A Wild Life in Montana

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Even though we’ve arrived back in Rhode Island, Hunter and I still have a lot of catching up to do with the blog. We haven’t forgotten about updating it, and there’s still a lot of cool stuff for us to talk about! In the map above, you can see we went from Spokane, WA to Flathead Lake, MT, then over to Missoula, MT and down into Yellowstone, WY. We only just slept in South Dakota before really jetting down into the east coast, but we’ll stick to just these few places for this post 🙂

We landed in Montana (and back in Mountain standard time) just before sunset, getting the perfect view from our campsite in Big Arm. People here are extremely friendly and on top of it, we had a gorgeous view of snowy peaks towering above rolling hills next to Flathead Lake. It was a great spot with national forest nearby and small, inexpensive towns. Thanks to Spencer for giving us a heads up about this place! It ended up being one of my favorite spots, and somewhere I would love to go back to!

From Flathead Lake we stopped in Missoula, MT and had some of the best coffee we’ve tasted on this trip. The guys who own the place are brothers, and I was lucky enough to run into him while he was working. He let me get behind the counter and make my own drink! It was bizarre but also fun to get behind the counter and attempt to pour espresso again (I didn’t do as good of a job as he did). We were once again in bear country when we crossed the border through Wyoming and into Yellowstone National Park. Almost immediately we saw bison and stopped to stare in awe at their immense size and funny character. Throughout our experience in the park the bison could care less what you think of them, as they sluggishly wander on the roads blocking traffic. The fact that people are STILL touching them and taking “selfies” with them, and now even putting them in their cars is stupid. But we won’t talk any further on this, since you all know we can go on forever.

We were the first to occupy a campsite at Madison for the season, and enjoyed the silence that was soon to be disturbed. Park staff were making comments, saying this year was going to be the worst for capacity so far. They expected more visitors than last year because of the National Park centennial. We silently hoped their year would be as easy as could be and were willing to cope with the cold in order to have the park as quiet as possible.

The next day we awoke and took scamper with us to Old Faithful. On our way there though, we stopped to talk with some folks and noticed a few looking with binoculars toward the prairie. They were watching a grey wolf wander by the river. The chances of this happening while we were there were so slim, we camped out and kept an eye on her until she moved across the river and back into the woods. Excitement beaming in our eyes, we continued down the road only a few miles more before coming up on a large crowd and a park ranger. Parking safely and far from others, we heard a few words such as “3 cubs” and “so close!” we looked at each other and jogged toward the river. A grizzly bear and her three cubs were just in the area, but she wasn’t visible at the moment. We waited for 15 minutes before deciding we might have to leave empty handed. Suddenly, she emerged with her cubs rolling out behind her into the small meadow! Her light brown face was so beautiful I couldn’t believe she was right there in front of me, 50 meters at most. She grazed and her cubs were so cute and floppy behind her, she kept making sure they were following suite. Once she looked at the crowd and assessed the situation, knowing she couldn’t make it through the human wall on the other side of the river, Hunter and I decided it was time to leave and let her be exactly what she is: wild. A wild animal.

We made it to Old Faithful just in time to see the geyser spew hot steam, and we weren’t alone. A huge crowd gathered nearby to watch. Just seconds after the geyser was active, people already were clearing out. It doesn’t take long for them to get bored, I guess.

We were sad to leave the park mostly because we had a long drive ahead of us, but also because it was the last real place we were visiting out west. Waving goodbye to the bison in who camped next to us the night before, and rolling our eyes at fresh tourists stopping to take pictures, we drove toward a campground in South Dakota to cover as much ground as we could before driving to West Virginia. Bare with us as we compile the next post or two! We are settling in and already looking back on our own blog posts to relive our adventures with scamper. 🙂

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Grey wolf!!
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Grizzly and her 3 cubs!!!!
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Bison!
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