After a very nice sleep in the cabin we headed down the pass toward Grand Teton National Park.  I find it quite funny that, directly translated, Grand Teton means Big Titty!  Face it, if “progressives” ever realized it, they’d be totally offended and up in arms about changing the name of the park!  Terry was not expecting such an impressive view as we came around the corner.

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We hurried to the campground to get a campsite for the next night, only to find that there was one left and they couldn’t swipe a card to pay for it.  The nearest ATM was in the town of Moose, twenty plus miles away.  We were two dollars short in cash to pay for it.  Already annoyed by the crowds of people and traffic, we decided not to waste our time chasing down a couple bucks.  We went to explore and left it up to fate to decide where we would spend the night.

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We stopped along the Snake River for a short nature walk.  There were all sorts of Spring flowers in bloom and Terry found a small ground squirrel that enjoyed posing for pictures.

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While the scenery was magnificent, we were a little disappointed with how our day was going there, so we decided to go ahead to Yellowstone.  Our first stop in Yellowstone was this waterfall South of the crater rim.  It was a bit cold there and until we got up toward the Upper Geyser Basin there wasn’t much you could see from the road.

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We explored some of the geysers and springs but it was insane trying to get a parking spot.  It was interesting seeing what plants could survive around the Hot Springs.

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We then decided to head on up to Mammoth Hot Springs, on the way there we saw this Grizzly and her cubs!  They were a ways out from the road, and difficult to get good pictures of.

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Mammoth Hot Springs was beautiful and colorful!

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We then headed East, hoping to find a campsite in the Lamar Valley.  At one point we stopped to check out this waterfall and there was a black bear wandering around turning over rocks.  Terry found some yellow bellied marmots nearby.

 

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We saw several more black bears on our way to Lamar but it was difficult getting close enough to take pictures with all the other cars piled up.

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Entering the valley, bison and antelope were the most plentiful animals around.  Their young were especially photogenic.

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With night creeping in we were getting desperate for a campsite, but everything was taken.  We ended up parking at a pullout, and sleeping in the cab of the Jeep.  Very uncomfortable, especially when compared to our plush bed in the cabin the previous night.  Oh well, you win some, you lose some.  After a fitful night we woke up to find there was a trio of moose just behind us.

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The Beartooth Highway was closed due to a late snowstorm so we headed back West toward West Yellowstone.

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Apparently a good size earthquake hit the park that morning, but we didn’t notice it as we were driving most of the morning. We left the park and got some food and gas at West Yellowstone, then we headed for Henry’s Lake in Idaho to take Red Rock Pass into the Centennial Valley in Southwest Montana.  It was a rough gravel road, Thank God we were driving a Jeep!

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I had always wanted to see the Red Rock Lakes in the Centennial Valley.  We were planning on staying the night there, but there was one thunderstorm after another coming through, so we decided to continue on the back roads toward Snowcrest Ranch in the Upper Ruby Valley.

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It was a race against the storm on a good sixty miles or so of two track roads that could turn to mud after a downfall of rain.

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Ahh! the Snowcrest Mountain Range!  It had been many years since I’d seen it.  We lived on the Snowcrest Ranch during my sophomore year of high school.  At that time it was 57,000 acres and belonged to the owner of Adidas Sportswear.  It is currently one of Ted Turner’s bison ranches.

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We passed the house I lived in on Greenhorn Creek.  I remember waiting to catch the school bus right there where I took the picture from.  It would show up around six in the morning, then it was almost two hours ride to school in Sheridan.  During that winter there was a young bull moose that spent most of his mornings in a patch of willows right across the road from our bus stop.  It was a flood of memories!  We didn’t live there long but it’s a beautiful place and it left it’s mark on me.

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With more rain being in the forecast, and several hours of daylight left, we chose to drive the rest of the way home to Polson.  It would be nice to have a day to recuperate from our vacation.  After a day of rest though, we were wishing we could do it all over again!