Last night was the second time we stayed at the Motel 6 in Helena. They were very nice to us both times but, unfortunately, we got put in a "smoking" room last night. Yech. We were already unloaded before we noticed it so we toughed it out.
The next morning we headed out intending to retrace our earlier trip through Yellowstone. As we headed down Hwy 287, I mentioned that it would be kind of nice to see another part of Yellowstone. Steve and Helen agreed and we quickly changed our route to take Hwy 90 east to Hwy 89 and come into Yellowstone from the north entrance rather than the west. When we came through on our way north, we had thought about going out the north entrance but a fellow traveler told us that 89 between Gardiner and Norris had a lot of construction and traffic waits. However, this time we checked and we found we could take the east side of the Grand Loop near Mt Washburn and avoid almost all of that.
We stopped for lunch at the Corral Restaurant in Gardiner, MT right before we drove into the park.
Steve and Angus relaxing on the patio while waiting for Steve's Buffalo Burger. I had one of those too while Helen had the Elk Burger. They asked to take Angus picture for their FB page so he was a celebrity.
Soooo.....were we ever glad we made the change to go in the North Entrance. We saw another whole side of Yellowstone that was quite different. There was some construction as we entered the park so we didn't get to enter through the famous portal as the road detoured around it.
We started out through some rolling hills. As you can see, the traffic wasn't bad.
And, ta da! We saw bison. A herd of them.
And heard the rushing sound of a river.
And saw a waterfall.
Mammoth Hot Springs is rather a unique looking place.
We really wanted to spend some time in this area but it was really crowded to the point that we couldn't find a parking place.
So we missed stopping at the Visitor and seeing Ft Yellowstone........next time.
The thermal area is very colorful here.
More rolling hills with higher ones in the distance.
Actually another herd of them. The wildlife sightings are really looking up. As you may recall, we didn't see any wildlife on the way up.
Soon we came to the Roosevelt Corral.
It appeared to be fairly busy here too.
Lots of horses were waiting their turn......
And look what we have here.....a stagecoach. Actually there were several heading out for a ride.
Another wildlife sighting. I think this is a marmot.
The scenery was a bit dark here and there were a few raindrops but there were clearer skies ahead.
We were getting higher and there was a great view of the river.
Our next stop was at the Calcite Springs.
These rock formations were very different. It's a case of softer rock surrounding harder rock and the softer rock being washed away.
Some hardy souls were out for a trail ride.
What.......more buffalo in a meadow.
Another unique view of how different types of rock wear down at different rates.
Tower Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in Yellowstone.
There were some beautiful rock formations surrounding the falls.
Mount Washburn is fairly high up. They have some webcams there which you can see at this site. We were at 8842 feet at this point.
Then we came upon some great bison shots.....the kind you really hope for when you visit the park.
Taking his time meandering down the road.
More bison all along the road.
Taking his time leading a whole herd of cars.
Little detour here checking out some cars that pulled over to watch the bison,
Back on the road again.
Pretty easy to tell that the bison really like this area. They rubbed all the bark off the trees,.
You can smell the Sulphur Caldron coming up.
Mud Volcano coming up next.
And then we were back in some open meadows.
And a beautiful blue lake and mountains in the distance.
And then we were once again leaving Yellowstone. I definitely want to come when I can spend siome more time.
We headed towards the Grand Tetons.
They are magnificent. You can see some glaciers from this angle.
The lake was glassy as we passed.
Another glacier view.
We headed on towards Jackson but we didn't stop this time around as we had a long way to go before nightfall.