We entered the Park through the East Gate, coming up the highway from Cody, Wyoming, past the Buffalo Bill Dam and along a road that climbs 3000 feet in less than 30 miles. The road hangs on the edge of a precipice, and my daughter, Elle, spent the travel time to the east gate staring out over the ravine below us.
“Do any cars ever go off the road?”Elle asked.
“Cars probably go off every road,” I said, “but we won’t go off this one.”
She nodded, looked back out the window and had nothing more to say until we entered the Park when she asked how far it was to the Lake. I told her we would be there in less than a half hour.
The northeast, west, and south entrances to the Park lead out of pine tree thickets into vast valleys empty of trees except for outcroppings of aspens on the hillsides while the road from the east entrance is a paved trail through a thick forest.
Coming into the Park through the other gates means slowing down as the roads emerge from the timber into valleys crowded with bison, elk, and whatever animals are on the ponds and rivers, but there were few distractions along the tree-lined road in from the east gate to slow us, and within a half hour we crested the hill where the road suddenly emerged into the open, turning when it came upon a body of water more vast than the largest of the valleys.