Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Shkodra, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Hiking the Peaks of the Balkans, June 13-24!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Blizzard at the end of June

Well, yesterday was officially the day we begin the trek east to Ontario. And did we ever start it off with a bang! We knew the scenery heading east through the northern part of Yellowstone park would be spectacular, but the weather forecast was far from great.

It turned out that overall it was a little better than expected... until we got to the top of the Beartooth Pass where we encountered near blizzard conditions!

We had 200 photos to sort through. So, while I've whittled them down, be prepared! Like I said, the scenery on this route is spectacular. In fact, if you're going to do a drive through Yellowstone, we think this northern east to west route is far better than the western south to north route.

Yesterday's drive, 120 miles (192 kms).

We set off fairly early at just after 8:30am. As expected, it was overcast with a few scattered showers.

Heading up towards Mammoth Hot Springs.

Looking back at the town of Mammoth Hot Springs.

Sherman, with the hot springs in the background.
You can see the steam rising.

We stopped for a quick view of Undine Falls.

Pretty thistle flower.

And we did the short 1 mile (1.6 kms) return hike to Wraith Falls.

Looking back at Sherman from the Wraith Falls trail.

This cute little uinta ground squirrel wasn't too worried about us.

Our first bison of the day (of many!).

Our first bear of the day (of only two!)

Yellowstone scenery.

More scenery.

More bison.

This mom is busy!

We came along a section of roadway busy with parked cars at the side of the road. Many people with cameras gawking at something. We figured it was probably a bear, and we found a convenient spot a little further on to pull Sherman well off the road. 

The water is moving!

So sure enough, there was a black bear... lying on a rock having a snooze.

My, what big claws you have!

Hundreds of bison!

A nice relaxing drive with a 45 mph (72 km/h) speed limit.
And often, we were going much slower.

Going through the town of  Cooke City.

Scenery along the way.

We stopped for lunch with a view of Pilot Peak.

And then the road began to climb. Heading up towards Beartooth Pass, the road goes up 3,300' (1,000 meters) in abut 18 miles (30 kms). At Beartooth Pass it tops out at 10,950' (3,340 meters).

Pilot Peak.

Sherman, enjoying the views at one of the rest stops.

Road repair.

We stopped at Beartooth Lake for a walk.
Thanks to Hans for the suggestion!

Unfortunately, the trail we wanted to do was washed out. Apparently that is fairly common with spring melt conditions.

It started snowing while we were up there!

This deer stuck her head up out of the bushes to watch us go by.

Near the top.

At the top, there is a small parking area. We pulled in there, but it started snowing with heavy ice pellets. And it was windy. Couldn't see very much, so we sat and had a nap for 45 minutes waiting to see if things cleared up. They didn't, and by this time it was almost 3:30pm. Couldn't see a thing! So we decided to continue on. Conditions actually got worse, and at one point it seemed like we were driving in a blizzard. There was starting to be an accumulation of snow on Sherman's windshield!


Still huge snowbanks at the top.

We continued on for about ten minutes like that and then out of nowhere things cleared up. It was like we pulled out of the cloud and precipitation and all of a sudden it was like this...

The road isn't even wet!

We continued on downhill. There is a section of switchbacks heading down, but fortunately the grade isn't that steep. Kept it in first and second gear and hardly had to touch the brakes at all. For somebody who hasn't done much mountain driving, I'm sure they would find it a bit hairy. But Sherman is very experienced and has done worse.

Once again, beautiful scenery.

That's our road down there.

Down in the valley heading towards the town of Red Lodge.

Heading towards Red Lodge.

We found a beautiful spot overlooking the town. 
GPS 45.183856, -109.254107

What a day! It was almost 5:30pm by the time we got parked up for the night.

From here, we head east towards Sault Ste Marie, Michigan where we will cross the border into Canada. We will spend the month of July (give or take a few days) getting ourselves to the border crossing. We'll be staying off the Interstate Highways as much as possible, so it won't be in a very straight line. But, we've got lots of time. If we drove 50 miles (80 kms) a day, we would make it by the end of the month.

Happy Canada Day to our Canadian readers! A bit of a muted celebration, I'm sure. Apparently there aren't any fireworks in Ottawa for the first time in as long as anybody can remember. 

The skies have cleared and we are headed off to do a hike!

Fantastic deal on Tide Original Scent Liquid Laundry Detergent. Already on sale, and if you put 3 in your cart you will save a further ten bucks at checkout. Time to stock up!

And in Canada...


  1. I'm writing a post about snow in summer -- and want to borrow three of your photos...I'm mentioning your experience, and including a link. Would that be ok?

    1. Of course Cindy, thanks for asking. If you want the originals, just send me an email.

    2. Thank you, Kevin! You and Ruth are very kind. The post is up now... I tweaked it some from the original, to add more about you. I enjoy your blog so much. We live in a fifth-wheel now that's stayed put for some months. I would really like to go back on the road, but have a book and some other commitments to finish first.

  2. Here's what it would look like.

  3. You got very lucky that they didnt close the pass! They do close it from time to time all summer! I bet you drove right thru Billings huh? Safe travels!

    1. No, we aren't headed for Billings. We want to avoid any Interstate driving.

  4. All the photos are great. However, my favorite today is "the road isn't even wet" is the winner. It really makes me homesick for travel.

    1. I guess that one would make you homesick. I sure reminds us of Saskatchewan as well.

  5. Your photos are spectacular - what a great day you had!

    1. Thank you very much! It was a fantastic day! We love those kinds of drives. :-)

  6. I just got back from a trip to Corvallis, Mt...34 miles south of Missoula...
    On the way home I took one road and did not have one car behind me for 70 miles!..
    "Lucy" and I just puttered along 40-45 mph....Sweet ride looking at the sights and in no hurry...Yippie!

    1. Now those are definitely our kinds of roads and just a nice speed to enjoy the sights without having to worry about who or what is behind you. :-)


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