On our last weekend trip, if you remember, we went to Whitefish and Glacier National Park. This was when we first came up with the plan to spend the next 3 day weekend of the year in Yellowstone.
We left Missoula Friday afternoon, later than planned, but still with plenty of time to make it to our first night’s lodging in West Yellowstone. It’s approximately a 4 hour drive. We decided to take the drive through Gallatin Gateway, past Big Sky, and on to West Yellowstone.
This is where I’m remiss for not taking photos of West Yellowstone. The first thing that struck us, is that at 9pm the town was still VERY active. Most of the shops were open and many people were walking around, picking up dinner or souvenirs. The town is very cute, easy to walk around in, and surprisingly international. That was something that struck us more than once over the weekend – Yellowstone has a strong international draw.
The next morning we headed into Yellowstone. This was my first trip and Richard’s second.
Of course we saw Old Faithful (the first photo). We also saw numerous other small geysers, hot pots, and mud pots. I took many more photos including a handful of more artistic shots of the brilliant orange colors of the algae beds and aquamarine colors.
Then there was the wildlife. On the first section of road into the park from West Yellowstone we saw a bull elk. Unfortunately no photo, but the elk was standing in the river within yards of a fly fisherman. We saw another bull, a group of cows, and babies in this area the first evening and the next morning. There were a few individual bison in this area, but the large herd we saw was near the road South of Roosevelt Lodge.
I still find crossing the Continental Divide to be somewhat amusing. I’ve seen all of the West coast, including parts of Alaska, but until I moved to Montana I had never cross the continental divide. On this weekend alone we crossed it 4 times.
We spent all day Saturday and then Sunday morning in Yellowstone. Then we headed South into Wyoming and through Grand Teton National Park.
Sunday night we stayed in Jackson. We ran up to Teton Village to the arts show, chatted with artist friends we met in Whitefish and browsed around a few minutes. Then the rain and wind started. We headed back into Jackson to get out of the weather. It poured that evening and the lights flickered more than once while we were at dinner. The next morning it was still raining. Needless to say that’s my excuse for not getting photos of Jackson. What I can tell you, is that it looks like a fun town to wander around in even though we’re not looking to spend a bunch of money in shops catering to the wealthy.
This is the view looking back on the Jackson Hole valley.
Twice in recent weeks I had seen mention of the Victor Emporium in magazines, once in Sunset and once in Forbes (yes, a very odd combination of magazines). I suspected they were a place that’s open almost 365 days per year and I was right. The Emporium was smaller than I imagined, but I was thrilled to pick up a new pair of Dansko’s, a t-shirt, and a huckleberry milkshake.
We decided to take the more remote route back to Montana. Roughly, this is West from Victor, then angling northwest towards Salmon, then North to the Bitterroot. North of Salmon we were surprised to see two Big Horn Sheep grazing and drinking from a cow pasture.
A last photo while we were on our way home – this is the pass on the way from Idaho into the Bitterroot. Silly me, I did not realize there was a big mountain pass here! I just thought the Bitterroot valley extended into Idaho through a valley between mountain ranges. It was a mixture of sleet and rain that was falling. Lowest temperature seen over the weekend? 36 degrees about an hour East of Salmon, Idaho.
There are many more photos of the trip in our photo album. There’s so much more to see in all the areas we visited, especially Yellowstone, that we’re definitely planning to go back.