Life is good.