thebiggertrip

The National Park tour

Yellowstone to Helena

We left Canyon via the road to Norris so we could look at the parts of the park we did not see yesterday. Our campground had been at Yellowstone Canyon and although it is very large the sites were private and tree lined.

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Our first stop was Roaring Mountain. In many ways it sums up one aspect of Yellowstone with the steaming fumaroles all over the sides.

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We were heading for Wraith Falls as we had never walked in to this spot. On the way there we checked the dipper nest and it appeared to have been attacked and damaged, not a good sign. Next to the track was this tree showing signs of a bison having a scratch, these marks are very common in the park.

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The falls themselves were very unusual, more of a vertical cascade.

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Leaving this are we saw the first of five bears. One young black bear did an almost full lap of our van.

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It was then time for breakfast at one of our favourite places, Floating Island Lake.

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It was then on to another favourite spot, the pullouts at Tower Canyon where we saw the Peregrine chicks and Bighorn Sheep (including lambs).

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On the return to Mammoth we came across another bear jam, this one with the unbelievable sight of all the occupants abandoning their car in the middle of the road! They did this for several minutes and then hopped back in but didn’t move, holding up all the traffic behind them.

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A little further along a very large bison was finishing his dustbath next to the road.

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Leaving the park we passed through Gardiner to discover that the elk had moved into town.

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Arriving in Helena we decided to free camp at Walmart. This is a common practice and accepted by most stores. There was quite a community of campers, including a gentlemen playing his guitar to a small audience. Doing some shopping in Walmart we found these cookies. I am glad that Graham gets the bunny mention.

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After dinner we went for a drive around Helena, which is the capital of Montana. It is a nice city with lots of trees and very interesting old buildings. One that intrigued us was the Helena Civic Center which we initially thought was a mosque. It is very islamic in style, including matching arches and mosaics on the adjoining fire station.

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