The Trip ... YellowStone

Yellowstone ... The Journey continues

Back from the West.... Again Sept 2009

an amazing R&R road trip. 2,400+ miles 2 1/2 weeks & it's not enough. Tired but a good tired/ jet lag

Flew to SLC - Salt Lake City, rental car & head out. Unita Mtns UT Mirror Lake hwy scenic byway to Evanston , North into Wyoming/Utah line. Hayden peak 12,500' overlooking Mirror Lake. Bear River, *** more later on this as I almost had my lights cut out before my time-- my 9 lives have one less.... I'll talk about this when I gain my composure -- Bear Lake. Paris Idaho & pioneer Mormon church bldg. Starr valley & up to Jackson hole. Grand Tetons... & they are grand. Hiking around Jenny Lake almost walked into a moose-- 25 ft close. Rafted down the Snake river & learned the water & rights belonged to Southern Idaho potato farmers. Signal Mtn

Yellowstone was booked up for Labor day weekend so passed thru to Cody Wy -- Buffalo Bill country-- the Absoroka mtns ... Absoroka(the Crow tribe) & Shoshone(the Snake) indian land.

North to Chief Joseph hwy -- This may be one of the greatest stories ever told; am honored I got to see & stand, & smell the air where this took place. ***

the route the Nez Perce tribe took to outrun the US Army to Canada. Firefights & skirmishes w/ the Army all the way in order to keep from rounded up to a reservation... or killed by the Army. The previous year - 1876 Custers Army unit was wiped out humiliating the army & Washington DC. Howards army -- the 7th calvary-- was to take the Nez Perce to their new reservation ... some say the Army was out to settle the score for custer by killing the whole Nez Perce tribe.

Chief Joseph hwy in Wy/ MT where Chief Joseph led the Nez Perce tribe.... about 750 Nez Perce, on an 1,600 mile trek w/ the Army hunting them down to force them to a reservation....or kill them in the process. The Nez Perce fled several hundred miles, heading to Canada for freedom rather than be caged.... I stood where those brave warriors fought & traveled.... & said prayers for them. I stood on hallowed ground & said prayers.... for them & many friends. & at the place where they were finnally overtaken - Sept 8th, 1877- . They did not give up; they were overtaken some few miles before reaching their promised land of escape in Canada.

Onto the Beartooth Hwy, -- highest hwy in America-- 11,000 ft ... that was the hwy. peaks were higher. Clarks ford river was cut into stone & a gorge beyond description.

places like up on the Beartooth HWy in MT. 11,000+ ft Snowpack in places that is actually glaciers... or what's left of them. They'll be gone in 5 years. just glad I got to see them befor they're gone & some other magnificent places. It was litterally touching the heavens & many a prayer was offered up for friends & family. The starkness of the wilderness, high arid mountains, rivers & streams gut 1,000 ft gorges in limestone or granite rock. Water is available & plentiful in places. usually small crossroads of towns of a couple hundred population... fish camps for the fly fishermen trout fishing the streams. It is land that cannot be tamed.

Water. Clear water. all of it. Spring fed or snowpack runnoff. all rivers & lakes so clear you could see the rounded river rock 3to 4 feet below on the riverbed. in places you could see trout. It was a feeling of dipping up a glass of water & drinking. .... so clean & pure..... pure thin air.... no pollution.... no smog. I fly fished in many rivers & need to start "SAVE THE TROUT" ...&

Absoroka Mtn range in Wy.... where the Absoroka & Shoshone tribe ruled.... & Mtn goats/ sheep lived on the tall mtn peaks because the predator bears & cougars couldnt move to hunt them.

Some of the snowpack left on the mtns are considered glaciers. They'll be gone in 5 years. I'm just glad I got to see them before it's gone. Overnight in Red Lodge, MT . Stayed in "The Pollard" hotel & was really a grand restored old western hotel w/ Oak trim woodwork. A delightful town & the "Candy Store" was a great place to walk through & see the history & artifacts better than a museum; it WAS a museum. then to Virginia city, MT an old somewhat ghost town of the old west mining towns where the vigilante law was --3-- , --7--, --77--. If you were a thug, robber & the -3- -7- -77- was painted on your door.... your number was up. It meant... the stage leaves town at 3, the sun sets at 7, & it's 77 miles to Bozeman... the territorial capitol where you might could get a fair trial by official law. Otherwise,... take your chances here w/ the vigilantes western justice of a noose. The vigilantes hung about 24 in a couple of months when they cleaned up the town.

