My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Sunday, October 4, 2015

That Beartooth Highway

The Beartooth Highway is one of the most scenic drives in the U.S. It is also subject to early closures, since it often starts snowing there in September. Laurel wanted to come through it on the way into Yellowstone, but a snowstorm had closed it.  A few days later, when we rendezvoused in Yellowstone, we decided to drive it the first day while the weather still allowed the trip.

To reach it, we had to drive through Lamar Valley and  then take time out to look for elk, bison, wolves and bears. We mostly only saw lots of bison and spent several minutes watching a coyote hunt.  We also saw pronghorn antelope. Then we strained to see wolves at the site of a dead bison, that was only barely visible with a telescope. So we didn't even get started on the Beartooth Highway until late in the morning. I had left without making coffee and found the stores closed for the season or still not yet open, until we finally were starting on the highway at Silver Gate.  That was REALLY good coffee.

The fall colors were amazing with big blocks of yellow, gold or orange quaking aspen and other yellow shrubs blazing against the dark green conifers.  (Don't worry - I threw out most of the fall color pictures and am just showing you a few favorites.)

Pretty spectacular, no?

More of the same

This creek was running along the roadside

I probably took 30 pictures of this mountain as we saw if repeatedly from many aspects as we climbed higher

This is one of my favorite pictures of it

Even short views were beautiful

It's even better to be with another photographer and see how she sees the same views
 - Laurel was also taking the view below. 

We were lucky to have still winds and beautiful light at this spot

Laurel attempting to capture all this beauty

A look at some of the switchbacks along the route

That tiny tooth-shaped mountain in the back is the Beartooth Mountain
 for which the highway is named

The views got longer as we climbed higher

A look down into one of the lakes

Lakes, mountains, and switchbacks

Another view from a campground

This was one of the views from an overlook

We had an awesome day and ended up stopping to eat supper at roadside in Lamar Valley while we enjoyed bison and pronghorns and the evening light before heading back to Norris Campground and a well-deserved sleep.

This was my second visit to the highway.  If you missed my first blog, when I was there in 2013, and want to see it, click here.

Hopefully, when this blog comes out, I'll be in Texas with only a part of a day left before I arrive at my daughter's house. Then I'll have a round of visits in Texas and Louisiana before heading east.  The good news is that I won't be able to schedule surgery so will be in paddling shape all fall.  But I'll have to schedule it for next year.