Tag Archives: big sky

Yellowstone Trip: Day 5: Big Sky to Yellowstone

On day 5 of our Yellowstone Trip, Jared and I left behind Big Sky, MT, and headed to Yellowstone National Park for the second half of our sightseeing.

Before we left, though, we took one final hike in Big Sky, to Ousel Falls. The trail was a really nice community project that was well-maintained and fun to walk, and the falls were wonderful:
Our Last Big Sky TrailOusel Falls in Big Sky, MT

After filling up the car we set off to Yellowstone, where we started our tour at the Lower Geyser Basin. The volcanic scenery in the caldera is absolutely surreal. Everything looks just like your imagination would paint a primordial planet with bubbling cauldrons, sulfurous steam hissing up out of every crack and cavern… one thing that came to mind immediately when we took our first walk out on the boardwalks that the Park Service has put in place is that the designers of the Channel Age in Myst have most definitely been to Yellowstone. It was cool, in a really nerdy way: it was like walking through Myst, with the howling winds coming from holes in the ground, the brilliant red and orange colors in an otherwise dead landscape, everything.
Brilliantly Colored WaterThermophile MatsHowling FumerolesThis Geyser Pumps 500 Gallons Per Minute into the Firehole RiverFirehole LakeSteady Geyser: This guy is continuously erupting

We took a break for lunch at a pizza place in West Yellowstone, MT, called Murphy’s, which had really excellent pizza. Later in the afternoon we traveled deeper into Yellowstone to the Canyon Village area, where we drove and hiked around the “Grand Canyon of Yellowstone”. Awesome views there, too, of the Upper and Lower Falls on the Yellowstone River.
The Upper Falls of the Yellowstone RiverThe Lower Falls of the Yellowstone RiverJared Taking In Artists PointStunning View of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone from Artists PointJared and Colin at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

Then as we were just driving back out of the park, Jared yelled “Buffalo!” right in the middle of his sentence as we came around a corner and within a few hundred feet of a buffalo enjoying his evening meal:

Later on, since everyone else had stopped and blockaded the roadway anyway, we snapped a few photos of a group of elk cows having their own meal:
Elk Cows

Finally, just to comlete the theme of evening meals, Jared and I stopped at a local counterpart of a Dairy Queen (across the street from an actual Dairy Queen, in fact) to pick up malts and some chili for supper. Add a few Grolsch from the supermarket and you have a great 10pm dinner!

Yellowstone Trip: Day 4: Fly Fishing the Gallatin River

Day 4 of our trip was again in Big Sky, where we spent the vast majority of the day trying out some fly fishing. We rented waders, rods and reels, picked up Montana Fishing Licenses and a half dozen flies, and headed out to the Gallatin River to try our luck.

Jared caught one really nice rainbow trout in the morning, around 12 inches long. Unforunately, I hadn’t brought my camera for fear of the water (which, given what I did to my last camera in the Great Salt Lake, demonstrates that I learn from my mistakes :-)), and the fish got off the hook before we could get him on shore to run back to the car. So no picture there, but it was a nice fish! Jared got a few bites in the afternoon as well, including two that took off with his bait. I didn’t get much myself, but it was a fun day nonetheless.

Only a few pictures from today, since we fished all morning, took a break for a late lunch, and then fished again from 4 to 7. I do want to point out the caption on our beer picture today: after the great experience yesterday, we went back to the Lone Mountain Brewery and picked up their “Grand Slam.” Basically, we downed 7 beers each by 3:30pm 🙂 (Ok, so they were 4 oz each and we split them, leaving us each a bit shy of a pint, but that was really fun to say!)

Here goes:
Jared Suited UpReady to Go Fly Fishing!Shortly Before A Trout Bit Jareds Fly Clean OffWe Each Had 7 Lone Mountain Brewery Beers By 3:30pm :)  (totalling 32 oz each...)

