"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Friday, July 24, 2015

Cool things that come out of holes in the ground - Yellowstone

West Yellowstone, MT
Beaver Creek NF Campground


My favorite time in Yellowstone is just before sunrise.  It's simply magical.


Of course that means getting up at 4am, but hey, there's nothing like the calm.  Almost no one else is out yet.  The mist and fog make for beautiful, haunting scenery.

 
 
 

 
We tried to get a spot in our favorite campground, Bakers Hole, but it was full.  It is a National Forest campground, first come, first serve.  Very nice campground.  Some electric and water.  Right on the Madison River.  Very private and only 4 miles outside of West Yellowstone.
 
So we had to go 10 miles further to Beaver Creek, also run by the National Forest. $14 a night. No hookups.  Very wooded, next to Earthquake Lake/Memorial. Being a California native, this is an interesting earthquake that I didn't know before staying here.
 
Earthquake Lake
  
                 Our site.  Snug, but pretty.                        Our friends site, down and across from us.


 
Innocent Tree Doll or Voo Doo?
Ok, this one might freak some of you out.  When we got all settled in, Dotty noticed that there were 2 of these hanging in a tree just behind our trailer.  It immediately made her uncomfortable and she wanted to leave.  Her husband then ripped them down and through them in the fire and that made it even worse for her.  It didn't bother the rest of us and she was ok with that, so we stayed.  What would you have done?  Doug later found and even larger one on the other side.  This is where we picked up our first mice.  We set traps and killed 4 of them.  We blame the bad joo-joo on Doug for throwing the "whatever they weres" in the fire!
 


 
Another early start the next day and we were off in search of more wildlife, hiking and holes in the ground.
 
 
These cobwebs looked really neat with the early morning dew on them.  This particular field was covered in them!
 


More wildlife?

Why are we so fascinated with things that come out of holes in the ground?  Because it's AWESOME!  I won't go into lots of detail about Yellowstone because I already did in last years post and most of you already have been here or know about it.  Just enjoy the rest of the pictures.

 
Geysers, fumaroles, springs or mud pots, all cool!  Some are dainty, some are very powerful, some are noisy and most are stinky.



 
The colors that are created from all of this is just amazing.



 


 
                                                                                 Ya, that's us being goofy!

Hurley, says, enough of that, let's go for a hike. Well, hike for us, dogs are not allowed on the trails, so he not-so-happily waited in the truck.
 

So many pretty wildflowers all over.

  
 
 
 
And these cute guys.
 
 
And how about these?
 
 
 
 
More springs...

 
The edge drops off into many terraces.

 

 
 
Beautiful waterfalls too!

 
 
 



 
Mt. Washburn trail and lookout.



 

This big guy was crossing the river as the moon was coming up.

Moon rising.
The bull elk were just HUGE and walked right past our truck and stopped on the side of the road for an obligatory picture.






We LOVED it when we came down another section of road and into Bison Territory!  The herds were huge.  They clearly loved this area.  Dust to roll around in, grass and water.




And they did not care diddly about the cars or campers.
 
Well that's more than enough for now!  Thanks for hanging in there!

16 comments:

  1. Great pictures. Yup we saw all the same things, except for the early mornings, we like tosleep in.

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    1. Yea, same gorgeous sites! I'd sure like to get some backcountry hiking in one time.

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  2. I just love, love, love this park. There is just so much to see and do. So glad you got up before sunrise to take those gorgeous photos for those of us who find that impossible:) Thanks!

    I don't blame your friend for wanting to leave. That "thing" was spooky!!

    That was a magnificent bull elk. Gotta love those bison jams!

