Yellowstone/Tetons, 2016

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Yellowstone/Tetons, 2016

Postby Jay w » Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:14 am

Yellowstone 2016
There was a fair amount of discussion on where to go this year for vacation. I was pushing for something new, so:

1. North Cascades was my choice. Also on the table was a few days in
2. Yellowstone, and then make a swing through Idaho (ain’t never been), or finally,
3. Yellowstone and Tetons.

Julie has never been to Yellowstone, so she was wanted to do that. The deal we made was, she had to get up early, something she has never done in 20 some years of camping. Ok, rarely done. We also decided the Tetons were “safer” than Idaho (with a nudge from Pete), meaning we knew the Tetons would have good scenery.
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Mobridge
Rather than drive 94 through North Dakota, we decided to take Hwy 12 through northern South Dakota which eventually meets up with 94 at Miles City. The first stop was Aberdeen for a Subway, and then we stopped in Mobridge as we rubbernecked a burned out building. “Well, go ahead and stop.”

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As we were circling the boarded up building, we ran into James and his friend. He told us all about the fire, but also suggested visiting the Sitting Bull memorial. “Just go across the bridge to the casino and take a left.” His friend asked for money.

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I guess sitting Sitting Bull was first buried at Ft Yates and then reinterred at the Stand Rock reservation. So I’ve made the full circle, the Battlefield of Little Bighorn and now Mobridge.

Onward
We never realized North Dakota was such a treasure trove of abandoned buildings. Who would have known.

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Marmarth
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Our overnight was at Forsyth, at the same campsite I used a few years ago.

Jay
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Re: Yellowstone/Tetons, 2016

Postby Deb1741 » Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:26 am

WoooHoooo.......Yellowstone Park is my favorite backyard playground so I'm always up for a Yellowstone trip report. :arrow: :arrow: :arrow:

I love that the fact that you take the time on your drives to take pics along the way. I need to do that more often but seem to get in the "get there as fast as can" and "get home as fast as I can" mentality. I really need to start slowing down because there are so many cool things to see here in Montana that I've never seen (even though I've lived here all my life).

Looking forward to the rest of your trip report. :D

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Re: Yellowstone/Tetons, 2016

Postby teapot57 » Mon Sep 05, 2016 2:04 pm

So looking forward to the rest of a new Jay W trip report! Great photos so far.
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Re: Yellowstone/Tetons, 2016

Postby Jay w » Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:57 pm

Island Lake

The game plan was to camp at Island Lake (Beartooth Pass) and then drive into Yellowstone when we felt like negotiating hordes of people. Here’s the highway:

http://beartoothhighway.com/beartooth-highway-maps/

The campsite was loaded with firewood, but it looked like newly cut wood from this season. Still, the site was fantastic.
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The lake:
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Yellowstone Day 1

Julie was in the car waiting to go at 6 am. Really! We hit the NE entrance before 7 am, and I kept hearing, “Coffee, coffee…..I need coffee.” The first stop was Roosevelt Lodge for some free coffee. Then on to Mammoth.

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I love Prismatic Spring, but when Julie saw the crowds, she wanted to skip the stop.

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Old Faithful

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A little play on words….

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These guys were stranded by a line of cars along the highway. They were quite agitated and ended up swimming across to shore and then we left, hoping to help the situation.

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We got back to the campsite, pulled a flask of manhattans out of the cooler and found the cap was loose and the whole flask had dumped into the ice. Damn.

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A campfire listening to music.

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Re: Yellowstone/Tetons, 2016

Postby Deb1741 » Mon Sep 05, 2016 6:34 pm

Island Lake is my favorite campground on the Beartooths to stay at. Some very nice secluded campsites. My grandson and I kayaked on the lake last September and I've hiked on the trail that goes towards Becker Lake quite a few times. Gorgeous country.

Beautiful pics of Grand Prismatic. We don't visit it anymore during the high season due to the crowds. Well, I guess its been a long time since we've gone on the boardwalks period. We've always climbed the hill but that was closed and marked off-limits last year and they are not building a trail and overlook on the Fairy Falls trail side which will be nice.

You're putting some serious miles on if you're basing your Yellowstone trip portion from Island Lake. Last August we stayed at Fox Creek which wasn't too bad at 11 miles from the northeast entrance. It's nice but definitely not as pretty as Island Lake Campground though.

