USA – Mountain (Montana & Wyoming)

From Canada, we made our way south into Montana. Our first stop was Glacier National Park, which came highly recommended and consistently earns rave reviews from other visitors. We enjoyed the waterfalls and lakes of the Many Glacier region, but the real highlight was the spectacular drive on the “Going to the Sun” road. Thankfully, our RV just barely made the cutoff at 20 feet in length and under 9 feet in height because there certainly were some tight spots on this scenic drive. After Glacier, we linked up with Barb Eidel (our friend from our most recent Antarctica trip) at her lovely cabin on Placid Lake. What a wonderful oasis in Montana. Barb not only gave us tips and suggestions on what to see at Yellowstone National Park, but she also recommended we squeeze in a visit to the Lewis and Clark Caverns. Great suggestion, as the cave system there was truly a sight to behold and we enjoyed our tour immensely. From here, we entered Wyoming to visit Yellowstone and spent a few days soaking up all the amazing sights this park has to offer. From wildlife to geysers, to waterfalls and more, Yellowstone lived up to all its hype. And lucky bonus for us, we got to link up with Tom Murphy, who was part of the expedition staff to Antarctica back on our 2009/10 trip. Tom is considered one of the world’s premiere Yellowstone experts, and his collection of photographs from this region showcases his passion and skill. We found out that he is the only operator allowed to run tours within Yellowstone park itself, and fingers crossed, we hope to travel with him again one of these days. Yellowstone had plenty of wow moments, and was our favorite of the national parks thus far. From Yellowstone, we made our way towards Grand Teton National Park. Highlights here included drinking a huckleberry milkshake from Jackson Lake lodge’s Pioneer Grill (quite possibly the best milkshake of our lives), hiking up to Taggart Lake, and watching sunrise over the famous barn at Mormon Row. From Grand Teton NP, we drove east and spotted two moose grazing together near Bighorn National Forest…what a magical 30 minutes watching the moose in action. Our last stop in Wyoming was the Devil’s Tower national monument which was worth the detour. However, our best memory of Wyoming is undoubtedly freedom camping in a field of wildflowers near Grouse Mountain…who knew such beautiful places exist! We loved our 10 day jaunt around Montana and Wyoming and would definitely include this section on future a USA road trip.

Welcome to Montana! Horses lounging by the road side, Chief Mountain Glacier National Park entrance sign Scenery on our drive towards Many Glacier Beargrass, a common wildflower seen in Glacier NP View of Lake Sherburne and the mountain peaks of Many Glacier from Apikuni Falls Apikuni Falls Rose Meadowsweet; Swiftcurrent Pass Trail Robby at the top of Redrock Falls Becky checking out the aptly named Redrock Falls Desert cottontail Many Glacier Lodge Red Bus Tours - a popular option for touring Glacier National Park Moose by the roadside; Many Glacier Wild Goose Island; Glacier NP Baring Falls Stunning scenery on the "Going to the Sun" Road Logan Pass visitor center Columbian ground squirrel; Logan Pass visitor center Mountain goat near Oberlin Falls; Going to the Sun road Mountain peaks visible on the "Going to the Sun" road; Glacier NP One of numerous waterfalls seen on the "Going to the Sun" road Haystack Falls Avalanche Creek Fallen tree on the Avalanche Lake Trail Rewarded with this view of Avalanche Lake at the end of our 3 mile hike Robby at Avalanche Lake Viewpoint of Avalanche Creek from "Trail of the Cedars" Roots of a fallen tree; Trail of the Cedars Grizzly paw versus human hand; Placid Lake Broderick with a snack; Placid Lake Cheese and grape platter - Barb is an awesome host! Robby adding fuel to the boat while Barb looks on Barb and Becky ready to explore Placid Lake Our beautiful morning outing on Placid Lake Barb's cabin; Placid Lake Posing with Barb and Broderick at Placid Lake Field thistle Limestone stalactites; Lewis & Clark Caverns Natural pool inside the Lewis & Clark Caverns Interior view of the largest limestone cavern in the northwest; Lewis & Clark Caverns "Trump for life" banner just outside Yellowstone National Park Our gorgeous drive into Yellowstone National Park US Post Office; Yellowstone National Park Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces; Yellowstone Colored terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs Liberty Cap, a dormant hot spring cone at Mammoth Hot Springs Bison Lamar Valley at dusk Trading Post; Yellowstone A herd of female elk Wild flowers; Mount Washburn Uinta ground squirrel Mountain bluebird Resting bison Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone Posing in front of the lower Yellowstone Falls at Red Rock Point Inspiration Point A bison rolls around in dirt Lower Yellowstone Falls Mule deer at Artist Point Upper Yellowstone Falls Elk grazing near Yellowstone Falls Dragon's Mouth Spring; Yellowstone Mud Geyser at Mud Volcano A herd of bison; Hayden Valley Barn swallows Running into Tom Murphy - one of our favorite Antarctica guides West Thumb Geyser Basin Old Faithful Inn Old Faithful erupting right on schedule (every 90 minutes) Firehole River Grand Prismatic Spring Painted buffalo outside of the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center Gray wolf Wolf anticipating a meal Uinta Ground Squirrel Rough-legged hawk Bald eagle Roosevelt, a grizzly bear from Hayden Valley Sam, a large 1050 pound grizzly hailing from Alaska who became habituated to human food Grant sticking his tongue out Excelsior Geyser Crater Grand Prismatic mineral veins Sapphire Pool Biscuit Basin Emerald pool; Black Sand Basin Sunset Lake in Black Sand Basin Trying a huckleberry shake - a must do if visiting Grand Teton National Park! Becky at String Lake; Grand Teton NP Wonderful views at String Lake Pronghorn; Grand Teton NP Robby with a moose statue; Craig Thomas visitor center Bison crossing sign; Mormon Row Danger sign posted on Antelope Flats Road Thomas Alma Moulton barn - the most photographed barn in America Mirror like conditions in the early morning at Taggart Lake Taggart Creek Wildflowers on the Taggart Lake trail Jackson Point Overlook Wildflowers on our drive up Signal Mountain Jackson Lake viewpoint Bighorn sheep sign; Route 26 Colorful hills near the Wind River Scenery as we drive east in Wyoming Pronghorn by the highway Moose; Bighorn National Forest Two moose grazing together; Bighorn National Forest Freedom camping in a field of wildflowers; Grouse Mountain Devils Tower, designated a national monument in 1906; Crook County Soaring over 850 feet, Devils Tower is a popular technical rock climbing spot We didn't see a "Welcome to Wyoming" sign until we entered South Dakota and turned around to look back! js photo galleryby v6.1


