Monday, September 19, 2016

Leaving Yellowstone

Well, it's time to pull out from Yellowstone.  Our original plan was to head South and see the Grand Tetons.  But it was sooo windy yesterday that the wildfires that had been near West Yellowstone, had moved southeast and crossed the road.  This is a picture I took yesterday while we were waiting for Old Faithful.  Those are not clouds, they are plumes of smoke from that fire.  We all thought it looked like it was coming from the wrong direction... now we know, the fire had set it on the move.

So the Southern entrance/exit was closed and they actually evacuated folks who were in the most southern portions of the park by West Thumb and Grant Village.  They were closed.  So we planned to head back east and head out the way we came in.

We woke up on Monday morning and...
it was snowing!!!!!!

 By the time we packed up the cabin and were getting in the car - there was a LOT of snow on the ground.  Knowing we were hitting some passes over 8000 ft, we put it in high gear before it got worse.

 I had really hoped to stop at the Continental Divide - we had studied up on it before the trip - but with the snow, we cheered as we crossed The Divide - and kept right on going.
 And then this guy decided to slow us down.  You can see we were in the lower elevations because there was no snow at this point.

 And the bison came to say goodbye too....
 I had to stop and get a picture of this previously burned forest.  One of the things that I think is soooo cool about the forest fires, is that although it seems so harsh - it's actually for the health of the forests.   The current fires were all started by lightening strikes.  There are trees in the forest with cones that ONLY open with heat.  So without fire there are some trees that would not repopulate.  God's so amazing that way.

It's funny because the pictures tell you if we were on a pass, or in the valley below.  Like these Pronghorn - who came on down to the non-snowy zone.

 But then in a higher pass area, we were stopped by these free ranging cows.  Cracked us up - not the wildlife we were expecting.

 And on to South Dakota!
Our plans included a trip to Devils Tower  -but it was so rainy and the visibility was so limited that we decided to skip it this year.  We know we will be back to this area again, so we'll have another chance to see the first National monument then.

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