CAMPGROUND: 2nd night at Greek Creek in the Gallatin National Forest
LOCATION: 30 miles south of Bozeman, Montana; 50 miles north of Yellowstone (Wyoming)
WEATHER: Cooler. High 75. Rain in the late PM
As all campers know, it is unlawful to carry wood from one campground to another, as harmful beetles hide in the bark and can be easily transported this way. And, as many of you know, we are cheap! So, instead of buying campfire wood at each campground, we scrounge around and pick up the wood others leave behind them. This morning, George raked in a good haul from our neighbors’ leftovers after they left.
KARMEN’S KITCHEN TIP: We use an aero-press to make coffee each morning. It is kind of like a French Press. It is all plastic, so will not break. You just place the coffee into one cylinder, then add hot water, stir, let it steep, push through, and serve. When we have electricity, I heat the water with an electric tea kettle. Today, without electricity, I heated the water in an old-fashioned tea kettle on the stove using propane. Our system works pretty well, other than the day I accidentally threw away the essential plastic filter and had to go dumpster-diving in the campground’s trash to retrieve it!!!
We hadn’t planned to visit Yellowstone, the world’s first national park, on this trip, as we have been there before, and also because we have been hearing stories about its overcrowdedness. But, since we are so close, we decided we just HAD to go.
The 50-mile drive was very pleasant, following the Gallatin River, through pine forests and horse ranches. We entered through the West Yellowtone gate.
We planned a big circle route that would take us through most of the central part of the park. We tried to stop at the first two geyser locations, but the parking lots were impossible. People and cars everywhere, with cars hoping for a parking space, backed up on the highway. We had to give up and forego the sites.
Disappointed, we carried on. We saw some beautiful waterfalls and began to see some animals – a grizzly bear crossing the road, deer, lots of bison, a big elk with a huge antler rack, and these smaller elk right along the road.
As we drove deeper into the park, we began to lose some of the crowds, although there were still lines for everything – parking spaces, the smelly pit toilets, and even picnic tables. All were taken when we stopped for lunch, so we picnicked on a log. No complaints!
It is fun to look at all the car license plates – people come from all over. We heard lots of foreign languages, and of course, there were several Chinese tour buses.
We saw lots of different kinds of geysers
This one is called Dragon’s Mouth as it really looks like a dragon is hiding in a cave and spewing out hot breath….
We ended our visit at Old Faithful. It went off just as we were parking the car, so we saw it at a distance. Old Faithful isn’t as faithful as she used to be. She used to go off regularly each hour, but now it is more like 90 minutes between each blast. In any case, we stopped at the historic Yellowstone Inn and enjoyed watching her steam from the inn’s patio.
On our way home, we stopped at Big Sky Resort. It is a very swanky ski resort and village. At 11,000 feet, the mountainside was filled with ski slopes and beautiful chalets. Another check-off from my book “Thousand Places to Go Before You Die”.
Down the mountain, we stopped for dinner at a brewpub in the village of Big Sky. We shared some lamb lollipops and an order of jambalaya. And of course, the requisite IPA for me and stout for George.