Day 6 – Clearwater River to Rexburg

Overland Camping Roadtrip Blog

Travel Day 6:

Total km driven to date: 2274km

Total km walked to date: 47.7km

Clearwater, MT – Rexburg, ID

384km drive

10.3km on foot

                Today started off much the same way, with Axel wanting to go out to pee at 5:30am. I should probably be getting up at that time but when you’re not in a hurry it just seems wrong to get up that early! After a quick pee it was back in bed till 8am at which time I got up and made breakfast and coffee (Oatmeal and Fruit in case you’re wondering, no splurging for us, we’re on a strict budget). We got on the road back into Yellowstone by 9:30 and did the once more depressing drive thru the dead forest that is East Yellowstone. Today we pulled to the top of the Lake Butte Overlook to check out the lake and take a few pictures. We hiked up thru the dead trees above the parking area and Axel started to struggle with the thin air at 8350ft after 20min. We called it good enough at that point and took a few pictures and headed back down to the truck.

                After leaving the Overlook we headed down the west side of Yellowstone Lake with the plan to head thru West Thumb and on to Old Faithful. The scenery around the lake is nice but very few animals to be seen, unless you count Yellowstone’s most numerous mammal the Yoga Pants wearing sporty girl. Unfortunately I did not take any pictures so you’ll just have to use your imagination on that one. Random thought while on the road…..if you get an annual pass to Yellowstone are you considered a Yellowstoner? Bad joke I know, but the only one I’ve had to talk to for 6 days is Axel and HE thinks I’m hilarious. After 35km along the lake we get to our turn and what do we see…a road closed sign, bridge out…that would have been really nice to know before we ventured all the way down this way. So it was time to turn around and trace our path back along the lake. Maybe it’s because I am used to large bodies of water but the whole Yellowstone Lake was a bit of a letdown. If you decide to make the trip I recommend the North end of the park, that’s where all the amazing scenery and wildlife seem to be. With a well over 90km detour back around the lake and past the Canyon Village I was excited to see some Bison right beside the road that I could take some pictures of. In fact the big old guy came up and almost leaned on my camper on his way by then sauntered down the middle of the road causing traffic jams and countless cell phone photos from other people. Back in the truck and not even 5min down the road we came upon some large Elk having lunch and I got some great pics of them as well.

                After that it was a pretty straight shot out of the park by the West Entrance. I decided not to go see Old Faithful since honestly water shooting out of a patch of muddy ground with hundreds of people standing around doesn’t sound like a great photo-op to me. The west side of the park was devastated by fire in 1988 and while the forest is coming back the trees are all only 20ish feet tall so it is not as impressive as Im sure it was in 1987. After we left the park we swung by McD’s again to abuse their WiFi and plan a direction for the night. Heading south was the only goal so I settled on US HWY 20 figuring we could find a place along the way for the night. After about an hour of driving I spotted a little road called Little Butte Rd in the middle of the Targhee National Forest. It looked promising so we pulled off and about 2km down the road found a nice little pull off to spend the night. We went for a walk down Little Butte for about an hour and saw absolutely nothing, no streams, no hills, nothing, just a hot forest with small pine trees. I’m a little disappointed Idaho. Back at the camper we settled in and I began typing out this post at about 6:30, it was 28* and muggy so I had all the screens open on the camper. Well Idaho decided to punish me for my trash talk earlier and teach me some lessons in pine forest ecology. In a span of 30 seconds the calm muggy day turned into a crazy windstorm and guess what happens in a pine forest in June in a windstorm? Treegasams EVERYWHERE, you could barely see outside it was so yellow with all of the tree cum (pollen) and of course with the screens open my entire world filled with a nice sticky yellow dust. Joy. Good thing I have no pollen allergies or I would have had a seizure right there in the forest. Decision was made, packed up camp in record time and got the hell out of Targhee, I didnt want to do it but the Rexburg, Idaho Walmart parking lot was sounding awful good at that point. So another hour in the truck and now we are tucked away in another parking lot feasting on cheap, sodium filled snacks with no pants on….because #Murica. Only a 7hr drive left to get to Rangely and have 3 days to do it, so tomorrow is a new adventure. Oh and as you can see by the picture, Axel is not too stoked on the whole turn of events!

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