Looping in Yellowstone on the way to Cody, Wyoming

The bright sun and the heat of July have made it to the Northwest. Fortunately, there is virtually no humidity (still hot just not so sweaty). We left Idaho and stopped to hike the North Rim Trail of the Grand Canyon area of Yellowstone. We were given instructions at the Visitor Center on how to be noisy hikers to keep the bears at bay, eek! (Keep up a loud conversation, clap, whistle, occasionally say “hey bears..stay away!”) We might have appeared crazy, but we followed directions and are unscathed. As we exited the one mile wooded path, where we never crossed another hiker, we arrived at another trailhead where there were so many tourists it startled us more than wild animals. The trail was filled with amazing views of the gorge and the waterfall. The most challenging area was a steep path called Red Rocks which brought us down switchbacks to a wonderful view of the lower falls, the deep canyon and the Yellowstone River. Ascending was more difficult with lots of inviting places to catch our breath and another view.We then headed to the Fishing Bridge and Lake area. Several of the hikes were closed either for repairs or too much wildlife. We did pass some bison.We stopped at a breathtakingly serene overlook. We were alone, looking at 30 mile long Lake Yellowstone. We were facing south towards Jackson, WY.Yellowstone’s Eastern entrance leads you through the picturesque Wapiti Valley on the way to Cody. Here we passed a very unique building. After a photo from the road and a little internet research we learned that it is The Smith Mansion. (grand word). Turns out, a local engineer and builder, Lee Smith, began building a home for his family and then went a little nuts adding wooden terraces and staircases from local logs he collected. Tragically, he fell and died while working on a balcony. His daughter is attempting to restore the home and give tours.We passed white water rafters and crazy shaped mountains and arrived in Cody in time for dinner and a show. The downtown is filled with cowboy stores and restaurants including Buffalo Bill Cody’s restaurant and hotel “The Irma”. We enjoyed a great dinner, learned that Irma was Buffalo Bill Cody’s favorite daughter, and even sat near a few real cowboys.After dinner, we went to a musical review about Bill Cody’s traveling western show. The Wild West Spectacular is a sweet show written and produced by a local Cody family. The show made us smile and was the perfect night cap.

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