Yellowstone Trip: Day 3: The Insanists-Only Frisbee Golf Course

Day 3 of our trip was our first in Big Sky. We had researched a bit before we left, and learned of a frisbee golf course at the resort. Asking around informed us that it was located at the top of Andesite Mountain. That sounded pretty cool, and between a $19 lift ticket and a 1300′ elevation rise hike, we decided hiking would be just fine. So up we went, and then played frisbee golf all the way back down.

What we thought would be a morning event soon turned into a morning + afternoon affair… the top 9 holes of the course were gorgeous, but the back 9 can only be described as “An Experience.” The front 9 meander the top of the mountain, while the back 9 take off all the way down the ski runs. A moderate toss easily sent the frisbee 100 yards down the course due to the dramatic elevation change… unfortunately, Jared even lost one of his discs. 🙁 All in all though, the course was awesome, with enough challenge that Jared describes it as, “Insanists Only. Extremists: go home. Amateurs: ha.”

By the time we ultimately made it down, we were pretty beat, so we cooled off with some lunch at a restaurant called “Choppers” in the Meadow Village, and then hit up the Lone Mountain Brewery to see what the local fine beverage selection was like. Excellent, as it turns out.

In the evening we took a drive around the area to see the sights and plan some fishing for the next day. Big Sky Resort, we conclude, is in a beautiful spot.

Here’s some pictures (which will warp you into a gallery for Day 3):
Our First Big Sky Hike: Moose Tracks TrailWhat a Ski Run Looks Like in SummerJared and Colin by Lone Peak MountainBeautiful throw, beautiful course.We Hiked Up 1300 Feet to that PeakJared Needs a Beer After Exhausting Frisbee GolfSunset Over Lone Peak Mountain

Yellowstone Trip: Day 2: Yellowstone is on Fire

Jared and I reached Big Sky, Montana, today, after another lengthy road leg of our trip.  We only covered 624 miles today, according to Google, but it felt twice as long as yesterday, since we spent so much of it twisting up and down mountains.  It was beautiful, but it was long.

To keep things interesting (especially since Montana is largely lots of open sky that I have already seen before), we took I-90 only as far as about Sheridan, WY, and then took smaller Wyoming highways across to Yellowstone National Park, went through the park, and finally northward to Big Sky:

View Larger Map

The biggest surprise of the day (other than how pretty the Big Horn National Forest was) was reaching a gas station just outside Yellowstone National Park and realizing that the “clouds” we were seeing in the sky over the mountains were actually plumes of smoke… as in, Yellowstone is on fire.  We drove past the “Gunbarrel” fire burning between Cody, WY, and Yellowstone, and were forced to detour on a longer route to the West Entrance due to a road closure caused by the “LeHardy” fire burning within the park itself.

I don’t have my pictures ready to go yet, we didn’t reach Big Sky until after 9pm due to the slow going through Yellowstone and a surprise bit of construction a mere 3 miles south of the exit we wanted for Big Sky itself :-/  I’ll put some up tomorrow.

Update: Photos are now uploaded! See below to be warped into our Day 2 gallery.
Wyoming Lodgepole PinesRed Hills of Wyoming - Big Horn National ForestSilver Wisconsin Corolla and Red Wyoming AsphaltMountain LakesThere is STILL Snow in Wyoming (over 9400 feet anyway...)The Corolla at the Top of US 14 Alternate: 9430 feet above sea levelPlease Study Sign CarefullyA Firetruck stopped at our gas station just East of YellowstoneThe Gunbarrel Fire in Shoshone National ForestThe LeHardy Fire in Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone Trip: Day 1: Badlands at Sunset

Jared and I began our Yellowstone vacation (and my move to Seattle) on Wednesday, with an 830 mile trek from Green Bay to Wall, SD, via I-90 and the Badlands National Park:

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Highlights there included seeing the Badlands National Park at sunset, finding a hotel open in Wall, and that hotel having a free hot tub which was basically a private pool room since you had to ask for a key.  Very nice end to the day of driving 🙂

Here are some pictures from the journey:
The BadlandsLeaving WisconsinThe Cervaces in the Badlands Are Pretty DeepDo not Look Directly Into the SunSilhouette of the HillsI am Obviously Not Good at Self-Portraits