After stopping in Bozeman for lunch and a local IPA, we hit the road to Yellowstone. The drive south was beautiful along the Gallatin River and forest's edge. My eyes were heavy from the early start, but the cold, stark beauty and a chance to see moose or elk kept me awake. I settled into the seat allowing all of my body to rest except the one part of my brain that knows to scream MOOSE! before I even know I'm screaming.
When everyone else thought the roadside picnic area was too cold for lunch, this guy thought it perfect. We took a bunch of pictures, all of them shot in RAW meaning you guys reading this are stuck with the pictures on my phone. The iPad doesn't like RAW. Such a JPEG snob! Anyway, he had a fine lunch of bark and brush while we snapped pictures happy for our good luck. We hadn't even been in Montana four hours yet!
Later, down the road, it began to snow through the sun. Golden flakes were falling through the trees as we rolled along the river. An eagle flew overhead, and I was ready to move here! But that's nothing new; I'm always ready to "move here" when I visit places like this.
Two hours, a moose, an eagle, and a snowstorm later, we arrived in West Yellowstone. We checked into the hotel, ditched the car, and made fast trax (it just seemed like the appropriate spelling!) to the snowmobile rental place. Who wants a car when you can have a snowmobile?
The town of West Yellowstone is just outside the park. Although you need a guide to enter the park on snowmobile, you can ride all over town and the 250-something miles of trails around town on your own. I guess we looked like pros because they handed us the keys, told us how to start the things, and hollered "have fun!" as we took off for home. Only.... we were on snowmobiles. Shouldn't we explore a little before heading back to the hotel or to dinner? YES!
We were pros, too ~ darting between trees, getting up to speeds of 40 mph, and finding pretty little spots in the woods that would have been completely inaccessible otherwise. That is, until I got stuck in the snow. The deep snow, the kind of snow that has been there for months and isn't going anywhere, and if it has its way, neither are you. Yeah, that kind of snow. The pro was stuck. Did I mention it was still snowing and nearing darkness? Also, we were about 14 miles out of town. Yeah, that kind of stuck. What can you do but curse, dig, curse some more, and keep digging? We dug hard for 45 minutes (I got unstuck and then stuck again) before finally, getting my machine back on the trail. Man power? I don't think so. That was brut Woman power!
A frozen lake on the trail
Back in West (as it's known around these parts), we headed to Bullwinkle's for dinner. Pulling up to a restaurant by snowmobile is really fun, even when you're stopped by the cops for going down one of the only two streets in West that doesn't allow snowmobiles. Luckily, we got off with just a warning, but I started to wonder if maybe we didn't need a little more than "here's how's you start it, have fun!" before they handed over the keys.
Leaving Bullwinkle's after dinner
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Location:West Yellowstone, Montana