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July 25, 2011 / mws

2009 Yellowstone Sept

September 9   Starting southeast from Glacier Park,  we enjoyed the scenery and arrived in Red Lodge, Montana, our stop for the night. We truly love Red Lodge and try to stay here each time that we visit this area. We like to eat at Bogart’s Restaurant downtown and stroll the streets to take in the sights.

September 10   Beartooth Highway Drive today! This was only the 2nd time that the weather cooperated for us to drive over one of the most scenic roads in America, and today was glorious! We took some photos from the beginning of the drive, and stopped at the chilly Rock Creek Vista Point. We even managed to get a picture of the actual Bear’s Tooth, even though there was construction in the area. We arrived in Cooke City about Noon, grabbed a quick lunch and headed into the park to see our first wildlife. We returned to our the Alpine Motel in Cooke City to spend the night and the next four nights.

September 11  Patriots Day in the Park! A good day to go to Canyon and see Yellowstone Falls. We encountered an early morning bison herd which surrounded our car and caused some mild panic!  One big bison leaned  right against my window…I was nervous. We drove on in the AM chill of 28 degrees in Lamar Valley making our way to the Canyon area.  We started on the North Rim Drive and made several stops for pictures including Lookout Point.

Yellowstone Falls

Yellowstone Falls 2009

Next we went to Grandview Point and walked thru the woods to Canyon Cabins to get a little exercise. From there we continued to Artist Point for more pictures and see the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. We left Canyon and made a quick stop at Tower Falls. Then we proceeded back through Lamar Valley and spied a mousing coyote. Lance had good luck with camera timing to get the right shot.

Yellowstone Coyote

Yellowstone Coyote

September 12   Drove through Lamar Valley and headed over to the Norris Geyser Basin.  Lots of geyser activity along the Porcelain Basin trail and at the largest one….Steamboat Geyser. Next we went north towards the Mammoth area. This was another scenic drive and the everpresent elk were at Mammoth. We drove over towards Tower and stopped at Undine Falls. A sunny, blue sky day…75 degrees. We cruised through the park, taking more photos as we went…and then returned to Cooke City for the night.

September 13  Drove into Lamar Valley early to go wolf watching. You needed a scope to see them, but others were kind enough to share. We saw a wolf pack running along the hillside. The most exciting aspect was to hear the wolf pups yelping because they were hungry and wanted the pack to feed them!  We continued through the park and stopped to see some pronghorn antelope and admire the beautiful Lamar Valley. Next stop was the Cascade Lake Trail. This was a very nice flat and easy hike to a beautiful lake. There were bison along the trail and trumpeter swans at the lake……nice day for a picnic by the lake.

Yellowstone Cascade Lake

Yellowstone Cascade Lake Sept 2009

After the hike, we drove over Dunraven Pass and stopped at a carjam…Grizzly Bear!! He was back in the bushes and we could not get a clear photo, but the bears sure do generate a lot of excitement! We enjoyed a picnic at the Yellowstone River Picnic area, and watched a pronghorn hurl himself across the road. Somehow, the antelope managed to run between the traffic, but it sure was nervewracking to watch. Returned to the Alpine Motel, and the weather was changing. Overnight it really thunder-boomed in the mountains!

September 14 Today we decided to drive over to Cody and have lunch at the Sunset Restaurant. We returned via the Chief Joseph Highway, a very scenic byway.

September 15  The bison is the dominant animal in Yellowstone. I think I read that there are about 3300 bison. We drove to Yellowstone Lake and stopped at the lodge to look around. The rest of the day we drove thru the park and mostly saw elk as we headed towards West Yellowstone for the night.

September 16 West Yellowstone is a very commercial town with hotels, restaurants, and tee shirt shops. We stayed at the Best Western Weston Inn with a free breakfast and a laundry next door, just what we needed by now.

Yellowstone Old Faithful

Yellowstone Old Faithful 2009

Drove into the park and Lance spied an eagle. We decided it must be illegal to go to Yellowstone and NOT go to Old Faithful so we did this geyser basin today. We really enjoyed driving along the Madison River and stopping to take pictures. The Firehole Canyon Drive was another one of our favorites.

September 17  We left the park today and took a drive west to see the landscape. In the afternoon we returned to Firehole Canyon to see what was going on there.

September 18  Our last day in Yellowstone. We took our time as we traveled south towards the Grand Tetons.  We stopped at waterfalls along the way and beside the Madison River for one last picnic in Yellowstone.

What can you say about Yellowstone. It stays in your heart and calls you back time after time.

To see more photos from our 2009 Yellowstone trip, click here
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