Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Yellowstone & Montana - Day 7 & 8

Friday 7/30/2010
Took a short hike to Wraith Falls in the morning, then drove through the Lamar Valley and spotted some animals - bison (of course) and a black bear.

Back in Gardiner, we visited the Yellowstone Heritage and Research Center. Apparently a bunch of historical documents and artifacts were moved there from the leaky basement of the visitor center in Mammoth (the old bachelor officer's quarter from the Army days). We couldn't go into all of it since it wasn't so much a museum, but they had some interesting exhibits in the lobby.

We also stopped by the Yellowstone Association store in Gardiner. The building used to be a general store that was first opened in the early 1900s.

Saturday 7/31/2010
Got up at 6:00 to take a dip in the hot spring-fed Gardner River. It was sweet! And not very crowded early in the morning. By the afternoon, it usually gets super crowded since it's a popular swimming area.

Later in the morning, we hiked Mt. Washburn. It's a 3 mile hike to the top with a 1400 ft elevation gain, but it really wasn't too bad of a hike. There is a fire lookout at the top that a ranger still staffs. The views at the top were fantastic - 360 degree views of the park. Near the top of the Washburn hike, there was a big herd of bighorn sheep just chillin' on the trail. You had to walk past them to get to the top, which meant that you had to get pretty close to them, so that was neat. We started back down when a storm rolled in and got caught in the rain/hail/wind. As a result, the trail was uber muddy to hike down.

On the way back to Gardiner from Mammoth, we took the Old Gardiner Road, which is an old stagecoach road. It was quite scenic, though we didn't see any animals like the guidebook said we might.

For dinner, I wanted to try out Helen's Corral Drive-in, which had been recommended in the guidebook. Greg and I had burgers while my dad had a buffalo burger. The burgers were good, though not out-of-this-world, but given the other options in Gardiner, probably one of the better options in terms of not feeling like I got robbed.

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