Part 14: Cody, WY to Bear Tooth Mountains, MT


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The Trip

We spent several days in Cody, WY with our friends Bob and Sandy.  They have a nice place on the South Fork of the Shoshone River.  While at the ranch, we generally chilled out and did a few chores.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

There is plenty of game around the ranch.  From our bedroom window, I spotted a herd of deer that were lounging under the pine trees near the rear of the house.  I attempted to sneak around the house to get a photo, but I think their ears are better than my best stealth mode.  When they heard me come close to the corner, they bolted.

The South Fork of the Shoshone River as seen from the living room.  The snow-covered Absaroka Range is visible in the distance.

In the hay field to the north, this elk cow was chowing down.  But, something has her spooked, she is on the lookout for something and I doubt it was us.  We were hundreds of meters away and downwind.  She eventually bolted and jumped over the fence en-route to the brush by the river bank.

The old west is alive in Cody, WY.  We went into town for some supplies and shopping and got tied up in a traffic jam, Wyoming style.  One of the ranchers was driving cattle to an alternate grazing area and the road was the most expedient way of meeting the goal.

Just like the last time we visited Bob and Sandy, we discovered some equipment failure just as we were departing.  Kathleen spotted this cabinet that was falling apart. So, we went to Bob's shop and borrowed a drill and some screws.  We mixed up some JB Weld, slathered it in sauce and screwed it back together.  We have been chasing cabinet failures in the camper since we purchased it.  To put it nicely, it was "economically" built, but not off-road robust.

Bob's 416 DOKA camper is for sale.  This rig is very capable: it went up the Moab Rim and many of the other hard-core trails.  If you are interested in his Unimog for sale, email him at "newsome at codyice dot com".

We headed north out of Cody and followed the Chief Joseph trail and passed these nice red cliffs.

As we ascended Dead Indian Pass, we could see the green grass punctuated by the spring flowers.

Near the top of the ridge, we could see south toward Cody.

From Dead Indian Pass, we got a commanding view of the Sunlight Basin.  Note the switchbacks on our path.

To the northwest in the basin a steep canyon carved into the volcanic rock by Sunlight Creek was visible.

When we got to the bottom of the Sunlight Basin, we found a dirt road and found a place to camp.

Dead Indian Creek was right next to our camp. 

It was a bit breezy overnight, but the following morning was clear and calm.  From Dead Indian Creek, large cliffs were visible to the west.

The shot above was taken from Sunlight Creek bridge.  The creek carved a remarkable canyon into the volcanic strata.

From the bridge parking area, the uplift and erosion of the formations to the east were visible.

We followed the Clark Fork river toward the Beartooth Mountains.  The formations in the Beartooths have eroded to huge castles and steep canyons.

As we got higher, we got better views of the snow capped ridges of the Beartooth Range.

This formation is called Cathedral Cliffs.

Some of the peaks in the area were truly remarkable.  This one reminds me of the Matterhorn in Switzerland.

There were a number of pull-outs that provided great views of the mountains and valleys.  I believe this is Jim Smith peak at just over 10,000 feet.

Some of the views were breathtaking.

Beartooth lake in the foreground with Beartooth Butte in the distance.

The top of Beartooth Pass is almost 11,000 feet and has only been open a few days.  They still had a number of snow cutters stationed along the road.

The pass took our breath away, both literally and figuratively.  At 11,000 feet you will get out of breath quickly.

We passed into Montana and started down the other side of the Beartooth Range and got a look at this glaciated valley.  Note the dirt road at the bottom of the canyon.  We found a camp site off that road a bit later in the afternoon.

Beartooth Peak.

Lakes near the pass were still frozen.

Our camp for the evening would be on the river side of the dirt road at the bottom of the canyon.

That creek at the bottom of the canyon cuts like a saw.

The road that descended into the canyon was steep and narrow with many tight switchbacks.

En-route to our remote camp, we came upon a camp fire that someone had left unattended,  So, we put it out.  It is not good form to depart a camp with a fire still burning.

Our camp was on the banks of Rock Creek at the bottom of the canyon.  One of the switchbacks on the road is visible at the upper right of the photo above.

Beartooth Pass was awesome and one of the most dramatic drives we have had so far on this trip.  We will surely do it again when we return to this area.  Tomorrow, we will continue north further into Montana.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2013, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.