Friday, June 21, 2013

The Hyalite Basin

 Keith and I didn't want a long trip today so we chose the Hyalite Reservoir Road south of Bozeman. I never tire of the view as we're driving into Bozeman. That is the Bridger Range in the distance, to the east of town, gorgeous in any weather.

 We found the road leading up into the Gallatin Range just south of town. The wildflowers are out in profusion. These, growing along Hyalite Creek, are Richardson's Geraniums.

 This is the Hyalite Reservoir with Hyalite Peak in the distance. I think the actual peak, over 10,000 feet, is that little pointy one, snow covered, in the right of the photo, though I may be wrong about that. This area reminded us a bit of Glacier Park. There are camping sites and hiking trails all over the area and along the lake. The campers we saw are really roughing it, with no electricity!

 And here is the trailhead for the climb up Hyalite Peak. There were several cars in the parking lot, so it must be a popular climb for some hardy souls.

 I had never seen this flower before. It is a wild clematis, better known as the Western Blue Virgin's Bower! I wonder how someone came up with that name! It is a beautiful and delicate climbing vine.

Here is another one, also new to me, a Cutleaf Anemone. My research tells me it is uncommon, so it was a real treasure for me to find it as we drove along the road. I had purchased an App for my iPad featuring the wildflowers of Yellowstone, so I expect to do a lot more identifying as we make our sightseeing trips out and about.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Grizzly Bears!

 We needed a short day trip today because we'd heard there might be some wind and rain in the afternoon. Keith and I spent three summers workamping at Bear Country USA in Rapid City, where we looked at bears all day long, so we thought it would be fun to go to the Grizzly Bear Encounter site just 15 or so miles from Bozeman. 

 We learned there are 5 rescued grizzlies in this enclosure, but they are not all brought out at the same time for the tourists to see because they don't get along. That is typical for grizzlies, somewhat loners. This pretty girl is 2 years old, rescued from Alaska at a very young age when her mother was killed.

 The young man who narrarated the bears' stories and other information about grizzlies gave us some excellent facts about bears, their habits, their intelligence, as well as what to do if we ever encountered one in the wild. I really admired him when I thought about his giving the same talk over and over again as long as the tourists are present!

 The enclosure was not very large, but was well supplied with trees and logs for the bears to climb, rocks and boulders, and a couple of pools for swimming. We enjoyed our time there, watching these magnificent creatures.

 We drove on to Livingston, a beautiful little town about 30 miles from Bozeman, and 50 miles from the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Being faithful KOA folks, we decided to travel down to the Livingston KOA to check it out. It is a pretty park, surrounded by gorgeous mountains. Just outside the park we came upon these deer. They weren't the least bit afraid of us and let us take as many photos as we liked.

 The mountains between Livingston and Yellowstone are the Absaroka Range. They are absolutely stunning! Imagine having a farm or ranch at the foot of these mountains, truly God's country! The white spot in the center of the photo is a sprinkler system watering the fields. Everything is so lush and green.

Here is another view of the Absarokas.

We crossed the very full Yellowstone River, flowing north from the park. It was a foggy day, just clearing a bit so that we could see the lovely scenery. I can't wait till we come this way again on our way to actually visiting Yellowstone Park! That is an adventure for another day!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Big Sky

 Coming home from shopping and from the doctor we thought we would still have time to take the short, 40 mile drive to Big Sky. The sun was shining and it seemed like a perfect day. This scene is looking south from Bozeman, always beautiful.

 After collecting our snacks and our cameras we drove out of the KOA and headed south on the Gallatin Hwy. Keith insists on calling it "The Galatians Road"! We spotted some buffalo on this hill just a short way from the KOA. I wonder if they are raised for meat. I hope not, but I am the first one to order a buffalo burger when I find a restaurant that serves them!

 We caught our first glimpse of Lone Peak as we took the fork in the road to Big Sky.

 Here is the view from the Big Sky area. We never did find an actual town, but only miles and miles of condominiums, hotels and other resort type buildings. It is primarily a ski resort, but it looks like it is used in the summer, too. The entire area is extremely beautiful.

The Gallatin River flows north all the way from West Yellowstone to Three Forks, where it joins the Missouri River, and the Gallatin Road follows it closely for most of the way. We liked these colorful cliffs along the river. We'd hoped to see some wildlife but, besides birds, we saw only a lone coyote. This is a drive to take again someday this summer.