Day 5 – Big Creek to Clearwater River

Overland Camping Roadtrip Blog

Travel Day 5:

Total km driven to date: 1890km

Total km walked to date: 37.4km

Big Creek, MT – Clearwater River, WY

233km drive

9km on foot

                Today was all about Yellowstone National Park and WOW is it a must see if you have never been, what an amazing place full of breathtaking scenery and tons of wildlife! We started our morning about 50km from the North Entrance to the park and made a quick stop along the Yellowstone River so Ax could take a bit of a swim. Then we fueled up in Gardiner right at the park entrance and paid our fee ($30 for a week pass). Within 300ft of the park entrance we saw a herd of Mule Deer drinking from the river…off to a good start! As you quickly climb to Mammoth Springs the landscape turns from desert into mountain pastures and forests, people and Rv’s everywhere so I headed right thru and off towards Tower-Roosevelt along the climbing mountain road. Stopping to see a few Pronghorn and some Bison doing what Bison do out in the pastures. Stopped at Undine Falls for a few pictures and scared the crap out of myself by climbing where I shouldn’t have for the perfect angle!

                The road kept climbing as I left Roosevelt towards Canyon Village. Up over the Dunraven Pass at 8950ft you could see for miles around and how the forest was coming back from the brutal wildfires that swept thru the park 20 years ago. Watching for groups of people stopped on the side of the road was a good indication of animals nearby and I got some great pictures of some sheep climbing the cliffs high over the road. Once in Canyon Village I climbed the steep winding path down to the lookout over the Lower Falls at 308ft tall it was amazing to see. On my climb back up to the truck I could really feel the thin air (as did all the people stopped sitting on the ground on the sides of the trail….try it with 20lbs of camera gear!)

                From Canyon Village I decided that I needed to do a second day in the park since it was already 4pm and there was still so much to see. Since all the in park campsites were fully booked I decided to head down to Lake Village and out the East Entrance of the park to spend the night in the Shoshone National Forest…Bear country! I followed the Yellowstone River down seeing numerous Bison on the roadside, the landscape very “park” like with patches of trees and rolling hills of short grass. As I came around the corner and saw Yellowstone Lake I was shocked, what a huge and unexpected body of water up in the mountains at 7700ft above sea level. Stretching into the distance the lake is 20miles long and 14 miles wide and over 400ft deep.

                As I travelled towards the East Entrance the landscape became more desolate, dead trees everywhere, not sure if it was from the fire or some other blight but the forests were ghostly, decaying relics as far as the eye could see. The traffic was substantially less on this road and I saw no wildlife on the rest of my trip out of the park. Once outside of the park I saw numerous signs warning of Grizzly Bears and no camping in soft sided tents/campers etc. Since half of my house is made of canvas I headed about 20km out of the park and found a nice spot on the Clearwater River for the night. After finishing dinner I was treated with an amazing sunset over the sandy cliffs. What a great day! Can’t wait to head thru the park tomorrow and out the West Entrance. Old Faithful is on my agenda, so is hopefully seeing some Grizzly Bear and Elk since I did not see any today. It’s now 10:30pm and time to edit some photos before hopefully getting some star shots over the beautiful hillsides.

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