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Yellowstone’s North End

I mentioned in the previous post, there was no shortage of activities for us around the Bozeman area. S and I certainly had plenty to do, but the trip to the area wouldn’t be complete without visiting Yellowstone.

And, as I mentioned, we planned an overnight stay in Gardiner, MT to avoid the multi hour drive a one day visit would have entailed.

So, leaving the rig in Bozeman, we headed up through beautiful Paradise Valley – fires were still visible in the hills above the Yellowstone River but the winds were carrying it West – so we were able to enjoy a wonderful drive up to Gardiner and into Yellowstone for a 2 day visit.

Gardiner is a very small town (population about 850 hearty year round residents) and is situated on the northern border of Yellowstone National Park.

In fact, it is the original entrance to Yellowstone and sits right against the Roosevelt Arch – where it’s written that if “you really want to make a grand entrance, there’s no better place than the North Gate at Gardiner, Montana. This was the first major entrance to the park, and ever since 1903…visitors have been passing through the Roosevelt Arch, on their way into America’s first National Park.”.

So, after a quick stop at the visitor center to get the latest on wildlife sightings – and a bison “mascot” for S for the visit 🙂 – we were off to the North Entrance Road.

The North Entrance Road from Gardiner, Montana, to Mammoth Hot Springs, WY – yup, back into Wyoming – runs along the Gardner River (for you sharp eyed readers you’re thinking I misspelled the river’s name – nope – no “i” in the river’s name – go figure??) – and winds into the park, climbing steeply up the canyon to the Mammoth Hot Springs area – the main attraction of the so-called Mammoth District.

Unlike the “hot stuff” I previously wrote about, these thermal features are different from thermal areas elsewhere in the park. In fact, I found it interesting (OK, so I find some of this geeky stuff interesting!) this area is home to one of the world’s best examples of travertine-depositing hot springs – very cool stuff brewing here 🙂

As hot water rises through limestone, large quantities of rock are dissolved by the hot water, and a white chalky mineral is deposited on the surface – travertine – the rock that forms the so-called “terraces” that are the attraction here in Mammoth Hot Springs. They say that rock was forming right before our eyes – and, like in the geyser areas I had visited, the heat-loving micororganisms create a variety of colors throughout the terraces… a nice first impression to this end of the Park

We then headed in search of some wildlife in Lamar Valley – with its immense size, wide open spaces, and a roadway running all the way down it on one side it’s the perfect place to view wildlife. We were hoping to see the wolves that make Lamar Valley a huge draw – a pack with new pups had been hanging out along the road on the east end of the valley – but they stood us up that day – but, found plenty of bison to hang out with.

Also found time to stop and see the waterfalls I had mentioned in a previous post – Undine and Rustic.

But after a long day, it was time to return to Gardiner, check into the Yellowstone Basin Inn – we scored the Paradise Cabin room with a very cool rustic log interior

And then off to the Lighthouse Restaurant – the only highly regarded restaurant in the area – for another great meal on this “journey de cuisine”

Not sure how they came up with the lighthouse theme but they even had a picture of Bass Harbor Light – like mine – hanging on the wall

Time to make plans for day 2 in Yellowstone – a day to explore the Canyon, see more wildlife, and more thermals

A nice way to spend a couple of days…

Time though to make plans to move on…more as always to follow…

Take care…see you down the road…

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