The capitol building in Pierre, the capital of South Dakota.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Tulare, South Dakota.

Where are they going next? East towards Ontario.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Drive through Yellowstone National Park

Once again, we got up early and started driving right away. There's some bad weather coming this way, and we wanted to get into Montana. Our route would take us right through Yellowstone National Park, and all of the campgrounds in the park are still closed.

And, it was a bit of a drive with lots to see along the way. In fact, we took almost 125 pictures. I whittled them down to about 50, so prepare yourself for quite a few photos in this blog post!

We set off at 6:45am...

Heading down the rough forest service road to highway 191 north.

There, that's a little smoother!

There are some other early risers out.

Good morning Mr. Elk.

More mountains.

We had to pass through Grand Teton National Park and the entrance booths were closed so we didn't have to pay.

We're driving along when we see a flashing sign saying "no parking between the cones" or something to that effect. We continue on to find that there are probably over 100 people, most of them with cameras and big zoom lenses. And of course many vehicles parked on the side of the road. What a circus.

We can't think of any reason that all of these people would be here unless it is to view a bear. But seriously? It's only a bear!

This is at 7:15am!

Looks like a camera lens competition.
My lens is bigger than your lens!

This is not why I would visit a National Park!

No parking between the cones.

And no, we didn't stop!

We continued on through Grand Teton National Park and up into Yellowstone National Park. This time, the entrance booths were open. I explained that we were just passing though, but the girl said it doesn't matter. That will be $35 USD ($47 CAD) please. 

Not thinking, we paid the bill. But as we carried on, we realized that we should have bought the annual pass! After all, we want to visit Glacier National Park as well. When we made it to the north exit, I went to the girl there and explained our mistake. She sold us an annual pass for the difference. The annual pass is $80 USD ($107 CAD).

Our plan is to come back through Yellowstone and do the Bear Tooth Highway on our way east at the beginning of July. So it made sense to have the pass, and who knows maybe there are other places we can make use of it on our way east. 


View from the shore of Jackson Lake.


Forest fire damage.

Still quite a bit of snow up here.

But the rivers are moving fast.





Lewis Falls.

This almost looks like a winter scene.

We stopped at the Mud Volcano area and went for a walk around the various boiling pits. Interesting stuff!

Steaming mud.

This cave gurgles and burps.

Ruth, looking at Sour Lake.


Black Dragon's Caldron.

I made a quick video for you...



And another video...



Lots of underground activity going on here at Yellowstone.

You can't drive through Yellowstone without seeing a bison or two.


Losing his winter coat.

They sure are funny looking animals.


Scenery along the way.

Near the north entrance, the road drops through this canyon.

This "bridge" looks fairly new.




Elk are pretty tame around the village of Mammoth.

We entered the state of Montana and exited the park just before the town of Gardiner. We had stayed overnight at a Forest Service Campground in April of 2015, but it is $7 USD per night and I had read of several different free options.

Heading towards the town of Gardiner.

First, we stopped at the library to use the free WiFi.

This mountain bluebird posed for us.

We drove over to the cemetery thinking it might make for a good overnight spot, which it would have except that the town cemetery is physically located inside the National Park boundary! So it is not allowed to "camp" there.

There was a nice view of the town from the cemetery hill.

Sherman, parked at the cemetery.

Near the park entrance.
"For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People".

Yellowstone River.

We drove up the hill on the forest service road to where the campground is. But, we continued on to where there are several roadside pulloffs. Nothing saying you can't overnight there, and so we parked up. We weren't the only ones with that thought. Several other RV's passed by us looking envious at our great spot. 

Great views from our campsite.

Yesterday's drive 135 miles (216 kms).

The road was actually quite busy, but things quieted down after supper and we had a great sleep.

Not sure what's on the agenda today, but we will find somewhere to hike this morning. I think we will hang around Gardiner for the next couple of days. The Winter Storm Warning is in effect from 5 pm today until noon Monday. Imagine, a winter storm warning in June! Yellowstone park is supposed to get 2" to 4" of snow, with some localized areas getting 6". Gardiner itself is a little lower altitude, so hopefully it will show up mostly as rain. We'll know when we wake up in the morning! We may find somewhere to do some stealth camping in town tonight just to avoid any possible muddy and wet roads tomorrow.

High today supposed to be 52F (11C) with an overnight low of 33F (1C). Monday they are calling for a high of 42F (7C) and an overnight low of 30F (-1C). Brrr.

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Decent deal on the top of the line Viair 400-P RV Automatic Portable Compressor Kit

And in Canada...



23 comments:

  1. Now you're in my home state. I am really looking forward to seeing where you go and what you do. We'll be at Canyon Ferry outside of Townsend for July and August.

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    1. We have always wanted to see more of Montana but we have never been able to explore it at the right time of year so we are really looking forward to our time here this time.

      I am not sure that we will meet up as we will be wanting to head east back to Ottawa, Ontario but the beginning of July but you never know, our plans often change. :-)

      We hope that both you and Jim are keeping well and staying healthy.

