Our morning drive into Lamar Valley led us into several welcome traffic jams with herds of bison, giving us an opportunity to see their babies play and their mating season in full swing. We even had a chance to check out wolves- once nearby at a wolf den and another from the valley wolf watchers who had spotting scopes. We observed 2 wolves chasing a pack of bison around the drinking hole area. Small creatures in comparison, but with such power and authority.
We continued down the Charles Scenic Highway where we spotted signs for horseback riding at the Skyline Ranch. Since I had never been horseback riding, we spontaneously checked out the ranch. While they were full, they were nice enough to refer us to their friends at K&Z Ranch in Cody, Wyoming further down the road. There, our guide Casey took us on a 90 minute horseback ride through the Shoshone National Forest. My horse Bojangles was quite the gentle horse, and his knowledge of the hills and how to maneuver the rugged and steep terrain was remarkable. At the point I stopped “driving” and let him guide me, I truly began enjoying the natural beauty around me. We saw sand hill crane babies splashing in a stream, stunning views of Cathedral Ledge close up, and grand views of Bear Tooth Mountain among others.
We carried on to Bear Tooth Highway on a long stretch of road to a beautiful overlook of the valley, giving us an opportunity to warm up our hiking legs on large rock formations. Afterward we continued to the town of Red Lodge, WY, and realizing we were 3 hours from base, we headed back. We retraced our steps up and down the mountain and headed to the waterfalls at the Grand Canyon.
We saw Yellowstone falls from several angles – lower falls “north rim”, where were close to the roaring falls, lower falls “south rim”, where we could see the stretch of rapids protruding from the falls point, upper falls, and also from Artists’s Point, which served as my favorite of the viewing locations. The pastel colored mountains lit with a setting sun were breathtaking. The pink pastel hearts in the mountainside reminded us of the love and beauty and around us. We ended the day with a rich sunset view over the valley, worthy of a stop off from the long ride, and a celebratory champagne back at the Mammoth Lodge.
Yellowstone National Park, Yellowstone National Park, WY, United States