West Yellowstone, Montana

After leaving the quilt shop in Cody, Wyoming, yesterday, we traveled along a scenic byway through some pretty country onto our next destination of West Yellowstone, Montana.  Here area a couple of images I snapped while we stopped to give The Driver a chance to run around and get his blood flowing and his eyes awake and open.

We entered Yellowstone National Park through the east entrance and drove the 100 mile drive from east to west before stopping in West Yellowstone, Montana, for the night.  

We visited Yellowstone and saw virtually everything on the map a couple of years ago.  After seeing all the biggest attractions, we did a significant amount of hiking.  We didn't stop for anything this time, but agreed that we might enjoy coming back some time after a few years have passed.  Nevertheless, we were astonished to see these areas on the east side of Yellowstone Lake that have made almost no progress at all recovering from the devastating fires more than 20 years ago.  Here are some images I snapped from our moving truck as we drove by.

Notice in the images above, there is nothing but brown grass on the forest floor and virtually no green trees in among the ones that are completely burned up.  In the image below, a few little fir trees have made the first bit of effort at reforestation.  It's so sad to see this.  We can only surmise that the fires burned so hot that every seed, every pine cone, and every other bit of life in the soil was destroyed.  It will take a long time for this to come back, and I doubt very much that we will live long enough to see it.

Once we got to the west side of the lake, things looked much more normal.  There, the forest is green and healthy.

We drove straight through the park to West Yellowstone, which is a town that exists for no other reason than to give visitors to Yellowstone a place to stay.  The RV park we selected has an Imax theater, and we were given two tickets when we checked in.  Tonight we'll stop in to see one of three films:  Yellowstone, Lewis & Clark, or Bears.  I'm guessing it will be the first one, although the others sound equally interesting.  

We've decided to stay here two nights since we have only one more stop on our agenda before going home. The fires in Idaho have meant that we have canceled our stop in Stanley Basin, which is disappointing.  Still, it's nice to have the time to mosey along at a leisurely pace, and we'll probably return home ahead of schedule.  That will be nice for Mike so that he can get some things accomplished before heading back to work.  

For now, that's about all I know.

12 comments from clever and witty friends:

SewCalGal said...

Have fun. We just returned from Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.
Let me know if you want any restaurant recommendations in West Yellowstone. We found 2 places for yummy dinners and also a good source for breakfast.

Say hi to the Bison for me.


Lisa Marie said...

I don't suppose you'll be in Gardiner, Montana? If by chance you are, you should check out my aunt's art studio called Elk River Art.
Website: http://www.elkriverart.com/index.shtml

Junebug613 said...

How sad about the forest damage. I guess nature can be it's own worst enemy sometimes. I hope the rest of your trip is leisurely and still fun!

Winona said...

Sure is sad to see all the damage caused from fire and to know that it hasn't come back for almost 20 years. Just sad. Have fun on the rest of your trip.

WoolenSails said...

It is shame to see such devastation. I was thinking of you today when I saw some cute kitty fabric in the store, lol.


Rachel said...

Inspiring as usual...just amazing how nature works.

quiltzyx said...

I really like the entrance photo with the bright yellow tree behind & almost lighting up the fir tree in front of it!

It's shocking that there is so little re-greening after 20 years. You would think that birds would be helping a little, dropping seeds as they fly along. All part of the big circle of life I suppose.

Needled Mom said...

It's nice to see some little blushes of the autumn colors in the trees.

I am always amazed to see the forests after the fires. The hearty little trees popping up are refreshing as I imagine what they will become eventually.

The last time we were in Stanley the forests were filled with dead trees. We knew that it was only a matter of time before it would becomae an inferno. What a shame.

gisèle said...

J'ai fait le même voyage et ça me rappelle des souvenir.
Bon voyage

Kate said...

Looks like there is the good with the bad. Hope you enjoy the rest of the trip.

bianca said...

Backpacking in Montana is an activity that you would have really loved if your schedule permitted. Meanwhile, the burnt trees are a heart ache. If people can do reforestation in the area, probably it will go back to normal in a few years.

kate brown said...

I was there probably about 9 or 10 years ago and was so saddened to see the fire damage. I would have thought there would be more recovery by now. It is still a beautiful place though and I am loving following along.