Rocky Mountain Road Trip

After my week of day hiking in Glacier National Park, I still had another week of my vacation to enjoy the Rocky Mountains!  I left East Glacier and headed down to Great Falls, MT to pick up my dog, Duke, who’d been staying at a kennel for the week.

I then headed south through Yellowstone National Park, entering in the North near Mammoth Hot Springs. Since I now had the dog with me, long hikes were out of the question.  Ok, really, I wouldn’t have done much anyways, seeing as I was solo and it’s grizzly country.  Grizzlies scare the crap out of me!  So, this was more of a Griswald tour – stopping to snap a few photos at the overlooks and pullouts. I drove on to Cooke City, MT where I stayed at the Alpine Motel.  I chose this place mostly based on the fact that they had laundry facilities, which I needed after a week of hiking in Glacier.  So, my big night in Cooke City was spent doing laundry and eating take-out.

This area of the park contains Lamar Valley, which is supposed to be great for wildlife sightings, including wolves. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any wolves, but the mountain scenery was still fantastic!

Lamar River Valley (YNP)

Even though this was the 2nd week of September, the park was still quite crowded, with lots of RV’s filling each parking log.  I guess my next trip will have to be in the winter!

My favorite park of the park was the geyser basins – so much color and interesting scenery, along the shores of Lake Yellowstone.

West Thumb Geyser Basin (YNP)

From here, I headed down to Grand Teton National Park, where I had reserved a 2 bedroom cabin at Colter Bay.  I drove over to the Oxbow Bend area to get the usual Teton mountain photo and I had another moose sighting at a moose jam along the road.

Tetons from the Oxbow Bend in the Snake River

The next morning, I met up with a backpacking friend, Sarah, and her husband and two little girls.  We left Duke in the cabin and went for a hike along Jackson Lake.  More incredible mountain scenery!

Me, Sara and Leah - poor Allie wasn't in any pictures :(

After our morning hike, it was time for me to move on. I did a quick solo hike to Leigh Lake and String Lakes, then drove on through Jackson Hole and on to Colorado.

Leigh Lake!

I stayed in Leadville, which is near Twin Lakes.  I snagged a campsite at Sugar Loafin’ campground just outside of town.  This place is pretty expensive for tent camping, so if you’re not into ice cream socials and horseshoes, you’re better off camping at a forest service campground.  Turqouise Lake has some good ones!

The next day, my aunt Norie met me in Copper Mountain, where we hiked the Mayflower Gulch trail to the remains of the Boston Mine.  It was a perfect Colorado day, love those blue skies!

Taking a break to catch our breath!  (trailhead was around 10,500 ft and kept going up!)

After a day of high elevation hiking, we headed back to her house in Evergreen so I could visit with my cousins.  The next day, my last day in Colorado, we hiked to St Mary’s Glacier outside of Idaho Springs.  More glorious Colorado mountain scenery!

St Mary's Glacier - the little people at the bottom right of the glacier had carried their skis and boards up to ride the glacier

St Mary’s Lake

St Mary's Lake

After one more night spent with my aunt and her family, I would hit the road back to Chicago.  It’s always a sad feeling to watch the Rocky Mountains fade away in my rear view mirror 🙁

For more pictures, click here!

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