Two Days and Counting…

It’s funny how you can live in a place for several months or years and at the last minute there are places you want to see before you leave!  Our last two days in Yellowstone were some of the most exciting!  When we arrived in May we were able to view the lower falls at Artist Point but the brink of the lower falls and upper falls trails were closed due to snow.  We decided to take the short hike to some spectacular views of the upper falls and lower falls.

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Upper Falls

We have driven through Yellowstone National Park countless times, most often our focus was on the wildlife.  The Mud Volcano and Dragons Mouth Spring were definitely something we didn’t want to miss!

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Mud Volcano

Finally, late afternoon as usual, we arrived in Lamar Valley, probably our favorite place to view wildlife in the park, and this evening was no exception.  Before to long we spotting a crowd gathering on a hilltop, so we grabbed our spotting scope and joined the crowd.  Off in the distance was a grizzly feeding on a carcass that the wolves had brought down.  There were at least seven wolves on the scene awaiting their turn on the carcass.  We watched them patiently waiting close to the bear, while others were playing and nipping at each other, and off in the distance was one wolf that seemed to be on guard overlooking the scene.  Finally the grizzly sauntered off with a full belly and the wolves took their turn feeding on the carcass.  Very interesting to watch this pack, a wolf had his share of the food, then went to relieve the lookout for their turn on the carcass.  As the sun set, we watched them one by one, head to the same area and disappear into the woods.

We were also on the lookout for friends Phil and Sue, that we met while workamping at Cypress Trail RV Resort in Fort Myers, FL and surprisingly they found us on top of the hill and joined us in this exciting evening.

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One of the things on our bucket list was to hear the wolves howl in Yellowstone and before they all left for the woods, they howled to each other!  It was time for us to find a spot just outside the Northeast entrance to sleep in the truck for the night so we could be in Lamar Valley early in the morning to hopefully watch the wolves for one last time.

Also on our bucket list was to see a bull elk bugle!  Mammoth Hot Springs is known for the elk gathering in the center of town, especially during the rutting season.  When we arrived we saw a small bull elk guarding his little harem.  It wasn’t long before the big guy showed up trying to keep his harem in line and that is when we heard that beautiful bugle!

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Smaller Bull Elk
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The Big Guy
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Big Guy & His Harem
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Undine Falls

It was a magnificent final two days in Yellowstone National Park!

We also were blessed to have Bill and Linda stay at Yellowstone Holiday Resort our last week at the park.  Good friends and good food were enjoyed at our favorite pizza place Wild West Pizzeria in West Yellowstone.

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We will miss the beauty and splendor of Hebgen Lake and the wonderful people we met while working at Yellowstone Holiday Resort.

Glacier National Park…

A mini-trip to Glacier National Park entering through the West Entrance had been planned for several weeks.  Unfortunately, the Howe Ridge Fire on Lake McDonald, that was started by a lightning strike, had us altering our plans.  We had made reservations through Vacation Rental By Owner (VBRO) to stay in Big Fork, Montana.  A lovely historical town situated on Flathead Lake with beautiful flowers, great shops and delicious places to eat!

 

We traveled to the East Entrance because The Going-To-The-Sun-Road was closed from Lake McDonald to Logan Pass due to smoke from the fire.  Our first stop was Historic Glacier Park Lodge just outside the park.  We were in awe of the huge Douglas fir logs used in construction in 1913.  At Two Medicine Lake we were greeted by these Big Horn Sheep!  An interesting feature of the streams and lakes in the park are the beautiful colored pebbles ranging from various hues of red, maroon, green and blue.  Also a quick stop at St. Mary’s Lake.  Even with the smoke the views were beautiful!

Finally was Many Glacier Hotel situated on Swiftcurrent Lake known as the “Switzerland of North America” and the largest hotel in Glacier National Park.

Again, not enough time to explore but it is a beautiful National Park!

Johnny Sack Cabin…

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.

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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.

A beautiful little spot to visit in Idaho!

For more information Johnny Sack Cabin

Bear Tooth Pass…

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.

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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.

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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.

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See the Bear Tooth in the background
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Alpine Lakes
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Bear Tooth Pass
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Waterfalls on Bear Tooth Pass

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.

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Rocky Mountain Goats
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Rocky Mountain Goats
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Yellow-bellied Marmot
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Buffalo in Lamar Valley on the way home

Cody WY…

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!

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Waterfall along Sylvan Pass

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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!

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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”!

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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!

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Five year old boy!
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Five year old girl!

Yee Haw, what a great evening!

Old Trail Town, historic western buildings dating from 1879-1901

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Virginia City…

Virginia City, Montana is a much alive ghost town.  As you walk the streets it is as if the town was frozen in time.  It is an Old West Victorian gold mining town.

Stage coach rides, train ride to the next town Nevada City, ghost tours, saloons, vigilantes, hangings, Boot Hill Cemetery, lots to see and do in this gold mining town!

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Hyalite Reservoir/Palisades Falls

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!

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The highlight was Palisades Falls.  A short hike with magnificent views and equally magnificent falls!

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View along the hike!

 

 

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Palisades Falls