July 30 - 31, 2014 Travel to West Yellowstone and Bakers Hole Campground

Wednesday, July 30th

This morning we awoke at 4 AM.  Yes, that’s right 4 AM.  We wanted to be on the road early because we had hoped to avoid the traffic jams and get to Bakers Hole Campground north of West Yellowstone early.  That campground is part of the Gallatin National Forest and it is first come, first serve.  This time of year it fills by noon.

So at first light, we made our way west thru the Shoshone National Forest into Yellowstone National Park:

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Going up to Sylvan Pass – the sun was rising:

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Past many waterfalls:

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Thru Sylvan Pass:

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And down the other side:

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Past thru all the beautiful wildflowers:

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Early Morning Boat Ride:

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Beautiful Hot Springs:

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Pelican Creek Area:

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We stopped at Fishing Bridge RV Park, used their dump station, and then headed north along the Yellowstone River where we saw the fog:

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Remember the picture of Hayden Valley and the buffalo herd from Monday?  Well, the valley was really fogged in so we took it very slow.  Almost didn’t see these guys until we were upon them:

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At Canyon Village, we turned west.  In 1981, I was thru this area and called it “The Avenue of the Giants.”  There was row upon row of very tall lodge pole pine – it was awesome.  In 1988, many were destroyed in the Yellowstone Fire.  In 1997, Andy and I were thru here and it was still pretty bare.  It is nice to see all this growth since then.

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At Norris Village, we turn south along the Gibbon River where we came into the fog again:

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Past more hot springs:

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Into Madison Village where we turned west again, out of the park, into West Yellowstone, and lastly, north to Gallatin National Forest, Bakers Hole Campground.

We arrived at 9 AM and did our rounds looking for an electric site.  We did not find any so we pulled into a non electric site and walked around the campground to see if anyone was leaving today.   And, yes, we found someone who was, and he told us to pull in behind him until he was ready to go.

We had some great conversation with them in between them packing up – what a wonderful couple.  They left around 1 PM and we pulled up and spent the afternoon getting situated.

Here is our site:

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The other end of our site – it is a HUGE pull thru:

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Our backyard:

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Andy enjoying himself and the campfire:

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Dusty just loves the forest and the greenery.  He had a great time exploring:

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And our Bella kept an eye on Dusty.  We do not let her out because she gets very scared and wants to run and hide.

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What a wonderful day!  We hope to be here for a while to enjoy the forest and do some exploring.

Stats for today: 103 Miles

Miles Traveled: Routes Traveled:

Wyoming: US 14/16/20; Grand Loop Road; US 20/191/287

Montana: US 20/191/287; US 191/287

Thursday, 31st

We were in bed very early last night and just took it easy this morning.  After lunch, we decided to check out West Yellowstone.  So we drove around and made stops at the Laundromats (to check out), the hardware store, the grocery store, the Visitor Center, the Gallatin National Forest Visitor Center, Grizzly RV (they have a dump station for only $6.00) – and checking out the scenery along the way.

One of my beading buddies, Nora, is working at the guilt shop here so we stopped in to see her – what a nice surprise.  The store was getting busy so we only stayed a short time and hope to get together soon.

I spent the rest of the day getting the blog caught up and answering emails.  So if I owe you an email and you haven’t received it, please email me again.  We do have phone and internet service here with our Wilson antennae.

Another wonderful day in the forest – Smile


July 28 - 29, 2014 Yellowstone National Park

Monday, 28th, our journey took us into Yellowstone National Park.  From our campground, it is 22 miles to the East Entrance of the Park and then another 27 miles to the first village.

Once we entered the gate, the road started to ascend and then hugged the mountain side:

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We did stops along the way and all the mountain wildflowers were in bloom:

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The road took us thru Sylvan Pass:

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This is the only park road that crosses the Absaroka Mountain Range, an immense chain of volcanoes 50 million years old, much more ancient than the Yellowstone Plateau.  Buffalo Bill Cody was instrumental in getting this road and entrance from the park to Cody.

We passed Sylvan Lake:

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And made our way down the mountain to Yellowstone Lake.

