Thursday, July 30, 2015

Beartooth Pass

July 28-30, 2015

On Tuesday (7/28) we took the scenic Beartooth Pass road from Red Lodge, MT south toward Yellowstone Park.  We had heard that the drive was rated as one of the most beautiful in the country.  We weren’t disappointed.  Actually, unbeknownst to us, a freak storm had passed through in the night and dumped several inches of snow on the pass.  We didn’t know about the storm but were curious why the road signs in Red Lodge said the pass was closed.  We headed on up thinking the sign must have been a mistake.  The drive up was unbelievable but the higher we got the little skiffs of snow turned into larger and larger piles.  As we approached the summit at at 10,947 ft, traffic was stopped but fortunately they were just opening the road.   All tolled, it looked like the summit got between 4 and 6 inches of very wet snow.  The snow make an already  spectacular view even better.  After descending the mountain, we looped back to Red Lodge on the “Chief Joseph Scenic Highway” which in itself was very pretty.  All in all, we would have to say that the Beartooth Pass road is indeed the most scenic drive we have ever found.

On Wednesday, we headed over to the Charles Russell National Wildlife Refuge north of Billings, and then on Thursday, continued north to the “Hi-line” and headed west to Shelby, MT.  The 200 miles from Billings to the Hi-line has to be one of the most remote roads in the lower 48.  It reminded us a lot of some of the roads that we experienced in the Yukon Territory last year.  No doubt there is a lot of open space in the west …. exactly why we love it here! 

Tomorrow, we head over toward Glacier Park but with the east entrance closed due to the fire, we are not sure where we will end up.



A few miles below the summit we found small patches of snowDSC_8423


As we got closer to the summit there was a general dusting of snow everywhereDSC_8427


Didn’t think to bring snow boots along…DSC_8438

 Ok…. 31 degrees is a little too cold for a couple of desert dwellers.  The strong wind made it even worst!DSC_8458

The views from the summit were unforgettableDSC_8439



 DSC_8462  DSC_8466

  Even made a small snowman….DSC_8471


So much for these summer flowers…IMG_2541

Can’t count the number of switch backs we didDSC_8495




July 28, 2015


July 29, 2015


July 30, 2015


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sinkhole Canyon

July 25-27

On Saturday (July 25) we spent the day exploring the Sinkhole Canyon area north of Lander, WY.  The drive up the canyon is about 20 miles long and very steep but it has some fantastic views.  There were several campgrounds along the road but nothing that would accommodate anything larger than a van or pickup camper.  On Sunday, we left Lander and headed to the Bighorn National Forest west of Sheridan, WY.  Highway 14 was billed as a very scenic drive but also as a very treacherous drive with extreme grades.  They were right on both accounts.  Shortly after entering the forest east of Worland, WY we started uphill.  The uphill grade continued for about 20 miles with very few breaks.  The scenery was outstanding with several water falls and amazing rock formations.  We found a nice campground near the top at 9050 ft - called Porcupine Campground.  On Monday morning we started the long downhill grade.  Warning signs at the top said the grade was 10% and continued for 15 miles.  They weren’t exaggerating one bit….  We spent the whole 15 miles in first gear and still had to do heavy braking.  Note to fellow RV’ers… the trip is well worth it but know the limits of your rig!  We have pulled our trailer many 10’s of thousands of miles around the west and this was the most extreme 15 miles we have every experienced!  The evening found us at Cooney State Park in Montana, which is north east of Yellowstone.  Next up is a drive over Sawtooth Mtn. Pass, which is advertised as one of the most scenic roads in America.

A beautiful day in Sinkhole CanyonDSC_8344

Water rushing down the hill into the sinkhole.  The water goes into the sinkhole and reemerges about a quarter mile laterDSC_8347

Into the Sinkhole….DSC_8348

Some views along Highway 14DSC_8364


Yup, it’s going to be an interesting ride down

IMG_2472 IMG_2476


July 26 


July 27


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Flaming Gorge

July 21-24, 2015

On Tuesday (7/21) we drove from Duchesne to Flaming Gorge, Utah.  The drive north from Vernal, UT to the Gorge was very pretty but it was an extremely steep road.  We were lucky to find a nice campground in the Lodgepole Forest Service campground just south of the Gorge.  On Wednesday, we took a short hike around the Gorge and a tour of the dam.  Even though the sky was cloudy it was still very pretty.  On Thursday, we spent a perfect morning kayaking on the lake, where we paddled 3 miles.  Friday, we decided to continue heading north, which took us into Wyoming.  The drive north was very pretty with lots of rolling hills, deer, and antelope.  We ended the day at a very nice city park in Lander, WY where we were surprised by some great birding, walking trails.






A view of the dam before descending to the base. DSC_8288

At the bottom of the dam looking up…DSC_8302

The power plant inside the dam.  Not as big as Hoover or Glen but still impressive. DSC_8297

View of the river below the dam


Ready to hit the water…IMG_2396

 IMG_1062  IMG_2406

Some beautiful views in Wyoming DSC_8280



July 21, 2015image

July 24, 2015image

Monday, July 20, 2015

Monument Valley and Canyon Lands

July 19 & 20, 2015

Sunday we headed out on our annual summer adventure.  The plan is to spend the next 6 weeks or so exploring northeastern Utah, western Wyoming, and northern Montana.  This year instead of driving 10,000 miles to Alaska (like last year) we will be taking a more leisure trip with a whole lot less miles.  Instead of taking the normal route to Utah via Page AZ and Kanab UT we decided to go across the Navaho Nation and visit Monument Valley and the Canyon Lands in southern UT.  This was a great choice as the scenery was spectacular.  Sunday evening we found a great forest service campground called Devil's Canyon which is just north of Blanding UT.  On Monday we continued the northern trek passing through Moab UT and ending the day at Starvation State Park near Duchesne UT.  The park is nice, but as one would expect from a state park - is crowded and noisy.  Tomorrow we will be heading up to Flaming Gorge on the UT/WY border. 

All ready to roll…IMG_1041

Views of Monument Valley.  Was expecting “The Duke” to come riding along at any time…DSCN1214









This arch was just north of Monticello UT.   DSC_8258

Hiked to the arch and this is the view from under the arch. DSC_8264


Sunday July 19, 2015image

Monday, July 20, 2015 image