My friend “Robin” has the greatest commute in the world. She lives in a log cabin between Cody and the East Entrance to Yellowstone, and every day she goes to work she sees wildlife, incredible scenery and the best of what this part of the country is!
Robin works as a Park Ranger at the east entrance to Yellowstone National Park. This is her third 6-month season working for the National Park Service, and she says she is simply blessed to be doing what she does! Robin greets people as they come to the world’s first National Park, and she says the reactions of folks who are visiting for the first time can really touch your heart.
And it truly is a welcome, and sometimes a profound, event for most of the folks who come through that gate, according to Robin. She relayed several heartfelt stories to me about people who have been checking a visit to Yellowstone off their “Bucket Lists”… like the elderly couple who drove to the east entrance one day in 2009. As the couple pulled up to the gate, it was obvious to the rangers that the woman in the passenger seat was not well. As the supervisor (who is an EMT) was working to help the woman, her husband was patting her shoulder, repeating over and over, “Honey, we made it. We made it to Yellowstone.”
Another story that Robin told centered around a 99 year old man who pulled up to the entrance, parked his vehicle and told the ranger at the gate that he had served in World War II and Korea, and that this visit to Yellowstone would be his last trip. The man began weeping as he was relaying this to the young ranger, and the young man wept with him.
One of the most important messages that Robin passed on to me was that Yellowstone’s boundaries are just imaginary lines – the wildlife and the scenery don’t just begin and end at the gates. She stressed to me how important it is for folks to realize that this entire area is “Yellowstone Country”! Sometimes she says her heart breaks when she sees animals on the side of the highway that have been struck by cars whose drivers are in such a hurry to get to Yellowstone that they forget that in many ways, they’re already there. Robin says that the best place to see wildlife in this region is actually the 52 miles between Cody and the East Entrance, on the highway to Yellowstone. She says that every day, like clockwork, she sees moose. She also sees elk, bear, bighorn sheep, deer, turkeys and bald eagles. She said that she saw all these animals IN ONE DAY this spring!
Robin and I talked for a long time, and she had a lot more stories to tell me than what I can write in one blog, so I’ll save her other stories for another time. For those of you who have yet to experience the wonders of Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country, I hope you’ll appreciate the area as much as Robin and I do!
Corrie N. Cody