Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Day 6

July 1

Red Lodge, MT to Grant Village in Yellowstone National Park

An excellent way to start the day is with a tasty KOA pancake breakfast! Friendly staff helped start our day’s adventure out well.

An unexpected bonus to our planning was the route into Yellowstone from Montana. We thought we’d just add a state to our state’s visited map, but realized when looking at the map that we were headed through Beartooth Pass Scenic Highway. This is considered one of America’s best & most beautiful drives. We have to agree! Who would have thought that we’d have a snowball fight on July 1st? Not us, but we did near the summit! Mama had a drink from the melting snow—chilly & refreshing. Hilary (our Vue) and Cortez(our camper) climbed to 11,000 feet at the top through switchbacks up & down the mountains. The drive is chock full of beautiful scenery & some perilous turns. Daddy says at one point—sort of like a Nascar bank on this U-turn! We stopped for lunch at a roadside pullover next to a small lake that still had a snow bank on one end.

We entered Yellowstone National Park (hereafter referred to as YNP) at 1:40pm and at 1820 miles on the trip odometer. Our first wildlife encounter was a small black bear—off the side of the road with a zillion gawkers pulled over as well. We saw bison everywhere…even a couple babies and two who seemed to not like each other much. We stopped at historic Roosevelt Lodge.

Tower falls was a great first geological site to see. An amazing mass of water coming over the cliff. We took pictures unlike Thomas Moran who painted Tower Falls in the last 1800s and is still one of the most famous views of the park. His paintings of areas in the park are what brought individuals like Teddy Roosevelt out to see for themselves! What a treasure this park really has become. We are thankful for Teddy’s desire to bring people to the area. Luke purchased a Jr. Ranger wallet here & Rachel a metal Jr. Ranger badge. They are very excited about becoming Jr. Rangers here.

Headed on to the Canyon Village Education Center where the kids picked up their Jr. Ranger packets ($3 each here where they’ve been free elsewhere—though they get an actual patch & not a plastic badge here.) Canyon Village center focuses on the volcanic aspects of YNP.

More wildlife and great views along the way…Lower Falls, Hayden Valley, driving along the Yellowstone River, Sulphur Cauldren, Mud Volcano, historic Fishing Bridge, Bridge Bay marina, Yellowstone Lake & on into Grant Village located on the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake.

We cooked a yummy dinner of spaghetti & tomato sauce. Luke decided today that he’d finally try sauce & he liked it! Washed dishes in the special bear proof washing room. We had to move all our food, toothpaste & personal care stuff into the car to deter bears from coming to the camp site! They have thousands more scent glands than humans!

We had a couple of s’mores & then off to sleep.
Tomorrow we’re headed around Grand Loop road across the Continental Divide & to Old Faithful & the Geyser Basin.

Liz & family

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