28 June: Exit Canada and enter USA at Chief Mountain border crossing. Dispersed camping on a National Forest road about 8 miles from the border.
29 June: Drive to Glacier NP. At Many Glacier, hiked Apikuni Falls and Red Rock Falls and visited Many Glacier Lodge. Drove “Going to the Sun Road” which had spectacular views, but had to be careful of reckless drivers on the narrow passes. Free campsite at Blankenship Bridge (parked on the other side of the bridge away from the rest of the other vehicles in a grassy area, with toilet nearby).
30 June: Drove back to Glacier NP for the Avalanche Lake and Trail of the Cedars hike. In the afternoon, drove to Kalispell Walmart to camp.
1 July: Got vehicle maintenance done in the morning at Discount Tire and Quick Lube, drove to Placid Lake to link up with Barb Eidel from Antarctica. O/n at Placid Lake.
2 July: Spent morning with Barb helping to put her pontoon boat on the lake for the season. In the afternoon, drove towards Lewis & Clark Cavern State Park. Dispersed camped on BLM property at Whitetail-Pipestone.
3 July: Drove to Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park for a 9 am tour. In the afternoon, visited Yellowstone Park (Mammoth Hot Springs). Drove Lamar Valley for bison, deer, and a bear. Got a camping spot at Soda Butte Campground ($4.50 with annual park pass, toilets, fire pit. No tents allowed here due to a deadly bear attack a few years ago)
4 July: Entered the North East gate to Yellowstone and drove on Lamar Valley again. Saw bison, a bear, prong horn antelope. Drove to Tower Fall and hiked around Yellowstone Grand Canyon. In the afternoon, drove through Hayden Valley and visited Lake Yellowstone Hotel where we ran into Tom Murphy from our Antarctica ’09 expedition. Drove to West Thumb Geyser Basin, Old Faithful and Grand Prismatic Geyser. Dispersed camped in Custer Gallatin National Forest.
5 July: Visited the Wolf and Grizzly discovery center in West Yellowstone. Afterwards, another visit to Grand Prismatic Geyser, Biscuit Basin and Black Sand Basin. In the afternoon, left Yellowstone and drove towards Grand Teton National Park. Went to Jackson Lake Lodge for a huckleberry shake, followed by a drive to String Lake and Jenny Lake. Drove Moose Wilson road and spotted a moose. For sunset, went to Morman Row to check out the old settlement and barns. Dispersed camping at Shadow Mountain. All the camping sites were already claimed, but we were able to squeeze in with another camper and gave them beer as a thank you. Gorgeous free camping spot.
6 July: Drove back to Mormon Row for sunrise photos. Hiked up to Taggart Lake and spotted a moose. Drove to Signal mountain for views of Grand Teton NP and then exited the park’s east entrance. Saw two moose grazing near Bighorn National Forest. Free spectacular campsite near Grouse Mountain in a field of wild flowers. Best campsite yet!
7 July: Drove to Devil’s Tower national monument. Headed west towards South Dakota in the afternoon.

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