    I hope you are still planning to head to Glacier NP. Make sure you visit the east side. We just loved our stay in the Two Medicine area and Many Glaciers. The east is definitely a whole lot less crowded. We've always seen lots of black and grizzly bear (not on the trail). Run across the border to Waterton NP, as well:)

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    1. Those early mornings are tough, but so beautiful. One goal is to come down from the north and get to the far NE entrance and area. Best chance to see the wolves and other critters as it's more remote. We'll be in Glacier Saturday! Looking forward to some wonderful hikes! I've re-read your posts on it and need to do it again. Maybe you could name off about 5 of your favorites? We'll be 1 week in Whitefish, 1 week in Apgar and 1 week in St. Marys, so hopefully hitting it all. I just hope the smoke is gone as we've been in smoke most of our time in northern ID and NW Montana so far.

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    2. We haven't stayed on the west side in years but you could do the Highline Trail from there since you access it from Logan's Pass. It is 10 miles and not quite a loop. You take the bus from the end back to Logan's Pass. This trail is quite popular and rather crowded but we were able to move by the large groups and pretty much hike alone. We saw tons in wildlife despite the people. The worst part is the steep four mile decent returning. But it is a top hike in the park. Our two all time favorites are from Many Glaciers (we stayed in St. Mary at Johnston Campground)...Grinnell Glacier and Iceberg Lake. You can not miss these, especially Iceberg Lake. Grinnell Glacier is 11 miles but you can take a boat to cut off a few miles. We did the whole thing and most of it in the drizzle. But I wanted to see the glacier up close because it is suppose to be gone within ten years and it was our last day. We saw the most amazing Big Horn Sheep right beside us on the trail. We actually returned to St. Mary after our time in Alberta just to hike to Iceberg Lake. Boy are we ever glad we did! This is one of my all time favorites. Even at the end of September the lake was still full of icebergs. It is something you won't forget. While it is a ten mile hike, it is probably one of the easiest ever. The elevation gain in like a 1000 ft but gain over the whole five miles so you don't have any idea you are even climbing. We saw lot of sheep and the day before people saw several moose. The trails are lined with yummy huckleberries and thimbleberries. Both Grinnell and Iceberg trailheads are near Many Glaciers Lodge. There are always bears as you drive to and from the lodge so keep an eye out.

      The park sells these little maps (maybe 2x3") of each area of the park. They fold open to show all the trails in that area with exact mileage. I believe I paid $1.50 for all four of them. Look for these. Sometimes the rangers don't even know about them. But they were dirt cheap, pocket size, and had the trail info you need! Make sure you go into the lodge and enjoy the fireplace. We actually stayed at the lodge many years ago on a motorcycle trip.

      We did individual posts on all three of these hikes I mentioned.

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    3. Thanks! We're in Whitefish until Saturday when we stay 5 days in Fishcreek on the West side then 5 more days on the East in St Marys. I will look these up and re-read your posts again. Unfortunately, the smoke is here too. I'm with beginner hikers, so that may limit some of my hiking. This isn't a place I'll hike alone. But we'll do what we can!

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  3. We will be in this area right after Labor Day...I can't wait! Thanks for the gorgeous preview! :-)

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    1. How beautiful and more quiet it will be then. I'd love to make it back for fall color and one time in the winter

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  4. Thanks for the tips on the campgrounds. We are going to be back in the Yellowstone area on our way back to Missouri next month.

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  5. Very nice pictures as always. We have been there only once. That was before full timing so we need to go back and really explore the area more thoroughly. I like your Elk pictures. I don't know how many pictures of Elk butts we have but I am sure there are lots. Maybe next year we will get there.

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    1. It sure is a great park. I'd like to do more back country hiking there.

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  6. Awesome pics and write-up, Deb. We've never been to Yellowstone, but someday! Enjoy Glacier (another place we haven't been). Safe travels, girlfriend!

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    1. You'll be here one day and you'll love it!

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  7. Absolutely amazing. Beautiful pictures and solidifies the fact that I absolutely have to go their. Great post!!

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  8. Absolutely amazing. Beautiful pictures and solidifies the fact that I absolutely have to go their. Great post!!

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