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  2. Montana is one of our favorite states to visit. We were at Glacier National Park in June of 2016 and couldn't park at any of the visitor centers. They had park officers at the entrances to say if there were any parking spots or not. In our case each time, NOT! Regardless, it's a beautiful drive.

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    1. We have never had the time to explore Montana before because we were always just passing through to get up to Saskatchewan for work by May 1st so this year we are happy to have that extra time because it has always been a state that we wanted to see more of. This is definitely our kind of scenery. :-)

      We are planning on heading up to Glacier National Park! We love Waterton National Park in Canada so we know that we will love it there too. Hopefully because of the situation with COVID-19 it won't be nearly as busy as normal. If it is too busy we won't be spending as much time there as we might like.

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  3. I don't know if you have heard of grizzly sow 399, it is said she is the most famous bear in the world. She's 25 and has been raising her cubs along road there for at least 15 years so every Spring her fans wait anxiously to see how she is, if she has cubs and how they all are doing. There was a lot of speculation on whether or not she would have any more cubs since she is getting pretty old, so it was quite the shock when she showed up with FOUR coy (cubs of the year) this May! Very unusual for a grizzly to have that many and that 399 would and at her age has been very exciting and you got to see the evidence of it :) !

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    1. Forgot to mention, there are quite a few grizzlies in that area right now: 610- an offspring of 399 has 2 yearlings, Blondie has 1 coy, Blondie's twins that she kicked out last year are still together there and at least one of 399's twins that were kicked out last year has shown up too!

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    2. Okay, thanks for the explanation Cheryl. It makes a little more sense now.

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    3. we just drove through last week, exit to montana was closed.had to backtrack 100 miles through javkson hole to get to room in idaho

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    4. Wow, 4 cubs is rare. When I was driving the Cassier Hwy I saw a bear sow with 4 cubs in tow all in a line, the last cub was a ghost bear. I stopped, grabbed the camera, but they disappeared behind the trees, and I was not about to go chasing after them. Would have been a money shot, that's for sure!

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    5. I am there every year, and even though that grizzly is famous, the bear jam occurs for every bear sighting.

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    6. Nancy, we believe it, and we can't even begin to imagine what it would be like in a normal summer season here. Not something we would enjoy.

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  4. Thank you for the tour of the Yellowstone area. I have family there but have never had the pleasure to visit. (They always seem to want to come back to Canada.) I'm sure my cousin will tell me all about the winter storm warning when we chat this evening.

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    1. You are welcome! We spent a bit more time in Yellowstone back in 2015 where we went and saw Old Faithful and some of the other attractions as we made our way up to Saskatchewan, you can read about it in this post and the next one in case you are interested www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2015/04/one-day-in-yellowstone-national-park.html. It really is a beautiful area and we are glad that it isn't as busy as it would normally be at this time of year because there are no international travelers here and many people still aren't doing the tourist thing because of COVID-19. I don't think we would like the crowds that gather here otherwise, it would be too much for us.

      So far we haven't got the snow they were calling for, at least not here in Gardiner.

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    2. I had a chuckle over the photo of the lookers hanging around by the side of the road. When my cousin Deborah (who lives just outside of Jackson Hole) came to visit us in the Ottawa Valley, she was wondering why so many people were stopped along the side of the road while she cruised through Algonquin Park. She thought they were just standing around in the middle of the woods for the sake of standing around. har har

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    3. Lol, yep if you don't know what they are looking at you probably would just drive by shaking your head. We learned very quickly when we were in Etosha National Park in Namibia that if there were cars pulled over on the road, you knew that they was something important to see, like cheetahs! :-)

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  5. We had snow flurries twice while staying in Yellowstone in JULY. Once we were on our bikes, and the temp dropped from around 60 to low 30s in an hour! Yes, we were underdressed and freezing. Had no idea of the crazy weather fluctuations in that area.

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    1. Yikes, and we thought that June was late for snow flurries! Brrr...I am cold just reading that. We will remember to dress warm while we are out and about. Layers are what is need in this environment.

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  6. The elk in Mammoth are not tame. They are quite mean. My brother works for the park and lives in Mammoth. The children are told that whenever they see a elk, they are to walk into the closest house. Looks like a great trip! BTW, it can and does snow in every month.

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    1. Kevin didn't mean tame as being able to go up and pet one, what he meant was that they were all around town and weren't bothered by people, whereas in the bush as soon as one sees you, they are off and running. We would never think about going up close to one.

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  7. Brought back great memories of our all time favourite National Park. Thought you might have stayed longer, we found lots of places to camp and trails to explore.

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    1. You can't boondock/wildcamp within the park boundaries and all the campgrounds in the park haven't opened up yet, so no we just drove through. We had spent a couple of days in the park back in April 2015 though and we will be driving through a small part of it again when we start heading over to Ottawa near the beginning of July.

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