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Montana Road Trip:
August 2008

    Itinerary:
    Bozeman, MT
    Beartooth Pass
    Yellowstone National Park
    Gallatin National Forest, MT


Synopsis

In what seems to be a developing trend, we took our biannual or annual trip to visit our friends Elizabeth and Brent in Bozeman, Montana.

At their beautiful house on the edge of town, we met up with Tracy, Victoria, and Kim.  As with our previous trips, this one was not short of great conversations sprinkled with a little modern Jackass-isms.  All in all it was a great time spent in and around Brent and Elizabeth’s house.

Tor and I had a great time sleeping out on their deck at night.  Though it was a little cool, we had no problem staying warm in our sleeping bags.  Each night we were treated to the sight of a few early Perseid meteors streak across the dark sky right before drifting off to the land of nod.  Every morning we were woken by the sounds of Calliope and Rufous hummingbirds chasing each other off the feeders – not a bad way to start the day.

We took a day trip over the Beartooth Pass and wandered the tundra through the sphagnum bogs trying not to get eaten alive by the mosquitoes.  Even a couple of American Pipits looked like they were trying to escape the clouds of bugs by flitting erratically around the rocks – or perhaps they were taking advantage of the abundant clouds of protein by catching a few.

We continued down the road into Yellowstone were we stopped to watch the herds of bison graze the lush Lamar Valley.  Later in the evening we were lucky to see a grizzly bear on the side of the road.  We watched the bear graze in the grass, sometimes it would stop to raise its nose in the air to sniff the occasional tourist who would slow down to look.  At dusk in the Lamar Valley, we could hear the male bisons’ deep grunts carry across the valley floor, as the rut was only a short ways a way.

On another day trip, we went to the Gallatin National Forest – a short distance away from Bozeman.  We were on the search for a supposed sphagnum bog with sundews.  We drove the forest roads trying to navigate our way to a GPS point that in the end turned out to be a drainage pond next to the entrance of the forest.  Whoops.  Still we had a good time poking around the forest, enjoying the blooming wildflowers, and seeing Bozeman spread out below.

This trip marks our third failure to see a wolf in Yellowstone.  However, Brent promised if we went in the winter we were guaranteed a wolf sighting.  We’ll have to hold it to him one day.

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Pictures

Beartooth Highway, MT
tundra/alpine of the Beartooth Highway
A beautiful stream/bog on the Beartooth Highway
Smoke from the forest fires hung in the air covering the sun.
Bison herd,
Lamar Valley,
Yellowstone NP
Bison backup,
Yellowstone NP
Roadside Bison,
Yellowstone NP
Grizzly Bear,
Yellowstone NP
Brent and Elizabeth's neighbor
A walk through the neighborhood during a small rainstorm
Voles were common around Brent and Elizabeth's
Spotted Frog,
Gallatin NF
Brent and Tracy discuss how to keep their feet supple with bog mud.
Tasty steaks that were actually Antelope - don't worry kids Santa is still safe.
The Montana Feast crew
Yikes! Bears are still dangerous even when mounted.

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Bird List

American White Pelican 

Roadside

Great Blue Heron

Roadside

Canada Goose

Roadside

Mallard

BE

Turkey Vulture

Roadside

Osprey

Roadside

Bald Eagle

Roadside

Northern Goshawk

G

Red-tailed Hawk

everywhere

American Kestrel

Roadside

Sandhill Crane

Roadside

Rock Dove

Roadside

Mourning Dove

BE, Roadside

Common Nighthawk

BE

Rufous Hummingbird

BE

Calliope Hummingbird

BE

Red-naped Sapsucker

BE

Northern Flicker

BE

Olive-sided Flycatcher

BE

Eastern Kingbird

Roadside

Western Kingbird

Roadside

Violet-green Swallow

BE, B, Y

Cliff Swallow

G, Y

Clark's Nutcracker

BE, G

Black-billed Magpie

Roadside

Common Raven

everywhere

Black-capped Chickadee

BE

Mountain Chickadee

BE

House Wren

BE

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

BE

American Pipit

B

Gray Catbird

BE

Veery

BE

American Robin

everywhere

Orange-crowned Warbler

BE

Yellow-rumped Warbler

G

Cedar Waxwing

BE

Western Tanager

BE

Dark-eyed Junco - Pink-sided race

BE, B, G, Y

Song Sparrow

BE

White-crowned Sparrow

BE, B

Brewer's Blackbird

Roadside

Red Crossbill

BE

Pine Siskin

BE, Y

Cassin’s Finch

B

Black-headed Grosbeak

BE


BE = Brent & Elizabeth's, Bozeman, MT

mt, valley, alpine, elevation ~7000; sunny -> breezy, rain

G = Gallatin NF, MT

mt, alpine, meadows, bog; partial sun

Y = Yellowstone National Park

alpine, grasslands, valleys, mts, rivers

B = Beartooth Highway

alpine, tundra, bog


Other Critter List

Bat

BE

Vole - Montane (?)

BE

Kangaroo Rat

BE

Richardson's ground squirrel

Y

Golden-mantled Squirrel

B

Least Chipmunk

BE, B

Mountain Cottontail

G

Grizzly Bear

Y

Red Fox

BE

Coyote

Y

Elk

Y

Pronghorn + young

Roadside, Y

Bison + calf

Y

White-tailed Deer

BE, Roadside

Mule Deer

BE, Roadside

Moose

BE

Mt Goat

Y


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Information

Yellowstone National Park

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page updated: 8/8/08