Montana ranches that went on for miles w/ cattle, alfalfa/ hay bailing for the cattle. Beautiful country beyond description. Appropriatly nicknamed "Big Sky Country". visability often 20 to 30 miles. Clean thin air. Their idea of air pollution is cattle / horses or the hay baled in the field. Driving across Montana East to West, Beartooth mtns (hwy mentioned above) to the south. Vast wide rolling hills in vallys between mtn ranges. The people that have loved the land have been dwindling in this lifetime.... even being ridiculed & made fun of. When I see these vast ranches & alfalfa / hay farms... these people must love the land as much to take such good care of it. I should have moved to the West as a teenager & been a rancher. I think most people think they own their land; or their land "belongs" to them as they pay the taxes ect. In the West.... I believe it's the other way around. Such beautiful serene places own their people & tennants while they are just passing through to the hereafter.

Turn south at Livingston MT & head South to Gardiner & N entrance to Yellowstone.

Gardineer, MT borders the N Arch gate of yellowstone. Mammoth Hot Springs is 5 miles into park & late afternoon sun on mtn isYELLOW. Some sunset pics but was better next morn at sunrise w/ light on mineral terraces & water flowing. Beyond description. Mineral terraces & pools w/ sunrise steam cannot be captured on film. attempted... & the smell of sulfur / magma minerals in the air is sublime. Elk were in their rut & their yells were frequent to draw the females into their lair. Most trees had a bare scraped bark setion avbout 3 to 5 ft where Elk had eaten & scraped the bark.

Onto Canyon. In Hayden vally saw a lone buffalo cross a river & shake water off just like your dog.

Onto Fishing Village & points East I-80 to Cody. 2 Buffalo herds of 200+ buffalo on the river in beautiful valley. On to Sylvan pass. Real Rock for a rock guy like me. I was supposed to be a geologist so this was heaven. Then the best suprise of the trip... the Absoroka mountain range. Sublime towereing brown jagged rock peaks.

A bear sighting : These women were sitting at a table talking excited about possibly seeing a bear & were totallly clueless:

Oh we're going to see a Bear. There;s a Bear & we 're going to see it... we want to take pictures of a Bear. BS.... These people THINK they want to see a Bear. Truth is... when you see a bear.... you are dead! You are that Bears food! You'd thoingk these people have never been to a zoo. Bears are really ferocious animals & to think you're going to go up & take pictures ... is insane. Some bears used to go up to cars for handouts... feedings,... handouts etc... now they want food! & you are food for them!!!! They don't stop at a few crackers at this point.

Old Faithful: It's a geyser alright. Geyser basin is unique & a spectacle. What is great... the original Old Faithfull Inn built in 1909? circa? Really neat place.

Flyfished the firehole river. West Yellowstone -- bypassed- North into Montana. Hebgen Lake -- big earthquake & mountain slid & buried campground w/ 40 + people. onto Virginia city, MT & Nevada city almost ghosttown. Beaverhead rock where Lewis & Clark were. Dillon, MT more Lewis & Clark here. neat town. Idaho Falls, ID = snake river through town. down through Idaho. got off interstate & drove Wausatch valley / ogden / brigham to SLC.

Last day & so close I had to go to Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah. Home of world land speed record.... & Drove the rental car 119,... or 129 mph.... was too excited to tell which. Had to back off as I thought the engine was going to blow & throw a pushrod up through the hood of the car

& Salt Lake City is wierd... like Morman wierd.... like theocracy wierd... spooky wierd. ... but clean & pretty. Utah capitol bldg is 3 blocks N of mormon square. grand building.

Fly back SW via CHI / ORD to BHM midnight. What a trip!

You Might Also Like