Our journey continues as we left Helena early this morning and traveling south in our motor-coach on U.S. Route 12.
We stopped at the Montana Wheat Bakery and enjoyed huge cinnamon rolls, for a mid-morning snack. The stop was very refreshing, and we continued toward the three rivers split, just as Lewis and Clark did, looking for the head waters of the Missouri River.
Confronted with three equal contributory rivers, Lewis named each after the three men most responsible for their expedition. President Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin.
For the next several hours, we follow one or the other of these rivers, crossing them and continuing up narrowing canyon passes to the source waters. Along the way, we pass white water rafters, fly fishermen and wildlife as well as steep rock slopes.
For a few moments, we leave Montana and swerve into Wyoming as the roadway follows the river bed and enters West Yellowstone. This is a small boom town outside the park, near the west entrance. It is the busiest and most popular of the various entrances.
We shopped a bit and had lunch, before watching a spectacular Imax movie about the history of Yellowstone.
Having shopped and prepared for the busy day tomorrow, we scouted more of the town and learned of the various fires that have threatened and damaged it over the decades since the start of the last century. This also includes an earthquake in 1959 that ended rail traffic into the park. Having been through a 7.8 in Hawaii, I can only imagine what the 7.5 quake in the middle of the night must have felt.
But this has to be expected because the entire park is a volcanic caldera. The secret power of Yellowstone is the magma below the surface, which helps to fire the geysers and mud-pots.
But we are all excited for a full day tomorrow in the park before moving on to Jackson Hole and the Tetons. More later.