Friday, September 12, 2014

Yellowstone, our favorite park!

As I said we parted ways in Glacier and we headed down to Helena, a leisurely 240 miles, while Karen did a stupendous 530!  She needed to get to Denver where unfortunately she ended up having to do a bunch of work on her engine.  She had a worsening exhaust leak, but ended up having to spend 3 days at Cummins to get it fixed, and had to get a new turbocharger to boot!  We did much better, a pleasant drive into a pleasant campground in Helena to stage us for our early departure to Yellowstone.  Once we moved up to a 45' motorhome we have been unable to stay inside the park at Fishing Bridge, a centrally located full service campground, unfortunately they cannot accommodate anything over 40', so we have been looking at Mammoth Campground, located near the north entrance, and found out they can handle big units to 50', but the deal is no hookups, and first come, first serve for a site.  So we needed to get there just at checkout time, 11am.  We did and lucked out, got a nice site, with a killer view, right in the park, all for $10 bucks a night!

We just love Yellowstone, it has such incredible diversity, drop dead scenery, geothermal features, geysers, and tons of animals.  We like to get up really early, before sunrise and get to one of our favorite spots just as the sun rises.  This usually coincides with animals making their way back after their nightly forays for food.  We were very lucky this year, our first day out to Lamar Valley, we saw 5 wolves.  Too far off for pictures, but our spotting scope brings them right in.  We slid down to Hayden Valley, and on the way saw 2 bull moose, the first time we have ever seen moose in the park, and then watched a grizzly for about 20 minutes as he made his way along the forest.  Of course that doesn't count the hundreds of bison, the coyote, the eagles, the elk, the antelope, or the swans.  It was a sensational quick visit.  

Welcome to Yellowstone!

Yellowstone traffic jam

Get off my road, he says.
I was out walking around the campground one afternoon and almost stumbled upon a small herd of elk making their way through.

As you can see they are right in the campground!

Even a guy with a funny looking antler does alright with the ladies,
he had about 30 females with him!
We spent 2 nights in Mammoth then moved to West Yellowstone to one of our favorite campgrounds anywhere, Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park.  We managed to get 2 nights there.  It's funny, it used to be that after Labor Day the park emptied out, years ago, we would swear we were the only ones there, no more!  Now the older folks without kids, and especially the europeans come in droves, it still better than the middle of the summer, but there are a bunch of people around.
2 swans standing in shallow water

A coyote looking for a plump mouse for lunch
It was cold and rainy the last morning we headed in, but it made for an interesting effect.  It was beautiful in its own way, and then as the day progressed it cleared up.
Rain moving off

Much nicer later on Blacktail Plateau
We have now moved over to Dillon, MT.  We left in falling snow, winter is coming in this part of the world which made for a gorgeous trip as it had just dabbed the mountain tops with glistening white frosting. We will move closer to Boise to arrive there on Sunday.  I'll share our Dillon adventures soon, but I will leave you with a few more bison shots in the meantime.

Licking his chops

And antelope too!

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