Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Weather Changes Plans

(Travelog Sept-Oct 2019)

Our drive across Wisconsin and Minnesota takes only a day, but arriving at our planned stop in North Dakota we discover a tornado warning. The park ranger asks us to move into the bathroom if the siren sounds. The warning includes baseball-sized hail. 

Icelandic State Park ND
The thought balloon seems to hatch simultaneously over both our heads as we imagine hail shattering the solar panels on top of the van. 

 We decide to drive west away from the storm until the tornado warning expires. On the way back to the campground a quick Internet search reveals that solar panels can withstand a lot more than a little hail.

The storm clouds make dramatic scenery in the sky.

Our first exploring destination was to have been the Missouri Breaks in Montana. Was to have been changes because eastern Montana has been getting lots of rain. The roads in the breaks are one-lane dirt roads. Even as we attempt to camp on the edge of the breaks, we are slipping around as if the steering wheel is disconnected. 

 Alex positions us on a scrap of prairie grass that provides some grippiness for the night. The first exit from the van reveals…that we are parked more-or-less parallel under he huge arc of the Milky Way. There are no city lights out here to dim its brilliance.

Yellowstone River

On our way to explore a couple of lovely canyons in the Beartooth-Absaroka Wilderness, we are able to confirm that grasshoppers are still hopping.

We spend a week Q-camping, hiking, fishing and just breathing the gorgeous mountain air.

Rosebud Lake

View from the campground (where we are the only campers).

From our camp near Rosebud Lake, we hike to Elk Lake and see one of my favorite birds, the Water Ouzel.
Photo credit: Big Sky Journal

Water Ouzel (Follow the link to see this delightful bird in action.)

Photo credit to Alex for mountain goating to get this amazing photo a waterfall on Rosebud Creek. We laugh remembering one comment we read about Michigan’s 200 waterfalls, “…some are no more than rapids.”

Q-camp on the Boulder River (MT)
Elk Creek near Independence

Here we are again the only campers in sight - and grasshoppers all around!  This canyon is a little west of the one from which Rosebud Creek flows.  The top of this canyon (Boulder River) is Independence, once a mining site.  The canyon was once devastated by mining.  It is now gorgeous.

Weather warnings encourage us to change plans to find our way further south.  

After a soak at Chico Hot Springs we head to camp at Bear Creek Campground where the elevation of 6350 feet is enough reason for it to be chilly.  Not visible in the photo is the drizzling rain.  

As a crow flies we aren't very far from Redbud and Boulder Creeks to the east and right over there (south) is Yellowstone National Park!

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