I remember as a small boy, thinking I was somehow magical because I often went to bed in West Yellowstone and woke up in bed in Rexburg. The two towns are an hour and a half away.
My sister who is a couple of years older than me and I made a game of looking for landmarks along the way. It made the hour and a half trip go a lot quicker in our minds. Now that I'm older and living in the area again, I have taught the game to my kids. Yesterday, on our way up to Yellowstone, we stopped and photographed each of the landmarks. Enjoy.
The Eagle Tree
|The Eagle Tree|
|Swans on Swan Lake. You have to look real close.|
When I was a boy, Dad would count the swans in the spring and say it was an omen on how many millions of dollars we would earn that year. I was excited one year because there were six swans. Unfortunately, the number of swans never correlated with any millions of dollars. Maybe that was fortunate.
The Osborne Bridge
|The Osborne Bridge|
I'm not sure if this was a bridge for the railroad or if it was the old highway. It is in Harriman State Park, which used to be called the Railroad Ranch. Investors of the Union Pacific Railroad owned this land once and the Harriman Family donated it to the State of Idaho on the condition that they create a professionally managed state park out of it. We haven't explored Harriman State Park yet, but it's on our list.
Last Chance is the first of several little neighborhoods in Island Park. It's not very pretty, and if I were making the landmark game now, I'd have chosen something a little more spectacular, but heck, we were kids.
Elk Creek Station
|Elk Creek Station|
The Steeple Tree
|The Steeple Tree|
This was the hardest of the landmarks to photograph and we had to get it from the other side, going the other direction.
When I was a kid, we used to go to Mack's Inn and rent paddleboats. Lots of great memories doing that.
According to legend, Chief Sawtelle was such a good man that when he died, the wind and rain carved his likeness in the mountain. If you look closely, you can see his headdress on the left and his chin on the right. The microwave tower on the summit is where the band of his headdress would be.
This is the hardest landmark to spot and is almost invisible in the summer when the trees are leafed out and the underbrush is lush. Much easier to spot in the spring.
|Garrett drinking at Howard Springs|
The Continental Divide
|The Continental Divide and state line|
In my younger days, there was a sign showing the continental divide. Now it's just the state line.
The One Room Schoolhouse
|The One Room Schoolhouse|
After the schoolhouse, it was a couple of curves in the road and we'd try to be the first to spot West Yellowstone. The trees made a V-shape and the town was visible through it. The only time you couldn't see the town was if you happened to be behind an eighteen wheeler.
It was a game that we played to make the time go by faster and since I was the youngest, I didn't see the steeple tree first very often or the town of West Yellowstone, but I have many fond memories of playing this game.