What’s been going on!
What a tremendous trip the Great Northern Rockies Loop turned out to be! Beyond all the natural wonders of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming many of you know that Betsy and I went to college at Utah State in northern Utah and have a real place in our hearts for the landscapes of the Inter-mountain West. It had been nearly 20 years since we were last there and this would be only the second time in 40 years since we graduated.
Flying in and out of Salt Lake City, I flew in a week earlier and with a friend spent six days backpacking in the Wind River Range with perfect weather, views and campsites like these.
We returned to the SLC airport for him to fly home and for me to pick up Betsy and head north. First stop was Arco, ID and Craters of the Moon Nat. Mon. Amazing lava flows and ecology. Climbing through lava tubes was amazing.
On up through eastern Idaho marveling at the huge scale of the valleys and mountains and the irrigated agriculture. A perfect evening in Hamilton, MT at the county fair and rodeo.
First thing the next morning we hit the two Saturday farmer’s markets in Missoula which I have been watching for some years now. The original Missoula market is 47 years old, older than Carrboro, and has struggled some in the last few years
with competition from a newer and less restricted market only six blocks away. We talked at length with the manager and vendors. Both were good markets but there are lessons to be learned here about market management and rule making.
Days 4 and 5 we moved on up to Glacier Nat. Park. Unfortunately due to the timing of other parts of the trip we landed in the park on Labor Day weekend- It was packed! Lake MacDonald and the historic lodge were still beautiful
We escaped the crowds some by staying 14 miles away from pavement and the Canadian Border in an off-the-grid historic establishment.
The 6th day we were up before light to make the scenic drive over the continental divide on the Going to the Sun road and to beat the crowds to the top. Beautiful day hike and a real view of what the park is all about.
We headed east to Great Falls stopping at the museum of the Plains Indian and later the Charles Russell museum to see his beautiful western art. The next morning we spent hours at the incredibly well done Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center located on the stretch of the Missouri River where the five Great Falls forced them to portage 18 miles to get around them.
On south paralleling the Missouri River through more wide valleys of massive farms growing wheat, oats and other grains and making mountains of hay, to Bozeman where we spent time at the museum of the Rockies with many exhibits but most notably one of the best dinosaur displays anywhere.
The 8th day we avoided the easy two hour drive to Billings by going north and then east driving down the long and beautiful Musselshell River valley with more huge agricultural operations surrounded by mountains.
The following morning was devoted to the Little Bighorn Nat. Mon. a place I had always wanted to see. Located in the heart of the Crow Indian reservation it is a somber place where the tribes had their last great attempt to keep their lands and way of life
Stretching over 4 miles of ridgeline, the over confident and overwhelmed Calvary did not realize they were up against 7000 Indians with 2000 warriors. This is Custer’s Last Stand hill overlooking the Little Bighorn River and the site of the Indian encampment, the white markers are for the fallen soldiers.
In 1991 they appropriately changed the name from Custer Battlefield to Little Bighorn NM and built a beautiful circular Vietnam Wall like monument down the slope from Last Stand hill to commemorate the Indians involved in the battle.
It’s view out over the Crow reservation.
Day 10 was a huge day starting with one of the most beautiful drives in the US along the Beartooth highway up 6000’ to nearly 11,000 feet and over the plateau
To the NE corner of Yellowstone NP where we were treated to the huge Lamar Valley and lots of buffalo and some antelope. On the lookout for moose, elk and bears we would only catch glimpses of elk and bear later on.
Of course we braved the crowds and were able to see the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
The second to the last day the weather was turning on us after weeks of clear blue skies. We took in many of the geothermal wonders of the park including Old Faithful
and the historic Inn before heading south to the Grand Tetons.
By the time we hit Jackson Hole the rain was falling so there were no views of the mountains, oh well, we have been there many times before and will just have to remember the view.
The 12th day we drove familiar roads back to Salt Lake around Bear Lake and over the Bear Lake summit
Down Logan canyon to spend some time driving around campus and town including finding most of the houses we lived in before making the last of 2500 miles to the airport.
Great trip, I would recommend it to anyone, just time it a few weeks later to avoid the still large crowds in the National Parks just after Labor Day, fall in the west is a beautiful time to be there.
What’s going to be at Market?
We will be! We are returning for one week only to roast peppers! We will have a small selection of our own peppers and will be glad to roast peppers you buy from any of the other farmers at market.
We will have Red Bells and Red and Yellow Corno di Toro’s in sweet peppers. Red and Green Poblanos and Anaheims and Serranos in hot peppers. You never know what else we might drum up too.
Hope to see you all at the market!
Alex and Betsy
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Alex – enjoyed all of the pictures but particularly of the Wind Rivers – spent a week there a number of years ago with Dottie E and another friend in a cabin from which we did day hikes – saw more moose than people which was wonderful – absolutely stunning country.
What a fabulous trip! I was in and around the same area, including Glacier, a little before you, intentionally trying to avoid NPs over holidays. Last year I went to Little Big Horn NM, also Bighorn Canyon – pretty amazing. Your photos are great, I was never able to get photos at the big Yellowstone sites without crowds in them. I definitely want to return in the off season, maybe next year. Oh, the massive acreage of irrigated hay and grains!!! Happy travels, Lynn
We spoke of your travels often while we were out there. Very sorry about Xena.