Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bridge Bay Yellowstone August 19 - 23, 2010

Thursday August 19, 2010
I had the pleasure of being invited along on a wonderful trip to Yellowstone organized by our fearless and wonderful leader Jenna of the GLS. Flew from LA through Denver to Bozeman, Montana. The small airport is technically in Belgrade. Stayed at the Holiday Inn Express. There is an REI in Bozeman if renting additional camping gear is desirable.

Friday August 20, 2010
Drove down into the North Entrance to the Park at Gardiner. The Flying Pig camping store in Gardiner is a great place to stop if you need any gear just before the park. Stopped at the hot springs along the Gardner River just inside the park. Bathing suits required. A wonderful little spot for sitting in the hot pools.

Stopped at Mammoth Hot Springs along the way. Worth the walk up to the springs at the top. Huge pool at the plateau, brilliant blue due to the silica particles suspended in the pool.

On the drive down saw our first Bison - just trundling down the road. It's a fairly long drive and having plenty of time to stop along the way is wonderful. Bring Bino's! The animal watching from the road is a highlight of Yellowstone.

Stayed at Bridge Bay group campsite in the "J" loop. For future reference, the "J" loop has individual campsites that are in the trees and much more scenic than than the others.

Saturday August 21, 2010
Up and out in the morning to do Mount Washburn in the morning. Around 6 plus miles to do the whole trail (dropping cars at the Chittenden Road entrance). 1024 ft at the fire tower at the top with a commanding view. Incredibly windy. Guessing gusts up to 50 miles an hour. No bighorn sheep sightings along the way as we had hoped but we did see some eternally cute Yellow-Bellied Marmots. Wonderful sighting of a Grizzly Bear with 2 cubs at the end. Stopped along the road there and snuck a peek from a Wolf-Watcher named Kim through a great scope of a couple of wolves in the distance on a mud flat.

From Mt. Washburn we drove out to the Lamar Valley which is known to be a great stretch for viewing animals. It's late August and the weather had turned stormy. Started spitting rain. Perhaps most of the animals had gotten smart and hunkered down for the late afternoon. We did see a small group of Pronghorn (they look like antelope) and another brown bear as well as a couple of Osprey.

We had dinner on the way back at the Roosevelt Lodge. I would not recommend the steak, sustainably-raised as it was, but a hot meal was wonderful. What a great day.

Sunday August 22, 2010
Short drive to the Elephant Back Ridge Trail hike just off the lake. Around 4 miles with a beautiful view of the lake at the top. Nellie, Kim, Kate, Elva and I did this hike with some of the group going out to to the much steeper and more dramatic Avalanche Peak hike. No bear sightings but must locals agree that to go hiking without bear-spray is just, well, not recommended. We brought some along. Felt especially relevant after the Grizzly attack last week that killed one and mauled a couple of others in the park.

From there we drove Norris Geyser Basin which was incredible. About a 1.5 mile loop on a raised platform through the science-fiction inspired landscape of bubbling geysers, mud-pools and hot springs. A shower was overdue and for a couple of bucks we got all the hot water we wanted at the RV park in Fishing Bridge back near camp. Ahhh, clean.

Raining off and on all day and the temperature dropped probably 20 degrees today. Night was probably in the 30's and day time temperature in the evening dropped into the 40's. Good to have your down for a day like today.

Monday August 23, 2010
Up and out by 8:30. Drive out towards West Thumb and then to Old Faithful to see the most famous and predictable geyser in the park. Sure enough it went off within 10 minutes of it's predicted time. Around 120 feet high. From there we went out to Madison and out the West Yellowstone entrance. Plenty of time. Got to the airport at around 1:30 for a 3:30 flight. Time to unpack the car and drink the last cold beer before heading out. Nice sighting of Bighorn sheep on the way out along the hillside across a river. Somewhere along the way we also saw a couple of American White Pelican's and a Coyote. Wonderful trip.


  1. Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. It's interesting that in the early days of the park, Old Faithful was often used as a laundry

  4. actually it never were used for this point. maybe you mistaken and really means waterfalls???