Yellowstone Adventure 2021: Day 3

Bozen and Gardiner

We started our day with a solid 10 hours of much needed sleep and headed to the @museum_of_the_rockies  feeling well rested.

This museum has many exhibits but we where there for the dinosaurs!! They have the largest collection of T-Rex artifacts and I do have to say I learned more in the brief time we were here than any other museum I’ve been to. Biggest take away was that birds are actually dinosaurs and that not all dinosaurs were here at the same time (the museum was divided up into different eras to illustrate this)

After striking out twice for lunch (highly recommended The Pickle Barrel was closed for Labor Day and Cateye Café had a line out and around the block) we settled on what we thought would be fast lunch at Bagel Works. It was worth the 20 min wait for our sandwich (we were the only non hung over college students there) but it was worth the wait as we grabbed and go-ed and headed over the final pass to The North entrance of Yellowstone.

The drive has been beautiful but the smoke from the Lake Tahoe fires are pretty dense, ghosting all the mountains in Bozeman and into Yellowstone. In some places you cannot even tell there are mountains.

We arrived in Gardiner just in time for our Scenic Boat Float down the Yellowstone River (which actually runs north away from the park, something I had not realized). We lucked out with our guide Emily from @wildwestrafting who was knowledgeable, funny and made our introduction to Yellowstone special.

We saw tons of Elk on our float and had incredible views.

We got to see Electric Mountain and Devil’s Slide which we would have a view of from our Tipi Hotel.

Electric Peak is the tallest mountain in the Gallatin Range of southern Montana, close to the Wyoming border and rises to an altitude of 10,969 feet. 

Electric Peak (from Wiki) is the tallest mountain in the Gallatin Range of southern Montana, close to the Wyoming border and rises to an altitude of 10,969 feet. The peak has some of the greatest physical relief in Yellowstone National Park, rising 3,389 ft above its base. Electric Peak was named during the first ascent in 1872 by the United States Geological Survey. Members of the Hayden Survey led by Henry Gannett experienced electrical discharges from their hands and hair after a lightning event on the summit.

Devil’s Slide (from Wiki) is an unusual cliff rock formation on the side of Cinnabar Mountain located in Gallatin National Forest in Park County, Montana north of Yellowstone National Park. This distinctive formation can be viewed from Highway 89 and was created from alternate beds of limestonesandstonequartzites that have been tilted to lie nearly vertical and have eroded at different rates.

We checked into the @dreamcatchertipihotel we loved how much it felt like camping but with all the upgrades of a hotel, like large private bathrooms.

After checking in we were off for some much needed dinner. We decided on Iron Horse as we received three different recommendations earlier that day. I got the Rainbow Trout since I had caught and released one the day before and Derek had the Elk Nachos.

With our tummies full we ventured into the park and headed East to the Lamar Valley – the premier place for wildlife…It was recommended to go early in the morning or at dusk. As we turned into the Lamar Valley we were excited to see a herd of rutting bison!

We had downloaded this really cool app, Gypsy Guide, we heard about from our friends Alex and Sam who had come to Yellowstone the prior year. The app gives you a play by play as you drive through the park. We did something similar at the Florida Keys and loved it. I cannot recommend this app enough – really cool as it is like going on a tour without the tourist and being able to do it on our own pace.

We pulled over to see the oldest Petrified Tree in the park (Yellowstone’s petrified trees occur within volcanic rocks approximately 50 million years old. They are the result of rapid burial and silicification, not volcanic eruptions.) which our “guide” recommended. Sadly the trail was blocked 😦

But this is what it looks like (picture from TripAdvisor)

It felt like we were on an African Safari – I opened the moon roof and stood up and used the long lens. I looked over to the right and saw something that looked like a deer and zoomed in and saw it was a lone Antelope.

We ventured on another couple miles and saw Antelope chasing each other and on the other side of the road there was a herd of Buffalo. All I could think of was….

“Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam

Where the deer and the antelope play…”

Neil Young

We continued on and saw some wildlife photographers set up so thought that is a good sign, we joined them just as a bear popped it’s head out from the trees across the valley. We stayed and zoomed in on the area we thought it would be going.

As we were waiting a family walked up and said that there was a carcass with wolfs feasting on it up the road. We decided to give up on the black bear and see if we could get there in time…we were losing light as the sun was setting behind us.

We had a great sunset on the way and got the best reward…a pack of wolfs taking turns eating the carcass.

The pictures were getting grainy as we lost our light and decided to head back – worried we might have stayed too long as it was getting dark fast.

We did see something in the distance and as we slowed… a Coyote turned to look at us – I got a blurry picture but have a perfect mental image of the Coyote looking right at us!

We got back to our “hotel” and they had the campfire going and beer, wine and s’mores waiting for us!

Additional places that I wanted to go but we did not have time, they weren’t open or it just did not work with where we were in town are below. Excited to try them next time!

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