01 August 2005

Final Yellowstone to Bighorn

For our last trip into Yellowstone we drove out to Canyon Village to see the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park and the Upper and Lower Falls. http://www.nps.gov/yell/tours/canyon/ We had seen the Lower Falls last year and seeing both this year decided that the Lower Falls are the more dramatic of the two. The Upper Falls are pretty, but don’t have the same view points as the Lower Falls. You can view the Lower Falls from ‘Artists Point’ and it really is spectacular, you see the Falls cascading down into the river and running through the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. It’s particularly beautiful when you catch it at just the right time of day when the sun is hitting the canyon walls. This brings out all the colors in the rock from yellow, to pink, to white, to gold, to green….gorgeous.

Along the way to the falls, we stopped at the Artists Paint Pots, it’s a walking tour that leads you around some geothermal features and up to more bubbling mud. The bubbling mud is really pretty cool, but the pictures just are good enough to express it, you have to hear it.

The last thing we did in Yellowstone was to go back out to West Yellowstone and visit the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center again http://www.grizzlydiscoveryctr.com/ . This time the wolves were a bit more active and we got to listen to the baying once for the evening. Last year when we went, the very first time they bayed as soon as we arrived and another 2 times throughout the time we were there. This year a little less eventful, but we were able to witness it once more.

After this we went back to our RV, ate dinner, and generally relaxed.

The following day was Sunday and we spent it catching up, cleaning up, doing laundery. A truly exciting day, at the end of which Bill decided he was done with Yellowstone, done with Gardiner, and ready to hit the road. SOOOO, we packed up, hitched up, pulled up, and took off at 8pm Sunday night. We stopped at the grocery store on the way out to get a couple of things and this was the sunset we were treated to sitting in the parking lot. It was beautiful. Come to find out that there was a 5.6 earthquake in the area that we were in a day or so after we left. Whoo, close one, good thing Bill decided he was done.

We drove for several hours finally stopping in Billings, MT to sleep, at about 1-2am (can’t remember), got up at about 8am, got coffee and bagels, hit the road and drove to Little Bighorn National Battlefield. Viewing the headstones scattered in the fields really tells the tale of Little Bighorn. They have white headstones for the Cavalry and red-granite headstones for the Native Americans. When you drive the fields (we don’t have pics of all the fields) you see white after white after white, dozens of white headstones with maybe one red one in the middle. The pictures I have here aren’t of the fields, but of the difference in color, you can also see that the Native Americans of the area regularly pay hommage to their fallen. Usually the Monument is covered in prayer bags, sage and sweet grass ties, and other items that have been left or tied on as offering. This year they must have cleaned them all off just before we got there because the Monument was clean. Last year it was covered from one end to the other. Little Bighorn is a great place, especially if you like history. I’m glad to see that they have balanced out the history at Bighorn, and are telling both sides of the story.

Well that wraps up Montana, I’ll be posting soon about our drive across the country.