Thursday, July 31, 2014

Montana and Wyoming: Arriving in Yellowstone, the North Entrance and Mammoth Hot Springs

The day after our big Granite Ghost Town adventure we woke up in Bozeman, Montana. We poked around drinking iced coffee and browsing overpriced used books before moving on the Livingston, Montana. The problem with visiting both of these cute little towns on a Sunday is that nothing is open. Well, almost nothing. We did find the cutest little deli and pickle shop in Livingston that had the most amazing sandwiches.

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The next stop was our cabin in Gardiner, Montana, located just a few minutes from Yellowstone's north entrance. The drive was beautiful, the cabin was beautiful, the views were beautiful. After so much research I thought I had a firm grasp of what to expect, but it was at this point that everything started exceeding my expectations. The cabin even had a view of Yellowstone's Electric Peak and the Yellowstone River.

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The plan was to start our tour of Yellowstone the next morning, but we decided that we just couldn't wait any longer. We drove into the park to see what we could find, and we weren't disappointed. We entered through the Roosevelt Arch as the sun set, then wound along the Yellowstone River, spotting Bighorn Sheep and Pronghorns by the road. We ended up at the Mammoth Hot Springs Historic District, where elk were grazing next to the old Post Office. And Mammoth Hot Springs? It was amazing.

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Absolutely incredible.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Montana and Wyoming: Granite Ghost Town

While we were planning our summer trip to Montana and Wyoming we had a huge list of places we wanted to visit: Glacier National Park, Banff National Park, Yellowstone, The Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole, Butte, Bozeman...and ghost towns. We narrowed it down to Yellowstone and The Grand Tetons, because they are so close together, but we did manage to stop at Granite Ghost Town outside of Philipsburg, Montana. Granite was the richest silver mine on earth, and to this day it continues to hold that record.

The rough dirt road up to the mine is narrow and it's on a cliff. You climb 1,280 feet in only four miles. It's sketchy. Like if a car was coming around a corner you'd probably drive off the cliff sketchy. But that first glimpse of the crumbling mine across a canyon of evergreen trees was unbelievably breathtaking. When we first got out of the car a deer ran across the road in front of us. It's also quiet...eerily silent. These pictures don't begin to show the enormity of these buildings, or the beauty of their ruins.

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There are some more well known ghost towns in Montana, with easier roads, gift shops and people wandering around in 19th century costumes. But there was something absolutely haunting about the stillness and silence at Granite. Like a cemetery for old buildings that were once filled with life.