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Montana Road Trip:
June 2007

    Bozeman, MT
    Gallatin National Forest, MT
    Yellowstone National Park

Two years ago, we took a road trip to visit Brent and Elizabeth, who had at the time, recently settled into Bozeman and were eager to show off their wonderful house and "neighborhood" in the mountains outside of town.  We impressed then, so we were happy to take up their invitation to visit again this summer.

So we, along with Todd, Christina, Ed and Joann, met up at Brent and Elizabeth's place.  We spent most of our visit kicking around their house - looking for the occasional fox, deer, or moose that would wander the neighborhood, eating great meals, and enjoying the company.

At their house, I enjoyed the many singing birds - the Black-headed Grosbeaks, Veerys, Yellow Warblers, and Lazuli Buntings.  The bird highlight at their house was a Northern Goshawk that flew into a tree before being mobbed and chased up the valley.

I was thankful for the roof over our heads, as last time we were caught in a frightful lightening/rain/wind storm while camping in the open on a mountain.  During this visit, we didn't experience a storm to that magnitude, but there was an impressive show one night with a downpour, wind, and frequent lightening.

We took a day trip to the Gallatin Canyon Area to look for Callipso Orchids or any other wildflowers.  We hiked up the Indian Ridge Trail and around the forest roads in the canyon.  Compared to our fist visit, there were only a few Callipso Orchids still in bloom, but we saw many other wildflowers that we missed the first time.

We also took a day trip to Yellowstone National Park, with the goal of visiting the Lamar Valley and seeing the abundant wildlife.  On the way to the Lamar Valley, Ed sighted a moose tucking down in the shade.  As we continued on, we spotted our first black bear or rather we saw a large number of cars on the road and stopped to see what they were looking at.  Once in the Lamar Valley, we stopped to watch the large herds of bison.  Elk and pronghorn were peppered in with them.  We also saw a couple of coyotes.  We watched one pronghorn family chase their young around the meadow.  It was quite impressive to see such a young, small pronghorn move so quickly!  Outside of the Lamar Valley, we stopped to scope the mountains.  We found both Mountain Goats and Big Horned Sheep.  Both had young with them.

After a nice lunch at Cooke City, we drove through the Lamar Valley making a few stops along the way.  We pulled over twice at the large mass of cars to see one black bear and then a pair of black bears.  After a brief stop at Mammoth Springs, we spotted yet another black bear along the side of the road. - The fifth black bear for the day!

We had a great, but brief, visit and we're very thankful for them entertaining and putting up with us.  Hopefully, we haven't put them off the idea of having us in the future. 



Garter Snake,
Brent & Elizabeth's house
Bozeman, Montana
Brent & Elizabeth's house
Bozeman, Montana
Spotted Frogs,
in front of Brent & Elizabeth's house
Bozeman, Montana
Brent & Elizabeth's house
Bozeman, Montana
Calliope Hummingbird,
Brent & Elizabeth's house
Bozeman, Montana
House Wren,
Brent & Elizabeth's house
Bozeman, Montana
Gallatin NF, Montana
Gallatin NF, Montana
Indian Ridge Trail,
Gallatin NF, Montana
view from Indian Ridge Trail,
Gallatin NF, Montana
More Spotted Frogs,
Gallatin NF, Montana
Lady Tresses
Gallatin NF,  Montana
How to spot a bear at Yellowstone NP:

Look for a black spot on the hillsides or...
Look for the long line of tourists on the sides of the roads.
Black Bear,
Yellowstone NP
Bison herd,
Lamar Valley,
Yellowstone NP
Yellowstone NP
Common Raven,
Yellowstone NP
Step 1
Step 2

A handout everyone gets when they enter Yellowstone

Notice the similarities in the bison's tail position. Remember a raised tail means one of two things - charge or discharge.

For more examples of people being stupid, click here.
Cliff Swallows
or in this case
Urinal Swallows,
Yellowstone NP
Yellowstone NP
Mammoth Springs,
Yellowstone NP
The 5th black bear we saw for the day,
Yellowstone NP
Have to plan our next trip to Montana
A composite view of the stretch of road between Spokane and Mosses lake... after 8 hours of driving.
To see pictures of "Hippy Fest" during the Montana trip, click here.

Bird List

American White Pelican Roadside
Great Blue Heron Roadside
Trumpeter Swan Y
Canada Goose Y
Lesser Scaup Y
Turkey Vulture Roadside, Y
Osprey Roadside, Y
Bald Eagle Roadside, Y
Northern Harrier BE, Y
Cooper's Hawk Roadside
  Sharp-shinned Hawk   Y
  Northern Goshawk   BE
Swainson's Hawk Roadside, G
Red-tailed Hawk everywhere
Golden Eagle BE, Y
American Kestrel Roadside, Y
Ruffed Grouse BE
Sandhill Crane Y
Killdeer Y (w/4 juveniles)
Mourning Dove BE
  Rock Pigeon   Y
Common Nighthawk BE
White-throated Swift G
Calliope Hummingbird BE
Red-naped Sapsucker BE
Hairy Woodpecker BE, G
Northern Flicker BE, Y
Dusky Flycatcher BE
Willow Flycatcher BE
  Olive-sided Flycatcher   BE, G
Eastern Kingbird BE
Tree Swallow BE, Y
Violet-green Swallow Y
Northern Rough-winged Swallow Y
Cliff Swallow G, Y
Clark's Nutcracker BE
Black-billed Magpie BE, Y
Common Raven everywhere
Mountain Chickadee BE, Y
House Wren BE
Ruby-crowned Kinglet BE, Y
  Gray Catbird   BE
Mountain Bluebird BE, Y
Veery BE, G
Swainson's Thrush G
American Robin everywhere
Orange-crowned Warbler BE
Yellow Warbler BE, Y
Yellow-rumped Warbler BE, Y
MacGillivray's Warbler BE
Common Yellowthroat BE, Y
Cedar Waxwing BE
Western Tanager BE, G, Y
Lazuli Bunting BE, G
Green-tailed Towhee BE
Dark-eyed Junco - Pink-sided race BE, G, Y
Vesper Sparrow Y
Savannah Sparrow Y
Fox Sparrow BE
Song Sparrow BE
Chipping Sparrow BE, Y
White-crowned Sparrow BE, G
Red-winged Blackbird BE, Y
Western Meadowlark Y
Yellow-headed Blackbird Roadside
Brewer's Blackbird Y
Brown-headed Cowbird BE, Y
  Red Crossbill   BE
Pine Siskin BE, Y
American Goldfinch BE
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, lake; overcast, partial sun
Y = Yellowstone National Park alpine, grasslands, valleys, mts, rivers; overcast, windy

Other Critter List

Richardson's ground squirrel Y
Red Squirrel G
Yellow-bellied Marmot Bozeman
Black Bear Y
  Fox   BE
Coyote BE, Y
Elk Y
Pronghorn + young Y
Bison + calf Y
White-tailed Deer  BE, Y
Black-tailed Deer BE, Y
Moose BE, Y
Mt Goat + young Y
Big Horn Sheep + young Y
Garter Snake BE

Notable Flower List

Calypso Orchid Gallatin NF
Spotted Coralroot Gallatin NF
Shooting Star  
White Phlox  
Death Camas  



Yellowstone National Park
Map of Gallatin Canyon Area Trails


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page updated: 3/18/08