Saturday, September 17, 2016

Beartooth Pass to Yellowstone

Yesterday I mentioned to my host, Samantha, that I was planning to go to Yellowstone taking a route that would miss Red Lodge.
"Oh, then you're going to miss the pass," she cautioned.
"The pass?"  I asked.
She told me about Beartooth Pass, which I took instead. It takes longer, but perfectly worth it. I would drive all day without complaint if it looked like this.
Beartooth Pass is also known as US-212 and as the Scenic Byway through Custer National Forest.
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 Around every corned was another natural beauty. A hill made of rocks, or a cliff covered in snow. Jutting rock formations amongst evergreen trees. Sheer rock walls. Rivers, lakes, prairie, grass, ... etc.

Let's just say "OMG" was uttered quite a few times today.  And I may also have said "Whaaaat?  Are you kidding me!?" a few times as well. It was an agog and agape kind of day.

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 We saw cows and lots of bison. Also I think I saw a bighorn elk. We also saw deer. A huge activity at Yellowstone is bison watching. They sometimes come really close to the road.
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 Some areas are a mixture of down trees and small, young ones. And other areas seem to be populated by dead tree trunks. I wonder if that's the beetlekill I heard about. It didn't look like fire damage.
 Yellowstone National Park is basically freaking amazing. It puts all other parks to shame and its my new favorite. I am planning to return, and I think it would require at least 3-5 days to fully experience the park.  It took me all day to just drive through the park.
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I stopped often to take pictures, but also drove past many spots I would have stopped if I had more time and it wasn't so cold.
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 I had on shorts but it wasn't shorts weather. When I was at the top of Bear Tooth pass it was 11,000 feet and about 37 degrees. And the wind was so furious it was hard to open the car door against it.
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 That didn't stop River from going in Yellowstone Lake. I didn't go in.
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 Almost immediately upon entering Grand Teton National Park, the fall colors came out in full force. The way the sun was bouncing off the lake, illuminated the yellow leaves and made them glow.


Grand Tetons
I got into Jackson and almost drove past a burger place, but something told me to turn around and give it a try.  Turns out to be a good instinct. It was a family owned business, not a chain. The beef was fresh and grass-fed and the buns are made daily. I wrote more about it here. 


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