Friday, September 9, 2011
The Beartooth Highway - Part 1
After leaving Red Lodge, we headed west to the Beartooth Scenic Highway which stretches over parts of Montana and Wyoming. This is one of the most amazing drives in North America and touches almost 11,000' in altitude. We had traveled this road one other time and really looked forward to a repeat trip.
This is magnificent territory and offers stunning vistas around each turn. Named for the Beartooth Mountains, the drive is considered to be one of the most scenic in the country and is the gateway to the north entrance of Yellowstone Park.
The town of Red Lodge is at about 5,500' in altitude, so there is quite a bit of climbing to do on the Beartooth. As we approached the top, we came to Vista Point which provided a fabulous view of the area.
Orinda enjoyed the narrow walkway out to the end of the point, but did not like looking down as the drop was very steep. We also noticed that at 9,100', the air was pretty thin.
This little guy was in the same tree and filling his cheeks as fast as he could with the pine nuts. He was fun to watch and seemed to enjoy the audience. I suspect that in a few weeks, it will be pretty cold up here and the squirrel will enjoy his cache of nuts.
Sure enough, a couple miles later, we began to see these snow poles next to the side of the road. The tops of these had to be about 10' - yikes, no wonder they close the road in a few weeks. We also noticed that the road is not open during the night and after driving the hairpin curves, we could understand why.