What kind of picnic table shelter is yours? We've been talking about getting one.

Deb
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Re: Yellowstone/Tetons, 2016

Postby Jay w » Mon Sep 05, 2016 7:59 pm

Teapot. Thanks.

Deb, it's a Wenzel. I had to go look since I didn't remember. Julie said she was able to get out of bed early because she wasn't hiking her ass off first thing. We did log a lot of miles and listened to a lot of books on CD and often got back late. It's a great campground, but at 10,000 feet, it's also fickle. We made sure to bring a cover for the table and a light weight tarp that we put over the tent. When I was here last time, it rained a lot, (and sleeted and snowed, and ...). We probably didn't need the tarp, but the picnic shelter didn't keep the table dry (lots of wind apparently). We weren't in the camp when it rained.

The overlook trail was closed because they were (still apparently) working on the trail and overlook. I had a stronger telephoto this time and wanted to get up there, but the signage was really clear. Don't even thing about hiking back there.

The last time I did Yellowstone I stayed at Crazy Creek and they had a bear attack (fatal I'm pretty sure) a month or two afterwards. It wasn't a scenic campground and the hosts were really all over having clean camps (which reason it appears). Those Yellowstone bears aren't too friendly. The Glacier bears are much better hosts.

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Re: Yellowstone/Tetons, 2016

Postby brindledog » Mon Sep 05, 2016 8:36 pm

Have not been to Yellowstone since 2004. Just look at the throngs of people! We used to go in early September and it really wasn't that crowded. I guess a lot has changed in 12 years.
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Re: Yellowstone/Tetons, 2016

Postby Deb1741 » Mon Sep 05, 2016 8:54 pm

Jay w wrote:Teapot. Thanks.

Deb, it's a Wenzel. I had to go look since I didn't remember. Julie said she was able to get out of bed early because she wasn't hiking her ass off first thing. We did log a lot of miles and listened to a lot of books on CD and often got back late. It's a great campground, but at 10,000 feet, it's also fickle. We made sure to bring a cover for the table and a light weight tarp that we put over the tent. When I was here last time, it rained a lot, (and sleeted and snowed, and ...). We probably didn't need the tarp, but the picnic shelter didn't keep the table dry (lots of wind apparently). We weren't in the camp when it rained.

The overlook trail was closed because they were (still apparently) working on the trail and overlook. I had a stronger telephoto this time and wanted to get up there, but the signage was really clear. Don't even thing about hiking back there.

The last time I did Yellowstone I stayed at Crazy Creek and they had a bear attack (fatal I'm pretty sure) a month or two afterwards. It wasn't a scenic campground and the hosts were really all over having clean camps (which reason it appears). Those Yellowstone bears aren't too friendly. The Glacier bears are much better hosts.

Jay


Thanks for letting me know about the picnic table shelter brand. :D

Yea, it gets cold at Island Lake. When we tent-camped there last September it got way below freezing one night and it snowed. I'm an early riser. I got up that morning and walked around the camp loop quite a few times to warm up but it didn't work so I fixed a mug of hot chocolate and sat in the car with the heater running. We were in a pretty secluded campsite without anyone within 100 yards of us so I wasn't too worried about waking anyone up.

The overlook trail isn't supposed to be done until maybe next fall. They also permantly closed Midway Bluff just across the road from the Midway Geyser parking lot this year. While the view isn't near as good as the view from the Fairy Falls hill we were going to scramble up it this June to check it out. Since they put the area permanently off-limits we will never do it.

The fatal bear attack was at Soda Butte Campground just east of Cooke City in 2010. The grizzly sow and her cubs attacked people in 3 different tents. At the final tent, she killed the guy and dragged him off into the brush and they ate on him. The campground was closed for quite a few years after that. It is now open to just hard-sided units only. The loop that the guy was killed is just opened for day use now. Colter Campground another mile east was also closed to tent camping after the incident.

We've come upon fresh scat when hiking beyond Island Lake but we've never seen a bear around the area. We backpacked the 26 mile Beaten Path trail between Cooke City and East Rosebud Lake on the Red Lodge side about 4 years ago and had a young grizzly bear about 40 yards off the trail and also had one go within 10 feet of our tent one night (he left his tracks).

If you ever get a chance and have a decent vehicle, drive back on the LuLu Pass road east of Cooke City for awhile. Beautiful country. We drove back there last September and decided that we needed to do some day hiking back there someday.

