June 7, 2013: U.S. 287 south to Interstate 90 east, U.S. 89 south to Yellowstone National Park

Rising early again, I had breakfast, and got gas. Taking U.S. 287 southeast, this was another new highway to drive, and sights to see ahead. Coming then to Interstate 90, I took a break at a store with a bakery, using a restroom, and getting some barbeque sauce. They had some wheat specialties, but one item was not ready, wheat chili or similar, so I had to pass.

Now, it was eastbound at 75 mph, and I leisurely drove along with photos and video, then came about to Livingston, MT, and the highway exit for U.S. 89 south. Stopping for a break and drink, I used the free Wi-Fi for one last connection check before relying on 3G or 4G for awhile.

There were clouds, and some dark skies with rain threatening. I stopped for a break at a country store, and too, my photos ahead. There is a geologic stop, then I was entering Gardiner, MT. At a store, there was a sight of river runners below, going under a bridge. I motored on, and stopped at the Yellowstone Association center to get helpful information and friendly chat. I got some souvenirs, and walked over to the Roosevelt Arch for a photo op. I handheld video as I motored through, a highly tourist site, and then flashed my new pass to enter the park.

Pronghorns graced a trailhead and scenic site. I motored on south, seeking to have driven all of the major paved park roads by the finish of this visit. The Gardner River allowed, by a roadside stop, for photos. The 45th Parallel made for another photo op. Talking with some fellow, I had remarked that the signs were placed before GPS. For instance, the point of the Four Corners in the Southwest is said to be a few miles off!

Then I came to Mammoth Hot Springs. Elk grazing in the traffic circle made for a video and photo op, and a ranger truck warned of getting too close by his loudspeaker. I read the park newsletter and you are desired to stay at least 25 yards from animals, and I may have gotten closer as I saw others do, but they are tranquil and seemed not to notice much as they munched on grasses. I read the information back in my car, and an elk came right by, though with my telephoto lens I can get a good shot.

I went to the park visitor center to get more information and took photos. I can read the information when I am back home, being on digital record, and also send them on, if anyone were interested. They advised me to go by the backcountry office, where I shortly went. A ranger with computer sat at his desk, and I asked about peaks. The highest peak in the park is Eagle Peak, on the park boundary, and a rough climb. It is some 20 miles, and you need to have to go outside of the park to get close, by road. I was planning on Mt. Washburn, an easy hike, but in prime grizzly habitat. I wondered about safety, being solo, and he suggested going to the trailhead and asking to join others. Attacks go down, in the stats, when it is a group of three or more. There is snow, and by the high country with sparse trees, there is less cover whereby you cannot see bears, and then they said that I should be O.K. If there was a time to try it, it was now, so I’d see, the next day.

I made another photo stop at Roaring Mountain roadside, with fumaroles and clouds. Tired, I had to snooze by the roadside along the highway to Canyon from West Yellowstone, with not much to see here.

Finally coming to Canyon Village, I checked in for my campground, with available online reservations that prompted my longer visit. In summer, it is near impossible to get a site by first come, first serve, so I was fortunate to look for availability online. There weren’t the crowds yet, and it was peaceful. I determined that I could get a signal, though it then dropped, and so left for dinner at the Village on foot.

There was a wait, so I went to the bar and had some non alcoholic beer, leaving a good tip. My buzzer went off, so I got my table, and dined on good food, with then a sunset through the restaurant window. There were showers available, but I didn’t partake, being tired and with lack of major need. Laundry room and supposedly Wi-Fi, but you had to pay $5.

Walking back to my campsite, I tried connecting, but with it reading “No Service,” I shortly went to sleep in my car seat.

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