We finally have a little down time to check in. It is Sunday morning and we are in Garryowen Montana. We are waiting for a tour of the Little Bighorn Battlefield led by a member of the Apsaalooke tribe.
Thursday we left Jackson Hole and spent the day touring Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone. It is beautiful, with so much to see and do, but unfortunately our time table limited us to picking a few highlights. So, we traveled the main road through Teton NP, stopped frequently for pictures and views and did a little hike.
Teton NP connects right to Yellowstone. We drove through the south entrance and headed toward Upper Geyser Basin where Old Faithful is. With the throngs of people from all over the world we wandered through the hot springs until it was time for Old Faithful to go off. Just before Old Faithful was ready to blow, Castle Geyser went off which is much more impressive, but unpredictable so we only saw it in the distance. Shayna loved seeing Old Faithful. While some people report it is not the most impressive, it was nice to guarantee one geyser viewing if you have never seen one before. From there we wandered up the road to the West entrance and spent the night in a small RV park in West Yellowstone.
We were up early on Friday to travel up toward the North Entrance of Yellowstone to see Mammoth Hot Springs where we spent lots of time hiking around. It is very out of the way if don’t plan to go to the North end but worth it. (I am keeping a separate journal of details on all the places we go if anyone is interested in recommendations) and then headed east through Montana to Garryowen for the Crow Nation 99th Annual Pow Wow.
The Pow Wow has been an unforgettable experience. On Friday we made it to the arena to watch the Grand Entrance where any tribe member, from the multiple tribes that are represented here, can choose to participate. They enter by age group and dance category and it takes at least an hour, kind of like the opening ceremony at the Olympics, only they do it twice every day of the Pow Wow.
Yesterday we started the day by watching the daily Parade of Nations, which includes people in full regalia riding their horses or set up on the back of decorated cars/trucks.
I got my nerve up to ask a woman who seemed friendly and outgoing to help us understand the traditions. Candy and her friend Conklin ended up adopting us for the day and taught us about their culture and history, and made sure we saw all of the highlights. After the parade we went to watch the mid-day Grand Entrance and some of the dance competitions. Conklin participated in some of the noncompetitive singing/drum groups so we learned a lot about that aspect as well. Then Candy took us over to the rodeo which has the same events as most rodeos but the highlight is the Indian Horse Relay. Google it and watch some videos. It is amazing! I could go on and on about our experience at the Pow Wow, we have learned so much about the Native culture, history, traditions (at least what can be learned in a couple days). I am happy to share more with anyone who is interested or if you want to post questions, I can expand.
This morning we made it to see the Parade of Nations again (it happens each morning), said goodbye to our new friends and are getting ready for this tour. We had a chance on Friday to hear the Ranger’s talk about the Battle of Little Bighorn and watched a very informative video and viewed the memorials. We are looking forward to learning more on today’s tour.
From here we are heading to Kaycee, Wy. to get as close as possible to Casper for the eclipse tomorrow. Monday morning we will get up early to get within the 100% band for the eclipse. Nervous about the crowds but looking forward to the experience. Then we head to Hot Springs, SD.
Day 7: 10:00pm. Had to include this for memories sake. This is Shayna with a new found friend, Deacon. His parents own the RV park we are staying in in Kaycee, Wy. It is a small place and with the crowds for the eclipse, they have us parked on their lawn. The sweetest kid. They talked and jumped on the trampoline together for 2 hours – instant buddies. (Not Shayna’s best photographic moment, my fault for not getting a couple pics to choose from.)