The Great Road Trip of Summer 2003: Part Deux
Right now I'm in Banff, Alberta, in the poshest hostel I've ever seen: the Banff International Hostel. I highly recommend it.
The last few days have taken us all the way across South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana, and into Alberta. Here's how we got there.
Day 5 took us from St. Cloud, MN down to I-90, whence we proceeded to hightail it across South Dakota to the town of Wall, home of the famous Wall Drug. Wall Drug, sadly, is not as cool as you might think. Yes, it's big, but I was expecting much bigger; and they have very little of value for sale. Fortunately, there is a life-sized statue of a brontosaurus marking the exit for Wall. This is the best part of the town. We stayed in a cheap motel in Wall that night. Evening came, and morning followed: the fifth day.
Day 6 was the hardest day we've had so far in terms of driving; this takes into account a speeding ticket near Cody, Wyoming. From Wall it was an all-day haul, starting at about 7 AM, across South Dakota, down to Mt. Rushmore, which is well worth the $8 parking fee, and to the Crazy Horse memorial, which is bigger than Rushmore, but also mroe than twice as expensive. We then picked up what I suspect was I-90 again to cross Wyoming, until we hit US-20, which took us to Cody and thence into Yellowstone. Cody appears to be a fairly cool town; we stopped at the Buffalo Bill museum there, which is an excellent collection of Old West history, much grander in scope than Bill Cody himself. The drive was all sorts of fun; you see, I've never been out west before, and it was a revelation to me to see the sky open up and become enormous as we crossed South Dakota, and then to see the Rockies rising in front of us. It was a spectacular and humbling sight. We got into Yellowstone, exhausted, at about 8 PM, pitched camp at Bridge Bay, made dinner, and watched the light of the setting sun reflect off the mountains across Lake Yellowstone. That sunset is one of the most beautiful things I have ever beheld; it's God's own country.
On the seventh day, God rested, and so did we, sort of. That was our day for touring Yellowstone; we summitted Mt Washburn, which was an easy 6 mile hike, and watched Old Faithful erupt. We basically tried to take in as much as we could. After Justin was exhausted, I took off on a short hike of my own, and saw an interesting natural bridge. All in all, Yellowstone is a rewarding park if you're looking for beautiful vistas without too much physical punishment.
Day 8 took us from Yellowstone to Glacier, mostly along Highway 93. Glacier puts Yellowstone to shame; I might as well jsut go ahead and say that. Yellowstone is like a playground for the kindergarteners, and Glacier is where the big kids go to play. There's only one main road through the park, and hundreds of miles of backcountry trails. The drive along Going-to-the-sun road is breathtaking; the road is aptly named. I have to sign off now, cause I'm out of time