Friday, July 4, 2014

Montana & Wyoming - Part 2 Bozeman & Yellowstone National Park

The drive from Glacier National Park to Yellowstone is a long one - around 7 hours or so.  So we planned to stop over somewhere fun on the way to cut down on the long drive.  Bozeman was right on the way, so we stayed there one night.  The drive between Glacier and Bozeman is gorgeous and you begin to understand why its called Big Sky Country.  So much land out there!  And it was classic having the highway stretch out in front of you all the way to the horizon.  

I mentioned in the Part 1 post that we could have stayed at any of these spots for a month and still not gotten to everything, Bozeman included.  What a cool mountain town.  There is so much to do in and around that town all year round.  Just go to to see what I mean.  Two great ski areas within 30 min drive, the Bridger Range, Gallatin National Forest, and Yellowstone National Park all within their backyard.  The hiking and biking options with Bozeman as your base are almost endless.  I could hang out there for a while. 

We walked around the downtown area and looked around in the shops, and I stopped by a pub and watched some of the USA vs Ghana World Cup soccer game with the locals.  We had a great dinner at Montana Ale Works...very good and I highly recommend it.  It was recommended to us by some locals.

We got up early the next morning to begin our long day in Yellowstone National Park.  I had mentioned in the last post that most everyone we talked to recommended spending more time at Glacier and Grand Tetons National Park, so we planned to pack in as much of Yellowstone in one day as we could.  We didn't do it justice of course, but we did cover the major spots and must sees.  This site and this one gave us some good tips for one day in the park.  I have to admit - for me, you see one geyser, you've seen them all.  You see one hot springs, you've seen them all.  If you're a geologist, this place is for you.  And it sits on top of a super volcano (and gets several small earthquake tremors a day apparently, although we didn't feel any).  

Don't get me wrong - Yellowstone is beautiful, there is tons of wildlife there, and it should be visited, but it was more crowded even though we were there before the high season of July and August.  And as expected, it was a lot of stopping the car, getting out, and walking anywhere from 10 yards to a couple hundred yards to see the attractions, then getting back in the car and moving on.  Something about the grand peaks in Glacier and Grand Tetons called to me.  But I would like to return to Yellowstone again and do some backcountry hiking off the beaten path and also go to the remote corners of the park that we didn't visit this time around.  

We stayed in the small town of West Yellowstone that night just outside the park, then drove south back through the park (in the falling snow) the next morning and went on to the Grand Tetons National Park and Jackson WY, where we would stay for the next three nights.  

Here is a short video and pictures afterward with commentary.   Don't forget - you can click on any picture to view it in large format and scroll through them.  Enjoy!

Big Sky Country - check out the highway all the way to the horizon.

Leaving Glacier National Park

My only picture in Bozeman - a snow bike in a bike shop, check out those fat tires!  This is a great complement to skiing if you live in a place with lots of snow.

This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip - Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone

the locals

A big herd of bison

This bull went out and stopped traffic, then let the rest of the herd pass through (below)

Elk and baby

Elk - yes that is snow.  We got a fresh layer of new snow (4-5 inches) on our way out the next morning

Lower Falls at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Upper Falls at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

The Old Faithful Inn - a pretty cool place, a classic

Old Faithful

The Continental Divide in Yellowstone

On our way out the next morning from Yellowstone to the Grand Tetons National Park - it snowed 4-5 inches.

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