Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Day 14 - Beartooth Highway and the Road to Billings Montana

My oldest daughter Lisa thought that I wouldn't see anything more impressive than what I had already seen on this journey when I talked to her right before leaving Yellowstone.  I am happy to say she was wrong!  Vicki discovered what is described as "#1 Scenic Highway" according to Chas. Kuralt.   We set out through the northeast entrance to Yellowstone to meet up with this highway -- Hwy 212 or the Beartooth Highway.  We planned on our next stop being Billings Montana and then onto Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands the next day.

 We again drove through the park to get to the other side and one of two roads in Yellowstone I hadn't been on.  It follows along the Lamar River pictured here.

 Heading out from that Northeast Entrance, we finally saw the huge herds of bison!!

More interesting rock formations and of course another beautiful day.

We started seeing some of the mountains off in the distance.

 Each scene was more beautiful than the last as we headed up through the mountains.  It was truly breathtaking.  We started checking our altitude and got up to about 11,500 feet and there was plenty of snow.

I had to include these two GPS pictures to give you an idea of the ride.  I sincerely thought it made the Switzerland mountaains we drove through 25 years ago look like a piece of cake!!   Notice that the GPS suggested a speed of 70 mph.  It must have been a straightaway as I noted Vicki was doing 42 mph here. Often it was 15 mph. 

As we headed downhill, Vicki was a bit nervous about overheating her brakes, so we found a nice peaceful place by the side of the road to have lunch.  This gave me the opportunity to take pictures of many of the wildflowers that I had been seeing.  I have identified some but not all.

This is a Shrubby Cinquefoil I believe.
Wild Strawberry

Yellow Columbine
This is a variaation of the Yellow Columbine. 
 Rydberg's Arnica I think.
Mountain Bluebell. 


There were a couple of other flowers I couldn't identify as well.

I believe this is a Violet-Green Swallow.  I saw him by our hotel in West Yellowstone just as we were leaving.

We stopped at a botanical garden in Billings but it was more  commercial wedding venue than anything so we walked around about five minutes before we left!  You can't win them all!  On to Mt. Rushmore!!

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