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Re: Yellowstone/Tetons, 2016

Postby Jay w » Tue Sep 06, 2016 8:45 am

Deb, thanks for the detail about the attack. I didn't know three tents were attacked, and I guess 6 years made me think it was the same campground I stayed in during late June (for 1 night I believe). It's a cold area. I can see why there's a plateau called "froze to death plateau" or something like that. The puddle on my picnic table in the June trip was frozen the next morning, and that's fairly low compared to the neighborhood. I wasn't sure Julie would like the Island Lake campsite (too high?), but she did.

I'll have to look at that road.

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Re: Yellowstone/Tetons, 2016

Postby Deb1741 » Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:24 pm

Jay w wrote:Deb, thanks for the detail about the attack. I didn't know three tents were attacked, and I guess 6 years made me think it was the same campground I stayed in during late June (for 1 night I believe). Jay


If you're interested in reading the final investigative review report on the incident I have the link for it. Actually, I have the links for all of the bear attacks that ended with a fatality in the Greater Yellowstone Area since 2010. While gruesome, I read them as a learning tool since my grandson and I camp, hike, and backpack by ourselves. Just let me know if you would like the link (or links).

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Re: Yellowstone/Tetons, 2016

Postby teapot57 » Wed Sep 07, 2016 4:53 pm

The boardwalk crowds are unreal! But at least all those people are getting out and enjoying nature.

Your campsite looks amazing.

Your photos of people taking photos . . . Quite amusing! A true sign of the times. People have their phones out everywhere.

Keep it coming!
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Re: Yellowstone/Tetons, 2016

Postby brindledog » Wed Sep 07, 2016 5:37 pm

More, please.
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Re: Yellowstone/Tetons, 2016

Postby Jay w » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:06 pm

Yellowstone Day 2

Much like Day 1, but one day later. After yesterday’s multiple requests for coffee, I decided to cook coffee in the campground. Water was ready to go, but it took forever to run through the funnel filter. So even though I got up earlier (before 5 am) we got out of camp after 6 am.

It was buffalo day. I got a new lens this summer, so I was playing around with it. Pardon me for posting lots of buffalo photos, it’s just how it worked out.

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I believe this is just north of Canyon Village.
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We did a loop on North Rim Trail, including a lunch.
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Here’s an osprey, I believe.
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And then a loop on the South Rim Trail. Things were wide open, no waiting in traffic jams, no problem parking, and hardly anyone was around.
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So, it’s back to more buffalo and buffalo jams on our way south through Hayden Valley.
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We stopped at a picnic area along the Yellowstone River. Julie and I tried to get in and swim since we hadn’t had a shower yet, but the water was too cold for me. A group was hiking along the opposite side of the river and was trying to ford. They finally gave up, but it was entertaining for us. Maybe it was the half bottle of wine with the crackers and cheese.

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Heading back home.
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I thought this was a funny shot. Julie got a shot with a bit more of the women shooting selfies. Again, no buffalo jams all day. Easy, breezey driving.
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Back at camp.
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Hopefully tomorrow’s coffee will go better.

Jay
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Re: Yellowstone/Tetons, 2016

Postby Deb1741 » Thu Sep 08, 2016 6:13 pm

Yes, that was an osprey on the rock nest. There is one that nests there every year. Did you see any young ones? When we were there the 2nd week of June she had two babies that had recently hatched as they didn't have any feathers yet.


If you're into birds there is another very active osprey nest in the Lamar River Canyon between the Slough Creek Campground turnoff and Lamar Canyon. There is a pullout that is straight across from the easily viewed nest. In June there is usually a peregrine falcon nest by Calcite Springs. We watched one this June that lost all three eggs within 3 days. :( Oh, and there is a very active blue heron rookery at the Nez Perce Picnic area just south of the Mud Volcano area. You have to have binoculars, scope or good lens to be able to get decent pics. There are times we've counted 15 active nests with two to three babies in each nest.

Love your bison pics. While a person can become tired of seeing them (especially after being stuck in a few bison jams) they truly are interesting creatures. I like the photo of the one giving himself a dust bath.

Deb
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Re: Yellowstone/Tetons, 2016

Postby Jay w » Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:30 pm

Didn't see any young ones. Thanks for all the great detail about the park. Before the next trip, I'll have to pick your brain about more locations. We were simply driving around and seeing what we see.

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