In 1929, Johnny Sack leased a tract of land from the Forest Service and built this log cabin located at Big Springs, Island Park, Idaho. It is one of the most photographed sites with Johnny’s cabin, the water wheel house and the beautiful springs filled with large trout.
Inside the cabin it is decorated with Johnny’s trademark split bark decoration used in the cabins furniture and interior.
The cabin became part of the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Big Springs is a Natural National Landmark and one of 40 largest natural springs in the world, producing 120 gallons of water a day! You can see the springs bubbling up and the beauty of the clear fresh water.
Today was our trip to the North East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. We traveled over Dunraven Pass and then through Lamar Valley. We couldn’t pass through Lamar Valley without checking on the Golden Eagle nest. Upon arrival, one of the adult Golden Eagles came to feed the chick.
We stopped at Cooke City for lunch and continued towards the Bear Tooth Pass Highway 212. On the way was this amazing waterfall, if you haven’t already figured it out we love waterfalls! There were Forest Service signs regarding Bear Activity and the footprints we saw were a big sign! We always carry bear spray when we are outside the RV Resort. With a storm brewing and bear activity signs we had an uneasy feeling and decided not to linger to long.
The Bear Tooth Highway 212 was probably the most scenic highway we have traveled on. It is a series of steep switchbacks as you ascend to a plateau. The elevation is 10,947 feet. It was interesting to be on the same level or sometimes looking down at the snow peaks and glacial snow. The beauty is indescribable of the numerous alpine lakes of the Absaroka-Bear Tooth Wilderness area which borders much of the highway. The pass is known for summertime snowstorms, violent thunderstorms and winds.
We have been on the lookout for the yellow-bellied marmot since we have arrived in Montana and you need go no further than this pass, they were running everywhere! The highlight of the day was another first for us and sometimes a difficult animal to spot! At first we thought it was a group of rocks which are common in the area. But with further looking in the binoculars sure enough Rocky Mountain goats, not just one but a herd! They are magnificent animals! We didn’t make it all the way to Red Lodge that still is on our list to do.
One of our goals is to experience all the entrances/exits of Yellowstone National Park. This trip took us to the East Entrance through Sylvan Pass and spending sometime in Cody, Wyoming. As always, the trip was fantastic. We love traveling through the different passes! Just outside the East entrance and right alongside the road, we were fortunate to watch a mama grizzly and her two older cubs digging for roots. Their power never ceases to amaze us!
A busy morning of shopping in the town of Cody, as we needed to get prepared for the Rodeo in the evening. Of course, that meant cowboy/cowgirl hats and the purchase of our first Stetson!
We grabbed a bite to eat for lunch at Mojoes and headed to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West Museum. This place was awesome! Five museums under one roof! So much to see and so little time! The five museums are Buffalo Bill, Draper Natural History, Whitney Western Art, Plains Indian, Cody Firearms. We made it through three, the Natural History, Buffalo Bill and Plains Indians. We loved the history of Buffalo Bill and the Plains Indians! The picture of the guns from one of our favorite TV shows “Bonanza”!
At 6:00 p.m. we headed to Irma’s Hotel for the gun fight! Buffalo Bill built the Irma Hotel in 1902 which he called “the sweetest hotel that ever was.” The hotel was named after one of his daughters. The mock gunfight in the street lasted about ½ hour.
After dinner we headed to the Stampede Rodeo. It was our first rodeo! We found ourselves hooping and a hollering watching the bronco riding, barrel racing, calf roping, steer riding and bull riding! The cuteness for the evening was watching the five year old boy and girl barrel race!
Yee Haw, what a great evening!
Old Trail Town, historic western buildings dating from 1879-1901
We decided on our way to Bozeman we would take a little side trip to Hyalite Reservoir located about 10 miles up Hyalite Canyon. It’s a beautiful glacial lake that is a wonderful place for kayaking due to the restriction of no wake, allowing only low speed motoring for trolling. The area offers campgrounds, hiking trails, waterfalls, kayaking, fishing and picnic areas. The day we were there it was breezy and a bit chilly for us. We had a jacket on and couldn’t believe they were swimming and paddle-boarding in this glacier fed reservoir!
The highlight was Palisades Falls. A short hike with magnificent views and equally magnificent falls!
Every year the workampers at Yellowstone Holiday Resort are invited to Parade Rest Guest Ranch for the experience of a real Montana dude ranch! Parade Rest is rich in history and a beautifully maintained ranch situated by the Grayling Creek. It was part of the 200 mile long Bannock Indian Trail used by the Bannock Indians to go from Idaho to the abundant buffalo hunting grounds beyond Yellowstone Park. For more information click Parade Rest Ranch.
The evening included a horse back or wagon trail ride led by experienced wranglers through the pines to a pavilion with a beautiful view of Hebgen Lake. A delicious cowboy cookout was prepared for us with all the trimmings, corn on the cob, baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw, watermelon, salad, carrot cake and the best steak in town! Live Country Music was provided throughout the evening, nothing better than the outdoors, friends, good food and John Denvers Country Roads!
Our closest Walmart and Costco are two hours away in Bozeman, MT. We try to plan on doing our big shopping in this cute town about every three to four weeks. About half way on our trip to Bozeman is a lovely town called Big Sky. This weekend we decided to do some exploring in this beautiful area. First stop was Ousel Falls Trail. It was an easy hike on a well maintained trail to an absolutely gorgeous waterfall called Ousel Falls. At one point, as we got closer to the falls there was a bend in the trail where you could feel the mist, smell the scent of pine and hear the roar of the water but the falls was not visible. It was exhilarating to your senses! Here is a picture of this beautiful area which was followed by lunch at a great little cafe “Hungry Moose Market & Deli”.
Our second stop was The Soldiers Chapel. The interdenominational chapel was built by Nelson Story III and his wife Velma in 1955. It was built to commemorate his son who was killed in action in the South Pacific in 1944. His son was a member of Montana’s 163rd Infantry. The chapel serves as a memorial to his son and the 81 soldiers of the Montana Regiment who died in World War II as well the soldiers of the 163rd Infantry.
Upon entering, you are in awe of the view of the picture window with the cross. The Lone Mountain at 11,000 feet and the beautiful big sky!
The stain glass window at the back of the church depicts a wounded soldier, in a lush tropical setting, reaching upward to the hand of God.
A beautiful chapel to preserve the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.