Bighorn National Forest

Activity Date: 
09/23/2003 - 09/25/2003

From Grand Teton, we traveled north and then east thru Yellowstone National Park on our way to Bighorn National Forest. The drive from Yellowstone to Bighorn was incredibly beautiful. Apparently, Teddy Roosevelt once proclaimed that the 50 miles between east Yellowstone and the town of Cody, WY, were the most scenic in America.

 

Scenic cliffs

Here's a road view right out our window...

Road view out window

We stopped at a small town, Pahaska Tepee, for lunch (good buffalo burgers!). This was one of the lodges that Buffalo Bill built way back when for Yellowstone visitors.

Lunch in Pahaska Tepee

After lunch, we went back to the RV and found Punkin snoozing with Caper just inside the doorway...

Caper and Punkin

We loaded back up and hit the road, continuing on towards Bighorn NF. Pixie took her regular spot on Cynthia's lap. Yes, Jeff took the picture while driving... :)

Pixie on lap

Here's a cute shot of Jessie during the drive. She had her head resting over the couch arm.

Jessie head on couch

Here's our RV on the highway from one of the viewpoints.

RV parked at view point

Shell Falls was at the foot of the Bighorn National Forest. 

Shell Falls

Wildflowers at Shell Falls

I wish I could have taken pictures of our drive into the Bighorns. It was awesome. The road was lined on both sides with tall cliff walls. We climbed from about 4500 feet to 7500 feet before eventually stopping at Shell Creek campground in the Bighorn  National Forest. It was a great campground. We stayed there several days and no one else was there. Just us and the wandering deer and cattle. :) Here is our campsite.

Shell Creek camp site

Shell Creek was right behind our campsite. As usual, the dogs had fun playing in the water.

Jessie by Shell Creek

And, as usual, Oreo did not get wet...

Oreo at Shell Creek

Of course, while the dogs were playing, the cats were napping. This is a cool shot of Punkin thru the window. The hills in the background are viewed out the front window. I think he's relaxed...

Sun intoxicated Punkin

Much of the Bighorns is dramatic cliffs and canyons, along with the plateau at the top.

Canyon with creek

The colors of the rock walls were kind of a rosy-brown. Hard to see in the pictures, but they were colorful.

Colorful cliffg

On our drive across the plateau, we finally saw a moose! When we saw it, there wasn't any place to pull the car over safely. So, we had to drive about a mile to find a place to turn around, come back to the spot, park and walk over to where the moose was. By that time it was ahead of us and hid in the bushes. Amazing how a huge moose can just disappear into the bushes. But, we waited until it came out and ran across the road and away.  It's hunting season, so the moose was understandably nervous about humans. Too bad I didn't have the long lens on the camera...

Moose on road

Moose in field

We took a great hike up the Bucking Mule Falls trail. It's about 5 miles or so roundtrip and climbs way up for an incredible view.

 View at Bucking Mule Falls

Another view at Bucking Mule Falls

At the last part of the hike, the trail went over to the cliff area pictured above. There was a hitching post for horses, so we hooked the dogs up to wait for us there.

Dogs awaiting

Back at the campsite, we got ready for a BBQ.

Jeff and dogs at picnic table

 The Bighorns were incredible, we'd love to go back. We finally had to leave and head east towards the Black Hills. On our way out, we found out why you see signs all over Wyoming that say "Open range, loose stock". Going down the mountains, the highway was blocked by a herd of range cattle. The cowboys were out trying to round them up. It was pretty funny. Cars and trucks just had to wait.

Cattle on highway

Eventually, the cowboys got the cattle going one direction down the highway. We figured that there was a place for them to herd them off the road around the corner, but nope! When we were able to drive through, we  noticed that they had quite a long ways to go down the highway before they would be able to get the cattle off.

Cattle and cowboys

Here is the herd as we drove by. Wow, there was a LOT of loud Moooo'ing!

Cattle along road way

Then we were on the road again, looking at the beautiful Bighorns along the road on our way east.

Scenic road way