Yellowstone National Park: Part 3

Wednesday this week we went to Yellowstone for the third day in a row. Normally we would not have done three days in a row, however, weather reports called for rain at the end of the week. We didn’t want to take any chances.

There was only one section in the northern part of the park that we had not driven through. That was the section of road that went from the Tower-Roosevelt area to the Northeastern Entrance of the park.

The first section of road we had been on several times already, so we didn’t plan to make any stops. However, when animals appear, one tends to want to stop and observe said animal.

We saw a couple of buffalo first. Then we saw a coyote crossing the road. We didn’t have time to stop for the coyote because he was so fast, but I got a couple of good shots out the window of the car.

We made the left turn onto the section of road that we hadn’t been on yet. Just a few yards after we turned we saw a couple of buffalo relieving an “itch” on a road sign that seemed quite relevant. Another few yards away was another buffalo using a roadside barrier to satisfy his itch.

A little while later, we came around a curve and saw a lot of cars that had pulled off the road (this almost always means an animal sighting) and a Park Ranger. We stopped also.

I walked down the road a little ways and asked some people what they were looking at. They said there was a black bear close to the road just down the roadside bank eating grass. They pointed him out to me.

The ranger made several cars closest to the bear move away. Then he hollered up to us that he was going to throw some rocks at the bear to try to make him run off into the woods. He told us the bear was facing our direction and to be prepared in case he decided to run our way. If that happened we were to quickly get in our cars. OH, NO! I looked around and came to the conclusion that I was going to be the slowest runner! 😂

Anyway, the ranger threw the rocks, and fortunately the bear ran away from the road a little ways. The ranger threw some more rocks and the bear ran toward the woods, jumped the stream, and ran to the trees. I got some really good sequence photos of the bear.

Later we saw some mountain goats (I could only get a couple of pics of one of them).

The rest of our drive to the Northeast Entrance was through a gorgeous, long valley surrounded by mountains. In this valley we saw, for the first time in Yellowstone, several herds of buffalo. The herds were pretty far from the road, so they look like “specs” in the pictures (you will have to zoom in).

See the little tiny specs? Zoom in to see that they are buffalo. There were at least 4-5 large herds like this along this road.

Of course, there was one exception! A mama and her calf left the herd and decided the grass by the road was better. Then momma decided to cross the road, but baby calf decided to be a little rebellious. He went the other way!

We finally reached the Northeast Entrance. Our plan was to continue along the same road which became state Highway 212, also known as Beartooth Highway. Several friends had told us this was a gorgeous drive, but it was curvy, steep, and you can only drive 20-40 mph the majority of the way. Thank goodness we were in the car and not the RV!

It truly was gorgeous! It was also slow going because of all the sharp curves, steep inclines, and views that we just had to stop for and get some photos.

This mountain reminded me of the Matterhorn in the Alps, so I called it the Little Matterhorn.

As we got higher and closer to Beartooth Pass which is at an elevation of 10,947 feet, we started noticing more snow cover. There was even a partially frozen lake (of course, the ice was very thin, but it was still frozen). Also, there was the cutest little store close to the top.

This is the frozen lake.

That stop sign shows the snow was still pretty deep.

All of a sudden I realized we were above the tree line! I had only been above the tree line once before when I was a kid. I had forgotten how beautiful the view that high truly is.

We finally reached the summit, and it was COLD and windy up there! As we started our descent, we even saw people snow skiing (it is JUNE and they were snow skiing!) and having fun on their snowmobiles.

Part of the way down, we stopped at an overlook to get out and walk around some and use the facilities. We enjoyed the views, but I enjoyed the animals we saw there. First we saw a little chipmunk (“Al-vinnnnnnn!”). He was really cute.

Then some ladies yelled at me to let me know there was a fox just around the corner of the neighboring car I was standing by. I walked towards the ladies and saw the fox. I was so excited because I had said to my husband that very morning that I really wanted to see a fox.

We finally got down the other side of the mountain and were extremely happy to see a somewhat straight road in front of us on which we could drive 55 mph! We stopped for a quick bite to eat in Red Lodge, MT (which is a VERY lovely little town). We headed north to get on Interstate 90 to go home to the RV.

The next few days we will be busy doing the “regular” chores or life: laundry, cleaning, bill paying, grocery shopping, and grooming our little shih tzu. Living full time in an RV isn’t all just fun adventures.

Because of that, I might not publish a new post for a few days until we arrive at our new location.

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!”


Yellowstone National Park: Part 2

The next day we went back to Yellowstone and took a different route through the park. This time we went south from Mammoth Hot Springs. We ran into a little road construction and had to wait for our turn to go through the single lane that was still open. It was a little frustrating until you realize this: Summer is the only time of year the park has to make improvements to roads, campsites, observation decks and lookouts, trails, etc. It just so happens to coincide with the peak tourist season. It can’t be helped, so, if you visit, please be patient.

We traveled south and saw beautiful landscapes, lakes, waterfalls, a geyser and other thermal features, Sheepeater Cliff, and Norris Geyser Basin. We saw some animals, of course! Then we took the road that headed east towards Canyon Village and saw the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. From there we headed north towards Tower Fall (which we had seen the day before) to head back to the RV.

The distances on roads in the park may not be very far (18, 21, 12, and 19 miles, etc.), but it takes longer than normal to traverse them for several reasons: slow traffic, stopping to get out and enjoy views, stopping to see animals (you KNOW where those spots are because there are A LOT people pulled over and usually a park ranger there, too), and very curvy roads that are only two lanes and narrow. The speed limit in the park is 45 mph unless lower speeds are posted, and, believe me, if a lower speed is posted, there is a very good reason!

Pictures are worth a thousand words, so here is your “picture overload” for the day.

When you enter at the North Entrance, you travel about 4-5 miles before you arrive at Mammoth Hot Springs and a huge Visitors Center. Look at ALL the elk that were in that area to greet us on our second day in the park!

I have NO idea what these little creatures are called, but they sure were cute. A momma and two babies were climbing all over the rocks and eating something.

Look at these snow banks along the side of the road! The snow takes longer to melt the higher the altitude.

Look closely and you will see some tracks that a snowboarder or two left.

Another brown bear today!

As we left the park, we saw several mountain goats grazing on this VERY STEEP slope. It may not look steep, but, trust me, it was.

Well, another exciting day at Yellowstone Park. Stayed tuned for more Yellowstone adventures.

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!”


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