Saturday, September 14, 2013

Walking in West Yellowstone

I must make an embarrassing admission.  I had no idea how big Yellowstone is.  We haven't really spent that much time in the western national parks. Yesterday was 160 miles in the truck.  Coming back to the RV park was just brutal; lots of slow moving cars, critter clots, and people towing too much trailer for their pickup.  We abandoned our idea of a "day trip" to the Grand Tetons.  It would just be too far, and the area really deserves more than a fly-by.  We're going to come back next year and stay in Moran.
Since it was pouring again this morning, we got off to a slow start.  Jim dumped tanks and I backed up four months of photos.  About time!  Then we went in to the town of West Yellowstone to look at stuff.
This is the old Union Pacific depot.  It has been turned into a nice little museum.

This is how people used to get around on the snow.  This thing has three skids.  The sign said they were prone to rolling over.

It's powered by a Continental Aircraft engine.  Yes, those crazy Montana guys bolted airplane engines on their snow mobiles and took off in the winter.

Yellowstone was one of the first National Parks.  When it was formed, no money was allotted for its maintenance.  Poachers and vandals ran rampant until the US Army was brought in to restore order.  Once that happened, tourism followed.  You had to be tough to vacation there in the early days.  This is how you got there.

The museum had a couple of  stuffed horses that were very realistic.

The Union Pacific really opened the area to tourism.  They built the line into West Yellowstone, and made it possible for people to get there.  The Milwaukee went in as well, going to the north entrance of the park.  It was a happy day when the snow was removed from the tracks, and food, mail and people returned to the area.
This is the U-P dining hall.  It's huge.  People would exit the train, and head for the dining room, being welcomed by the staff.  It's not open to the public to walk through, people can rent it for special events like weddings.

One can, however, sneak in the back door when staff is setting up for an event.  This is the small fireplace.

That's the big fireplace at the far end.  It's at least 20 feet tall.

After spending two days in the truck, it was nice to be on our feet, walking around looking at stuff.  We found a decent grocery store and restocked on produce. They even had jars of Maille cornichons.  I do love me some pickle juice in my tuna salad.


  1. I don't think a lot people realize the vastness of Yellowstone, not to mention the variety of features to explore. There are miles of walking required to see everything. Yellowstone is not for those in bad physical shape. We spent ten days there on our third visit and I still needed more time. It is a true wonder!

  2. we put over 200 miles in the car on Thursday to visit Kings Canyon ;) We have always done the Teton in a day trip, but like you said, it has never done it justice, it's just hard to get me out of Yellowstone. I am always on the hunt for the critters, mostly Moose in the Tetons :) Sorry the weather has been so bad for you, it's definitely staying on that side of the mountains, going to be another HOT one today here... At Sequoia & Kings Canyon Nat'l Parks :)

  3. I'm just getting caught up on a few days of your goodness you have been plagued with some sketchy weather at Yellowstone! Hans and I avoided the area in August figuring the crowds would be too much. I think going after Labor Day like you are makes the most sense and it seems one needs to allot at least two weeks to the area. Obviously we must put this on our list for a future visit...the scenery is stunning!