Monday, June 25 is a beautiful day; a great day to go sight seeing. The Northeast corner of Yellowstone is beautiful, with Lamar Valley encompassing much of it. Here, there are large bison and elk herds as well as a sizable wolf and bear population. One big drawback is, it is not on the way to anything… PERIOD. It is hard to justify a 200 mile road trip just to see more beauty …(but not impossible to justify!)
And there is another justification. Continuing out of the park, you will encounter a most unique highway…The Beartooth Scenic Byway! And on the other side of Bearthooth Pass you arrive at Red Lodge. Turn right and head to Cody for a shopping trip. And so the day began… plan in hand …and us, ready for another adventure!
Lamar Valley is big and beautiful. Those dots are bison.
With a blue sky and a valley so picturesque it looks like it belongs in a Disney movie, we pass through Hayden, motor to Canyon, and see a bear in Tower. At Roosevelt, we turn right onto Lamar Valley Road. Here, we spot bison, elk, pronghorns, and lots of spectators. The Lamar River is pretty spectacular especially above the flatlands where it crashes over rocks and ledges as it plummets into the valley below. As we climb out of the grasslands into the hills, the large evergreens, full of pine and spruce, give a feel similar to the White Mountains back East. But the size of the mountains here are a game-changer!
Top left-Lamar River, Top right-Lamar Valley, middle-pronghorn, bottom middle-grizzly, bottom-elk
Soon, we find ourselves climbing in terrain with patches of snow. And everywhere you look…there…and there…and there! It’s a picture in every direction! A few minutes later …and you repeat; Spectacular views 3600.
Silver Gate, Cooke City, then up to the Beartooth Mountains
Soon, we reach Beartooth Pass. Looking southwest you view the majestic Absaroka Mountain Range. These mountains are mostly volcanic in nature with some shaping from the last ice age. The Beartooth Range is quite different and formed from the glacier upheavals. But they do have one thing in common …they are very high up!
In the alpine meadows, the ponds are just becoming ice-free. Where the snow is gone, some flowers are blooming. But in some areas, there are many feet of snow. On the north side of the pass, there is a tow bar operating… and skiers skiing! It is June 25th! Wow!
Still skiing at Beartooth Pass
At about 11,000 feet, the tops of these mountains are exposed to the elements. The road wasn’t cleared until June 9th. And some snow banks are still 5 to 8 feet high in northern, sheltered areas. And the road itself is a scary drive, both up and then back down. By the time you get to Red Lodge, you have reached the high plains and the next 70 miles to Cody are pretty uneventful.
We spend an hour plus at Cody’s Walmart, using their internet, and stocking up on groceries. With 3 weeks of supplies and all gassed up, we prepare for our trek back home. All of a sudden, the ride from Cody seems quite short since we already traveled well over 200 miles.
Deb and I at Beartooth Pass
They used this snowblower 3 weeks ago.
STAY TUNED! More “tales from the campah”!
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Coming Soon!!! YouTube channel with movies of the adventures!