Yellowstone Lake is the largest high altitude lake in North America – 7733 feet.  It measures 20 by 14 miles, 339 feet deep with 110 miles of shoreline.

Notice the trees – this is one of the areas where fire has happened:

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This is from one of the overlooks – the road makes it way along the lake:

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Flowers everywhere!

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We saw evidence of fire in many of the places on the west side of Sylvan Pass as you can see on the above pictures. 

We made our way down to the lake shore where the water was cold – Brrrr.

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On one of the overlooks, we met this fellow:

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Two videos of these huge birds:



On that same overlook, we saw fumaroles, or steam vents.  These fumaroles form when temperatures are so high that all the moisture escapes the ground as steam rather than water.

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From the lake, we stopped at Pelican Creek Valley area:

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We did not see any grizzlies but we did see trumpeter swans and pelicans.

Trumpeter Swans are one of the world’s rare birds.  In Yellowstone, they are commonplace.  They are located here, in Alaska, and in Red Rock Lakes.

We stopped at Fishing Village and checked out their RV Park, Visitor Center, and Museum and then headed north to Hayden Valley.

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The valley is 9 miles long and 6 miles wide and the year round home to over 1000 bison.  It is also where there are many traffic jams.  Today was no exception.

This guy was HUGE:

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At the turn of the century, America’s wild bison – which at one time numbered 60 million- had dwindled to about two dozen animals.  The bison in Yellowstone today are descendants of those survivors and there is over 4000 of them in the park.

Yes, they make themselves at home:

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Check out this bison in the video – wasn’t sure if he was going to run into me or ???


They are so majestic!

Hayden Valley and one of the herds of American Bison:

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Traffic Jam:

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Male bison can weigh up to 2000 pounds:

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Notice the babies.  There was so many young in this herd.  The babies are born a vey light brown.  They will be dark by the time winter is here:

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Another view of the valley:

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Our next stop was the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.  We stopped at the Lower Falls Overlook first. 

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The Lower Falls:

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I loved the color contrasts:

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A video of the Lower Falls:


The Yellowstone River flows north from Yellowstone Lake.  It decreases in altitude creating the Yellowstone Falls.  The Upper Falls plunges 109’ and the Lower Falls plunges 308’.

Our next stop was the top of the Upper Falls – the water was roaring:

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From there we went to the Canyon Village area and found a nice picnic table to have lunch.  Afterwards we walked thru the Visitor Center, Museum, Store and saw both movies on Yellowstone.

There are a number of museums in Yellowstone and each has a theme.  The Canyon Museum was all about the Yellowstone Volcano and Caldera.

Some interesting facts:

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They continue to research the area.  In the fall of 2013, researchers announced that the Yellowstone Hot Spot is 2.5 times bigger than they previously thought.  It doesn’t mean that the magma chamber is growing or that an eruption is imminent, it just means that newer equipment, newer research, and more studies are giving us better data.

They also discovered last year, that the park is releasing much more helium that they originally thought – to the tune of hundreds of times more.  WOW!

After the museum, we decided to head back.  It was almost 3 PM and we were about 70 miles from home.

We went back thru Hayden Valley:

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Mating time will be soon – late summer, early fall – and this scene will be replayed over and over:

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This bison decided to lead the cars up the road:

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Past the lake, where the clouds were getting dark – oh, oh:

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And our last big surprise of the day – isn’t she cute Smile:

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It was a WONDERFUL but LONG day!

I love Yellowstone but have yet to stay in the park.  This time of year, it is so crowded.  Some of the places we want to see, there were so many cars and no places to park – Yikees!!!

So some year, I will make reservations at each of the campgrounds over a summer – Smile! 


Tuesday, 29th, we woke to clouds and rain and just hung out.  We have decided to move to West Yellowstone tomorrow.  We would love to be here the full 16 days but will probably need a dump station before them.  The closet one is 20 miles east at Buffalo Bill State Park or 50 miles west in Yellowstone.  We could make it a few more days but that would put us into the weekend and we try not to move during a weekend (if possible).  We hope to stay at one of the forest service campgrounds on the west side of Yellowstone so we can stay in the forest a little longer.

To get there, we will be going thru Yellowstone, so stay tuned for more pictures and enjoy today.