Mule Deer

Mule Deer

Annual September trip to the North Forty.

Phil managed to get enough vacation days to string together 9 days. It was Phil’s first extended visit since the house was finished last year. The 2 sofas had been delivered after my last visit out, so we had a nice comfy place to sit. It was a relief to see that they were the ones I had ordered.

So, now we have the big pieces of furniture in place. Next year, when the road is passable again, we will finish up with the smaller pieces and personal things.

We Are Connected!

We met the internet installer on Friday. We are now wired and connected! Hooked up to an “Apple TV” box, we were able to watch ESPN, CNBC (Squawk Box), and movies. It seemed a little weird. For the past 10 years, our trips were “offline” as we had no access to internet and even cell phone service was spotty.

Yellowstone National Park

Saturday morning, we packed up and drove to Yellowstone National Park. The Mammoth Hot Springs entrance (The Roosevelt Arch) of Yellowstone is 130 miles from the North Forty. Yellowstone is huge. We went in through Mammoth, around to Tower Falls, and out toward Cook City at the Northeast Entrance.  It was a short visit as our main destination for the day was Cook City.

Cooke City, MT

Just outside the Northeast Entrance of Yellowstone is the small, quaint, ISOLATED old mining town of Cooke City. It is nestled in a crease of the mountains, literally. There is barely enough room for main street. We stayed at the Super 8 where we got friendly service and a clean room. In a place so isolated with no cell service, we were pleasantly surprised that they had internet access in our room.

We ate dinner at the Beartooth Cafe a few doors down from the Super 8.  On the way to the cafe’ we kept seeing young women dressed in over the knee high heel boots, big hair and tight clothes going into a local saloon. We wondered it is was a REAL saloon. We didn’t investigate further.

Dinner was great. The cafe’ had over 100 types of beer on the menu. Go figure. In a place so small. We both ate Bison ribeye. It was yummy.

Beartooth Highway

Leaving Cooke City, we traveled along the Beartooth Highway, one of the National Scenic By-ways. The views were absolutely breathtaking. The Cooke City side was a bit rounded and the road was wide. We stopped at a few of the natural alpine lakes to take pictures. The water was deep blue and crystal clear.

Bear tooth Pass is the high spot – 10,947′ elev. After you get through the pass, the road curves around to a parking area at Rock Creek Vista Point – 9190′ elev. There are pit toilets and a manicured walk way leading out to the prominent point with a spectacular view. You can see a few of the glaciers that are still hanging around. Between the Pass and Rock Creek Point, you can see the “Bear’s Tooth.” I was really disappointed because this huge magnificent mountain range was named after that. It wasn’t really that big, nor was it prominent. It was, however, weird.

Between the pass and Rock Creek Point, is a chair lift. Apparently there is summer skiing here May through July.

After leaving Rock Creek Point, the road got scary. This is the steep side and the extremely narrow road was blasted out of the rock, twisting and turning it’s way down a road that seemed too steep for my nerves. So, we wound our way down and found ourselves in Red Lodge, MT.

Red Lodge MT

Red Lodge is a neat little town.  In keeping with our open mouth tourist personae, we bought a few T-shirts and ate lunch there before heading home.

Sacajawea Peak 2015

On Tuesday, we rode over the Bridge Mountains to hike up Sacajawea Peak. This has become one of our favorite hikes of all time.  It is relatively short but the elevation gives our cardiovascular system a lot of bang for the buck.


From Main St., Bozeman MT, take N. Rouse Ave.; merges into Bridger Canyon Dr. (MT 86). In about 21 mi., L onto Fairy Lake Rd., which dead-ends @ campground. Pass through campground to trailhead.

  • Elevation: 9665′ at Summit
  • Distance: 4.4 Miles RT
  • Elevation Change: 1955 feet
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

Hike Up Grassy Mountain

On Thursday, we set out to find the route to the top of Grassy Mountain from the Common Access Area on Mountain View Trail about .7 mile from the North Forty. We drove from our house, around the road to the access point.

Being rural Montana, local residents, if they use this trail at all, ride horses or 4 wheeler ATV’s. The grass had grown up a bit, but it was still easy to find how the trail followed the old roadbed all the way around to Grassy Mountain Road. We turned left and walked down the road about 1/4 mile to Forest Service Road, 583-B1 that runs all the way to the saddle at the top of Grassy. Walking the road wasn’t as easy as we thought. We were over 6,000′ high when we started climbing.

We were pooped when we got back to the car.  We couldn’t figure it out. We hike this distance and elevation gain regularly in North Carolina. The only variable is the Altitude.

It was a good hike close to home. This may turn out to be our “go to” workout hike in the future.

  • Elevation at Summit: 7687′
  • Elevation at Saddle: 7420′
  • Distance: 5.4 miles RT
  • Elevation Change: 1315′
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

Our Last Day – Full of Critter Sightings

Of course, our last day was spent hanging out around the house. We went into town and had dinner at the Branding Iron. On our drive home, just a couple hundred yards from the house, we spotted a bear. He wasn’t very big and was alone. Of course, I didn’t have my camera with me.

Then, almost immediately, a coyote ran in front of the car. He was fast. We got to the house and got the camera and walked back down the road to get pictures.  The bear and coyote were gone.

On the way out to the airport, we spotted a couple of snowshoe hares. They hadn’t turned completely white yet for the winter and they were smaller than others we had seen. As we crossed Mike Day Creek, we spotted a porcupine. He had just crossed the road and was waddling out into a field. It was the first time we had ever seen one in the wild.

The critter sightings were spontaneous and over with before any pictures were possible. but was a great way to end our trip.