With the magnificent Canadian Rockies behind us, we headed back into the US, entering through Montana on October 10, 2015. We stopped in the charming town of Whitefish, MT to do some laundry, wash the truck, and restock before entering Glacier National Park.
This landscape has always been sacred to the Blackfeet, Salish, and Kootenai peoples. It remains no less sacred today for the enduring vision of peace embodied in its unique status. Two countries, two provinces, one state, and the Blackfeet people share common boundaries and stewardship. Together all of these groups protect and celebrate one of the most ecologically diverse parts of the Rocky Mountain West.
We stayed at the Apgar Campground next to Lake McDonald.
We celebrated the Canadian Thanksgiving, not with a turkey dinner but a Montana steak!
Avalanche Lake, after a two mile hike through a beautiful forest.
Joe resting after the hike to Avalanche Lake. Can you see the tiny chipmunk behind the apple?
Driving our Doge Ram3500 diesel with the proper suspension makes having our home on our back feels like one team functioning well.
We drove the Going-to-the-Sun Road to Logan Pass 6646 ft (2025m). Quite a drive!
On the road in Montana
Montana is derived from the Spanish word montaña mountain. The economy is primarily based on agriculture, including ranching and cereal grain farming. Driving through the state was just relaxing and mesmerizing by the grandeur of its landscapes. Ranch after ranch, horses and cattle grazing, mountains and plains, and of course the big skies!
From a distance, I thought they were horses.
Sure they were horses, steel sculptures of horses! Beautiful work of art in the middle of a large field. After a little bit of research on line, I found out that it was the work of Belgrade sculptor Jim Dolan: “It is my gift to the people of Montana”. You can read the story here: BLEU HORSES OF MONTANA
Couple of young Pronghorn Antelope bucks working on their manhood! Antelopes are everywhere in Montana and Wyoming.
Just before entering Yellowstone National Park (West Entrance), you go through the town of Yellowstone, Montana. Even though most of the park is in Wyoming.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Of all the 17 US National Parks we have visited in the last six months, Yellowstone National Park is the mack daddy of them all. Not only it is the first National Park in the US, it was established in 1872, many say that it is the first national park in the world! The abundance of plants and wildlife, the geysers, hot springs, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, canyons … hiking trails and all the activities available are just unbelievable. If you had to chose one park, Yellowstone is without a doubt the one we recommend.
We spent 4 days in Yellowstone.
Just a few miles after entering the park, we came across a small herd of Bisons along side the road.
Fly fishing just before sunset. The colors were spectacular. No it’s not Joe.
Our first sighting of geysers, we thought they were fires.
Old Faithful Geyser is the world’s best known geyser. It erupts in intervals ranging from 45 to 125 minutes and up to 185 feet (56 m) lasting between 1.5 to 5 minutes.
Lower falls from Artist Point.
Mammoth Hot Springs Terrace.
The campground in Yellowstone was full so we stayed just outside the park in the small town of Gardiner, Montana at Eagle Creek Campground. We met a nice couple traveling with their horses.
Campgrounds that accommodate horses! We thought only in Montana but we saw another one in Utah. Pretty amazing!
Bison herds are common sightings in Yellowstone. The Bison population fluctuates from 2,300 and 5,000. They have lived continuously in Yellowstone since prehistoric times.
Grizzly sightings are NOT so common! The Grizzly population was 136 in 1975 and went up to 839 in 2014.
Elks are also pretty common, but we never get tired of looking at them. The summer population of Elk is estimated between 10,000 and 20,000 but only 5,000 spend winter in the park.
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Grand Teton National Park is just 10 miles south of Yellowstone National Park. Nicknamed the Mountains of the Imagination, the Teton Range stands monument to the people who fought to protect it.
310,000 acres of incredible vistas.
The mountain range is 40 mile long
Teton glacier has lost 15% of its surface since 1967 as seen in the photo.
On the road in Wyoming
Our first stop after Grand Teton National Park, was the cool town of Jackson Wyoming where we hung out and spent a couple of nights boon docking at Curtis Canyon Elk Refuge.
We had to take a picture at the Antler Arches in the Town Square of Jackson Hole, WY.
We left Jackson WY and drove south stoping on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land. BLM is a division of the US Department of the interior, they administer 264 million acres of public lands located primarily in the western states.