Into Montana

Last night we walked down the greenway in Idaho Falls to a local brewery.  I had a wonderful Thai salmon salad.  Somehow, I thought, there is some meaning that I could eat a delicious Thai salmon salad with wasabi dressing in a small local brewery in Idaho Falls.  I’m not sure what it is — the times we live in, this cultural moment in time, the development of human civilization, or something?

After supper we drove around town a little.  We decided it would be hard for us to live there after all, despite the greenway (and the salad).

When we got back to the hotel, a tour bus was unloading.  The lobby was filled with tired Korean tourists waiting for their room assignments.  They were on their way to Yellowstone.  And that’s one thing I love about the iconic American national parks — they attract people from all over the world.  I remember at the Grand Canyon we could hear half a dozen non-English languages in just a few minutes.  If for no other reason, that’s enough to want to protect our parks from the encroachment of the extractive industries.

Andrea and I discussed whether we should try going into Yellowstone as far as Old Faithful.  Today would be a short mileage day, none of it on interstate highways.  We might have time to go see the geyser one more time.  I was a little dubious, because in my experience with Yellowstone once any animal larger than a chipmunk shows up within sight of the road, all traffic stops.  It can take a long time to get anywhere.  (But trying to get somewhere other than where you are is not the point of Yellowstone, is it?)  Anyway, the decision was made for us when we had a slow start to the day and left the motel an hour and a half later than usual.

7 Henry's Fork

It was an easy drive up to West Yellowstone.  The first hour is still in farm country, but for part of the time we could see the Tetons to the east, shrouded in haze.  Then the road rises into the wooded hills laced with clear streams.  I love the high country.

We charged the car at the Grizzly Center in West Yellowstone.  I’d read the Yelp reviews of the restaurants in walking distance.  None rated any review above two stars.  We walked to the McDonald’s and were reminded once again how awful that can be.  There were two young Chinese women in the uniform of a local hotel.  I assume they are working in town for the summer — see the area and make a little money.  What an experience for them.

7 Burn

North of town, we saw areas of dead trees.  Some looked like beetle-kill and others that looked more like they had burned.  

7 Willows

We continued north, down the hill to spend tonight in Bozeman.  I’m glad we didn’t try to go into the park.  Today was just a very nice, relaxing day of travel.  Pretty, too.

2 thoughts on “Into Montana

  1. I admit to being in love with the Big Sky state!! Relatives lived there in the tiny town of Nye (sign says entering and leaving Nye) about 35 miles (as the crow1 fly’s) north of the North entrance to Yellowstone (135 miles by road). Beautiful valley. Loving my vacation without packing and unpacking…traveling with you two!!!!


  2. We haven’t been to Yellowstone or many years-last time was w hen we came down from Canada-we had gone across the country from Minnesota with our three girls! We love seeing your pictures and hearing about these places.


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