The land was flat and vast.
We stopped at Cabela's in Mitchell and got some fishing gear and a float tube for Robb. As we left we started counting Wall Drug signs. Wall is a small town near the Badlands. It offers free ice water and 5 cent coffee! We saw over 100 road signs for Wall Drug. We stopped and had coffee and donuts. Then it was on the road again.
The clouds were forming as we drove west. We noticed all the bikers heading out for the Sturgis Bike Rally. It was going to get wet today! The Scamp was pulling great and the Explorer was humming along. I did notice that with the Thule roof storage carrier and the Scamp that the mileage dropped from 19+ MPG to about 16 MPG. It was nice to have all the fishing gear in the Thule carrier on top.
Towards late afternoon, we were going through Gillette, WY when the storm hit. It got very dark and the rain was so heavy most cars pulled off the road. Robb said to put on my polarized sunglasses and it did help to see the road. We limped on at a very slow speed and drove out of the storm. At Buffalo, we took route 16 over the Big Horn Mountains towards Ten Sleep and Worland. In the mountains we saw a huge motor home lose it's brakes. He made it to a run away ramp. We wondered how his day was going to end?
We drove up to Cody and bought $160 of groceries and camped for the night. There had been a grizzle bear attack in Soda Butte Campground where I usually stay and we wanted to avoid that area. We were heading up Chief Joseph Scenic Highway to the NE Entrance to YNP in the morning. This was planned so we would arrive in Pebble Creek Campground around 8:00 am to get a camp site.
The rain clouds were out but we were on a mission. The campground doesn't take reservations so you try to be there early to get a site. The Scenic Highway goes up to over 10,000 ft and is a beautiful drive. We stopped at the NE Entrance to the YNP and got our fishing permits, our float tube permits and entrance fees paid. Since I am a retired senior citizen with the Golden Age Passport, the entrance fee was free! We paid about $20 for our fishing permit and $15 for our float tube permit.
This is the sign that greeted us as we entered the campground.
We found site 18 open and we grabbed it. It was right beside Pebble Creek and we could hear the bubbling creek all day and night. What a way to sleep! Plus we could look right out at the morning light on Thunder Mountain. This would be a great site as it had morning sun and shade in the afternoon.
The severe rain had dampened the couch cushion so we put it out to dry as we unpacked.
This was a good place to start. Soda Butte is a small stream that empties into the Lamar River system. We would wet wade this stream and I caught my first cutthroat trout of the trip here.
It wasn't a big fish and you have to release all cutthroat trout in the park. The next day we hiked into the Lamar River to get away from the road fisherman. We hiked about 3 miles up the Lamar.
We caught a few fish and then Robb said that the water was actually warmer than he had anticipated.
It had been two days since our last shower so off with the clothing and into the pool! We swam around and cooled off. As we waited for our bodies to dry, we picked up our fly rods and started casting. We didn't see anyone around but if someone had a camera, it wouldn't be a pretty sight and would be tough to explain!
After two days of river fishing it was time to try out the float tubes on Trout Lake.
I have a 15 year old float tube so I put a new truck tire inside it before I left for the trip. Robb has a new float tube and this would be his 1st experience fishing from a tube! It is a short 15 - 20 minute hike up to the lake. We carried our lunch in our backpacks and the float tubes on our backs.
This is the small lake that we fished. It is a lovely lake that has the mountains in the background and huge fish swimming around under your tube.
I caught a nice cutthroat trout on a small nymph under a black leech fly. We used wet flies that had a bead head to get the flies down for trolling. We paddled around with our fins and had a ball.
Robb's new tube was great. It kept his hips up out of the water and handled better than my old tube. We wore our light waders and shoes to keep our legs warm. We got cold after a few hours.
This was a 20+" cutthroat trout that Robb caught on a small size 14 or 16 nymph. My camera broke and all the pictures are from Robb's camera. This fish almost towed Robb around the lake. We caught 16" to 20" fish and had a ball. We will certainly do this again.
This is a shot on Soda Butte across from the Ranger Station and Yellowstone Institute. The river had changed since my last trip in 05. The buffalo were still in the Valley.
We picked up a bag full of winter fur from the buffalo. They like to make a huge dust hole and then roll in it. I hope to have someone card it and make a fur/wool item for me from it.
Next day we decide to hike 6 miles up to 2nd Meadow on Slough Creek. It took almost 3 hours and when we got in the water was great. After one hour we ran into fisherman around several corners.
Robb was enjoying the stream. He is a good fly caster and always got some great trout. After the 6 miles in and 6 miles out we were tired so it was time to hit Roosevelt Lodge for a shower and a cold beer!
This was one of our favorite spots. The view was great and we could rock away and watch the tourist.
We spent a couple of late afternoons relaxing here after a hard day of fishing. We had a buffalo taco salad here one night. The rocking chairs are so comfortable and the view is great.
OK, that is it for YNP, part one! I have some more pictures to share and a few good stories, so check back and I'll get Part two up and running. Let me know how you enjoyed the pictures and story so far.