I left the lake area & headed up toward the canyon.. where the falls were. The yellowstone falls & canyon are awesome. The view areas make picture taking easy. Every photo looks like a post card.
The biggest drawback is all the walking you have to do. The parking areas are pretty close, but i still had to walk a lot to the scenic views or other points of interest. I was really impressed with the sidi crossfires. I put several miles on them just walking, & they were pretty good. I had put in a gel sole, though, to soften up the footwork.
The colors & rock formations in the canyon areas were fascinating. They didn't compare to the sheer volume in Bryce, but they had the color pallette down.
You could also get above the falls.. i think this was the upper falls..
Here's a short video of the upper falls:
I continued north along the yellowstone river.. there were some great vistas, & lots of river views along the way.
This is tower falls.. i took a break here (after another long hike to see the falls!). They have local ice cream that has been made & served for years.. it was quite good. I also passed a guy on a harley after i left. He was loaded down with so much stuff, & he probably weighed in over 300# himself. Even the big harley was struggling to climb the hills. I passed him several times along the way. He'd catch me when i stopped to take pics & enjoy the views, then i'd pass him later. You could see the back end of the bike sagging down.
Everywhere you went there was something different. Yellowstone is really a variety of places in one.
Then off the lonely, little traveled road north, i came upon this. That's what i've been looking for! Poor driving conditions? i'll be the judge of that! I went around the sign, being the rogue arizonan, wild west maverick that i am, & eagerly explored some real dirt.
It was a nice road.. very scenic.. no traffic. :)
There were a few spots that had some washed out areas.. some water crossing the roads.. but nothing the drz couldn't handle.. it was glad to be off the pavement & leaped & snorted when encountering the more rugged terrain.
But about 10 miles into the new riding area, i saw a green park truck coming toward me... uh oh... busted. A young park ranger tried his best to chastise me, yelling at me in a breaking voice that the roads were closed for a reason, etc. I tried to act contrite, & he didn't ticket me or anything. I promised to cheerfully obey all the posted signs & went on my way. The road had actually looped back to where i had already been, so i had to come along the same road north toward Mammoth hot springs.
There were a lot of elk & antelope as i got further north. It was also getting late.. almost 5pm.
When i got into the town part of mammoth, the elk were there. Rangers had to put cones up to divert traffic & not let people get too close. These guys have it easy! Nobody shoots at them, they can graze in the park, the cops set up barricades...
It was getting late.. so i left yellowstone & went into Gardiner, Montana to look for a room. What looked like a cheap hotel was $100, & the clerk said all the prices were like that in Gardiner.. perhaps in Livingstone about 80 mile north they might have cheaper rooms. So i filled with gas & continued north. The road went along the yellowstone river.. again, rafters were everywhere.
I could see an interesting road/trail on the other side of the river, but there was no place to cross. The sun was sinking lower, & i decided i'd try to find a place to camp. I went through Yankee Jim Canyon, & got into some areas with houses. There was a turnoff, & the road became graded dirt. Then there was a bridge!
I crossed the bridge & doubled back along the dirt road, looking for a campsite. There were several turnoffs, & a couple of historic site signs telling about this trail.. used by the natives thousands of years ago, then by the first wagon visitors to yellowstone, then by a railroad to take visitors to yellowstone. But when the new highway was constructed, it was abandoned. The trail hadn't been closed to motorized vehicles.. at least there was no sign, but there were rocks piled along so only hikers or bicycles (or small dirt bikes!) could get through. I decided to try & catch this on the helmet cam. The sun was in my face, so the light is a little weird.
Here's a short video clip of a trail along the yellowstone river north of Gardiner in Montana.
This one is a little better, but longer..
I followed the trail for several miles, but cover & access to the river was dwindling, so i headed back to the best spot i had seen. I had to ride off the road for a few hundred yards in very deep grass to a stand of trees near the river. I wanted to wash me, the clothes & get settled before dark.
There were a few more spots of single track, & had i more time, i would have gone further along & explored them. But it was getting late, so i stopped to camp.
My camp site. I was going to pass on the hammock this night, & just lay it on the grass for a ground cloth. I was also not sure of the legality of camping here, so wanted to keep a low profile. I only saw one vehicle go by, but this wasn't nat. forest, so i cut a few branches & tried to obscure the bright yellow & white drz.
I figured i better get myself & clothes washed before it got too dark, & to give as much time as possible to let things dry. It would not be as cold here.. it was about 4k ft, instead of 7500 the night before!
I hung everything out.. but down low so not to be conspicuous.
I wasn't real hungry, so just had some jerky & gatorade for dinner.
I hung up my bear cache & got my bag out as it got dark.
The mosquitos were thick, so when i sat i had to put on my hat & mosquito head net. It worked, though. I was a little worried about bears, again.. but i had been very careful with the food, & put all wrappers, empty bottles, & food i had in the cache. There was no cell phone service, so when it got dark, i just went to sleep.
I could almost hear dueling banjos in the distance.. Watch out, rafters!!
I slept much better this night. I didn't get cold, no bears came, or at least they were quiet if they did.
Rides & reports of motorcycle adventures..
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