We arrived yesterday at Gardiner Montana, and are currently at the Rocky Mountain RV Park on a hill overlooking the town and the Yellowstone River. The North entrance to Yellowstone Park is about a half a mile away.
After saying farewell to the Cupps, who are planning on going on to Glacier National Park, our group of three McKenzie's left Missoula yesterday morning about 8:30, headed East along Interstate 90 through Butte and Bozeman to the Town of Livingston. A couple of rest stops along the way and refueling. This part of Montana seemed to be a gigantic valley surrounded by snow covered hills in all directions. Total distance was about 270 miles. The portion of the drive to Livingston to Gardiner was along the Yellowstone River and was very scenic. We will stay at Gardiner for 3 more nights. Sightseeing in the park is planned. We are only 5 miles from Mammoth Hot Springs and about 55 miles from Old Faithful. When we move on to our next stop, it will be through the park to Yellowstone Lake and then East to Cody, Wyoming.
Today the Evans went to Mammoth Hot Springs and then on to Tower Falls. We were able to enter the park on Larry's Golden Age Pass for free. We walked around the hot springs and then drove to Tower Falls about 20 miles away. The wildlife score for today for us was several buffalo, 2 elk, a black bear and 2 cubs, and several bighorn sheep. Quite a day. We returned about 2pm and washed clothes and waited for the Fine's and Fontana's to return from their trip around the upper loop. The Fine's and Fontana's will add their comments.
Don and Bonnie Fine write:
The Fontana's, Juliann and Tony, and the Fine's, Bonnie and Don, explored the upper loop of Yellowstone spending most of the day site seeing and picture taking. Starting at the Mammoth Hot Springs with a short stop at the visitor's center they headed off. After just getting back in the truck, they spotted a Moose with baby strolling down the street. Juliann was out of the truck in a flash with her camera. First lesson, you must remember to shut the truck door after exiting. Juliann finally caught on. Then missing the first point of interest, Don was driving, they got in the grove and visited most everything else. Bonnie and Juliann walked down to watch Constant Geyer blow, but after 25 minutes decided it wasn't too constant and trudged back to the truck. Points of interest, Norris Geyer Basin, Museum of the National Park Ranger, Tower Falls and the scenic beauty viewed from wide spots in the road. Highlights: Seeing the Bison up close and personal as they were walking down the middle of the road causing an "animal jam" and looking quite unconcerned. Man, they are big when they are right next to the car. They saw elk, moose, antelope and bear, even a Mama bear with cub right beside the road. Tony and Bonnie saw animal droppings but couldn't discern the type of animal they were from.
With everyone back at camp and thunderstorms starting, everyone gathered with drinks and story telling in the Fine's trailer. A beautiful double rainbow covering the entire canyon ended the day.