This morning Tom said: “Some day when we get younger, we’ll come back and do more of the big hikes.”
Our morning drive began with a wildlife fanfare when we saw a little fox, large prey flopping in her mouth, trotting down the road directly towards us. She wasn’t intimidated at all by our van as we slowly passed by her. We guessed she was a mama taking a meal to her kits. Rather quickly after that we saw stopped cars signaling our first bear-jam. A mother bear with two little cubs was wandering around in a meadow. We were able to stop the car and watch her for quite a while.
Roosevelt Lodge is at the north end of the park in the mountains of Yellowstone. Compared to the rest of Yellowstone, this area is somewhat remote and not as developed. There are cabins but no hotel, and the lodge is on a very small rustic scale. It is also the headquarters for trail rides and chuck-wagon jaunts, and that is exactly what Tom had planned for our last night in Yellowstone!
Although we would be very early for our chuck wagon dinner ride, we drove back down to Roosevelt Lodge and sat in the rocking chairs on the big, country, front porch a while (Tom took a nap) and then moved our own recliner chairs under the shade of some tall pine trees for an hour (Ella took a nap.) Suddenly it was time to head to the ticket booth to turn in our paper ticket for ride passes on the chuck wagon .
There was quite a bit of hanging around while those who were going to ride on horseback to the dinner location mounted up and took off. Then, our 7 big wagons were each hitched to a team of substantial draft horses, and each wagon was loaded with 30 people.
Our destination was a nicely set up feeding area with some picnic tables in the sun, some under the shade of trees, and many under a large covered pavilion.
Seven days a week the cowhand-cooks feed about 250 people, all arriving by horseback or wagon. The menu is all the New York Strip steaks you can eat and cooked to order, cornbread, rosy beans, coleslaw, potato salad, corn, watermelon, and peach cobbler. For entertainment while feasting, Cowboy Dallas played guitar and sang cowboy songs; this is his 30th and last year on this summer gig!
Dinner over, the wagon folk were entertained with tall tales around the campfire while the horseback folk mounted up and trotted on down the road. Tom and I posed with the big fella Clyde before getting back on the wagon. Following 4 hours of playing cowboy, we were back at Roosevelt – another 35 minutes by car, and we were back at the campground. Tired!
I was dusty from the trail and sticky from bug spray, but the shower concessions closed just as we got back to the campground. I was never more grateful for that little wet-bath shower in the Silvermine, and I was also grateful that we still had plenty of water for a shower after 4 days of boondocking in Yellowstone!
Tomorrow morning we pack up and head towards Glacier National Park – a place that Tom and I have both visited as kids, but have never visited together.
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown