(click pictures to enlarge)
(all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia 929 cell phone)
OK, the first thing is I'm not in Red Lodge anymore. I moved yesterday but since I've been so slow at posting, I'm a few days behind. Wait until you see what I came to see at Red Lodge, it was great. In fact it is probably in my top 5 places that I've been to and seen.
But first, I have some catch up from Yellowstone. It is hard to visit Yellowstone without learning about John Colter. I had read about him many years ago and it was nice to see the places he visited. It is said he was the first mountain man and the first white man to see Yellowstone. If he wasn't, he sure could have been because he lived quite a life. His life is like a combination of Jeremiah Johnson and Grizzly Adams.
Colter was born about 1775 in Virginia. When he was 28 years old, he met Meriwether Lewis of Lewis & Clark fame. Lewis was having the Corp of Discovery boats built in Pittsburgh when they met and Lewis was impressed by Colter's skills as a woodsman/hunter. He was hired as a private and paid $5.00/month (later on, he would have to sue for his back wages and only received a portion of what was due him).
During the years 1804 thru 1806 while with the Lewis & Clark team, Colter was often sent out ahead of the party to hunt and scout. It was said he was the best at it and often spent time alone away from the main party. While out scouting/hunting, Colter was usually the first to meet the local Indians. Chances are, he was also the first to see the Pacific Ocean while scouting the way.
In 1806 while on the return trip and at the Mandan Villages in present day North Dakota, Colter met two trappers headed west. Colter wanted to join them so he approached Lewis & Clark about an early discharge. They agreed, and while the main party was heading home, Colter was heading back in to the wild west. The partnership didn't last but a few months before the three men split up. It was now 1807 and Colter was again headed back east, this time though by himself. He was near the mouth of the Platte River, about a week from St. Louis, when he met up with a group of men heading west to set up a trading post. He joined them, and once again, turned around and headed back west.
During the years of 1807 and 1808, Colter explored the area around present day northeast Wyoming, western Montana and eastern Idaho. He traveled alone and spent most of his time in freezing temperatures at high elevations. He traveled through parts of what is now Yellowstone and when he returned, tried to describe what he saw. People didn't believe him when he spoke about geysers, steam vents, mudpots and hot springs. The area was called Colter's Hell because it sounded like something a crazy man would think.
The year was now 1809 and Colter is about 34 years old. He and another man are exploring an area where the Blackfeet Indians call home. The other man is killed and Colter is captured. The Blackfeet were looking for some fun so they stripped Colter naked, and gave him a head start running-for-his-life before a band of young braves started chasing him. After about 5 miles, he had outran all but one brave. He turned quickly, killed the Indian and took his blanket. The main group was still chasing him but he got far enough ahead that he was able to hide in a river. Some versions say he hid in a beaver lodge while other say he hid under a small group of trees floating on the river. Either way, he stayed hidden until nightfall when he swam downstream and away from the Blackfeet. Escaping from the Indians was only the first part of the story, the second part was he had to walk for 11 days with only a small blanket before he made it back to the trading post.
The next year, in 1810, Colter was out exploring with 2 other men. While Colter was away from camp, the Blackfeet Indian killed his two partners. That was apparently the last straw for Colter because he headed east after that event. Once he got back to St. Louis, he found William Clark and described to him what he had seen during his explorations. Clark added that information to the maps produced by the Lewis and Clark Expedition and was the most accurate description of the area for at least 75 years.
As if Colter had not had enough adventures, he joined up with Nathan Boone (Daniel Boone's 10th and last child). They fought during the War of 1812 as part of Boone's Rangers.
Colter died quietly in Missouri in the year 1813 at the age of 38. As children, we should have learned about his man in school. He led quite a life in a short number of years.
After seeing Old Faithful and the geyser fields on the first day I headed to The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. It is the canyon carved out by the Yellowstone River, complete with a set of waterfalls and some beautiful sights.
I've bored you with enough words, time for some pictures.
|A river runs through it,,,:)|
|Nice waterfall alongside the road|
|A steam vent and hot spring on the side|
of the road.
|Traffic backed up for miles due to|
some bison wandering on the road.
Not too fun but would be much worse
during the summertime with all of the
|Larger waterfall in the distance with the Yellowstone River|
|The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone|
|This was quite a contrast. The bare|
slopes of the canyon contrasted
with the bright green grass on top.
|Another look at the|
|Last look at the waterfall and Grand Canyon.|
|A big rock deposited there by an|
|Hmmm,, going down|
will be easy. Coming
back up, at nearly
10,000 foot elevation
will be harder. Yep, it
was worth it.
|There were benches along the way.|
I liked the gnarled old tree on the left.
|The view once you got to the bottom.|
|This is where I enjoyed by picnic lunch.|
It was quiet and peaceful. It would have
been better if I had packed a bologna
sandwich instead of turkey. Picky, picky
|I couldn't remember if I posted a picture|
of the campsite at West Yellowstone or not.