Rocky Mountain hi (5)

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Flag of United States  , Idaho
Friday, September 1, 2006

(Friday 1st September

Last minute decision to take a detour into Yellowstone National Park North East entrance and to camp overnight at Mammoth Hot Springs. Big draw was the chance to see the wildlife and the Lamar valley, the only place where it is possible to see wolves in the park.
Mountainous views from campsite. Altitude still a challenge, we are at 6000ft. The hot springs a little disappointing as there is only one active at the moment, but that's nature for you. Saw a herd of Elk parading around outside the tourist info centre, showoffs!
Drove to the Lamar valley, we saw bison herds and deer. On way back we saw some people training binoculars in a particular direction, always a good sign. Sure enough they had seen wolves in the distance with their high powered telescopes. They very kindly let us see through them as our binoculars were not powerful enough. Yes! We have seen wild wolves.
Back at camp we went to an outdoor Ranger talk and slide show about - yes- wolves. A large bat with a one foot wingspan swooped overhead as we were sitting there.

Sat 2nd Sept.
Freezing cold night as we had forgotten to close some windows and hadn't put the slide all the way out so not in a sealed position, ah well we're learning.
As we were leaving we noticed a stream and people in the water, it was a thermal spring flowing into the cold mountain river so we stopped off for a hot paddle, magic. Spring was called Boiling river and signs said caution thermal streams can scold. A bit later Hazel said "Brian, just put your hand in that water to see how hot it is". And the fool did! It was about 70 degrees.
Back onto the I 90 and camped at a place called Anaconda, a magic name for Brian as it the home of a significant mining company that Brian had dealt with over the years but had never visited.

Sun. 3rd Sept.
More vast Montana skies and mountains. Headed to Flathead lake which is a resort area around a 28mile long lake in the foothills of the Glacier National Park (which we had decided not to visit for a variety of reasons) Camped at a good site with excellent facilities, a pool instantly used and stunning views over lake and mountains.
Went out to eat and Brian sampled the local brew, a dark draught called Moose Drool. Tasted much better than its name implied.

Mon. 4th Sept.
Today is Labour day, a public holiday and unlike England where everything is open, here, everything is shut. Had a good chill out in the sun and caught up with chores. Also had a very odd game of table tennis with hard plastic bats, a table that was on a definite lean and the added hazard of an A/C unit by your knee if you were at one end. Later on we went for a drive around the lake, stopping of for a walk into some woods. Didn't go far after seeing a sign warning of bear activity in the area!
HAZEL - Brian told me to watch out for poison Ivy. I will! But who is she?
On our decking later that evening we were joined by an old Montana cat. It may well have been used to possum, racoon and rattlesnake for supper, but it met its match with old Stilton cheese rind.

Tue 5th Sept

Travel day aiming for Idaho. Passed a dead skunk on the way. Didn't see him but boy did we smell him, the ripest yet. It lingered long and pungent and despite hanging out of both windows, it still made our eyes water.
Evidence of wildfires still all around, there's so much smoke hanging in the air, it seems as if half of Montana is burning although no fires to be seen.
Now into Idaho. Visited a quaint old mining town called Wallace. Now a very hippy avant guard community, a bit like a western Hebden Bridge.
At campsite which had a creek running through it, Brian went for a paddle in a canoe (very Daniel Boone). On the lookout for moose as we are told they are in the area.

Incidental musing

Are we redneck country or rich white trash?

We use camping chairs with drink holders in the arms.
We drink "cold ones from the bottle"
We use thermal mugs when travelling.
We wear cut offs, tee shirts and flip flops.
We buy 3 tee shirts for $10 at gas stations with local logos ie Idaho the great outdoors.
Eat corn and BBQ often.
Say "hell no!" and "y'awll" a lot.

Those in the know please advise.
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