Stop Nineteen

Yes, you are reading that correctly. Stop Nineteen. There seems to have been an issue with the sending of Stop Eighteen, Livingston, Montana. Please go to the top left of the website page and the posts will be listed at the botton. You can find Stop Eighteen there.

When we left Livingston and our exploration of Yellowstone from the North Entrance, we headed to the West Yellowstone Park Mountainside KOA in West Yellowstone Montana, about eight miles from the West Entrance Gate. As you can read in a previous post entitled The Talk, I promised Kathryn to stick to the interstates. But, you can’t get to Yellowstone via an Interstate. We exited I-90 at Bozeman and headed down Route 191. On my side of the coach the view was spectacular, a narrow road following the river. On Kathryn’s side of the coach, the view was a bit more nerve racking, with the drop off down to the river quite steep. I think she had her eyes open at least part of the way! (Remember we sit at least four feet up off the road)

On the trip so far, we’ve been posting a review of each campground. When we booked this KOA back in October, we booked ten days on a Deluxe Patio Site. At a KOA that usually means a swing, chairs, a fire ring and sometimes even a bar-b-que. When we checked in here a nasty lady barked at me, “We don’t have any of those!” On our walk after dinner, we found a few of those sites. In my opinion, they sold those sites twice. We paid up for the deluxe and got a regular site and the person on that site also paid up for it as well. Our ratings: Kathryn 5, Paul 2, out of 10. (don’t lie to me)

So many books have been written about Yellowstone National Park there is little I can add other than our personal experiences. Since I can’t put photos in a blog post, each exploration is listed with photos on the Post Cards 2021 Page. As you enter the town of West Yellowstone, there are signs all around town that say: Be Patient Be Kind Be Cool. Yellowstone attendance this year is up 300% so that’s good advice. Parking at each wonder, marvel, and sight seeing spot, was a line of cars waiting for someone to leave so you take their spot. We aren’t the only ones to hit the road after a year of COVID. Still, we managed to see the highlights we wanted to see: Inspiration Point, Lookout Point, Lower Falls, The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Norris Geyser Basin, Old Faithful and more. The amazing thing about Yellowstone is the diversity of the geology. You are looking at a beautiful waterfall and then a few miles away you are hearing, smelling and seeing a geyser bubbling up out of the ground. The other thing is the vastness of this National Park. You could drive for days and never see it all. We know. One day we decided to drive down to Jackson, Wyoming, out of Yellowstone and into The Grand Teton National Park. That was a twelve hour day of driving. You know the photos you see of bison crowding around the traffic, we never found that. I don’t know if it was the time of year, the heat, or the time of day, but we only encountered a handful of bison, fewer elk, and I passed only one moose on my way back from hiking.

Before we left, one of the things I was looking forward to was the opportunity to hike in The Grand Tetons. The Teton Range is a forty mile mountain range of craggy peaks reaching up into the sky 13,775 feet. As you drive toward Jackson, you get closer and closer and want to take pictures every other mile. It has now replaced The Badlands as my favorite mountain range. (even with the view obscured by the smoke from the wildfires) I had to go back for a day of hiking. For the past thirty-three years my number one favorite hike has been The Aysmeth Trail in the Uinta Mountains of Utah. That has now been replaced by The Cascade Canyon Trail! I spent a fabulous day hiking, the lake below you, surrounded by butterflies, moose eating lunch in the creek, snow capped mountains to my one side, boulders and cliffs rising up on the other, and Pikas scurrying under foot. A Pika is a small mountain dwelling mammal with a very round body and an even coat of fur with no tail that lives in and under rocks.

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.” John Muir

Another good thing about the KOA location other than the closeness to the West Gate was a local rodeo right across the road. It was everything you’d expect, calf roping, barrel racing, bull riding and of course a rodeo clown. This rodeo was all local talent honing their skills for the chance to turn pro. My face hurt from smiling all night. Usher loved his first rodeo. His experiences now include riding on a ferry, a boat, a school bus, an Amish buggy ride, and now a rodeo.

It was also a mile from The Diamond P Ranch. I booked a three hour trail ride up into The Gallatin National Forest. It was a real trail ride, crossing the meadows, up into the hills surrounded by Aspens, stopping to pick huckleberries. There was only three of us on the ride with our guide Sarah, making it a very personal experience.

This trip has been amazing so far and to think, we aren’t even half way yet! On to Idaho!!

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