September 4, 2013 Red Mountain BLM Campground

A short move over to Bear Trap Road BLM Campground

Got up early and decided to move across the highway to another BLM campground on BearTrap Road. There I can orientate the motorhome facing east to help a little with the afternoon heat problem ( it has been in the lower 90’s every day but one for the two weeks I have been in Montana ). Because of the unanticipated expense of repairing the jack system and tomorrow’s window replacement, I am cutting back on campground expenses by only staying at BLM campsites at $4/night vs. private sites at $35/night. The only problem with this is the persistent heat since I can’t run the AC when on a primitive site and the afternoons have been pretty much intolerable, although once the sun goes down, it does cool off quite quickly.

While walking around the new campground with the dogs, I watched a mature bald eagle swoop down into the Madison River. Where he landed was obscurred by the river bank, so I quickly walked down to the river’s edge and could see him on a gravel bar on the far side of the river dining on a fish. Needless to say, I did not have my camera and big lens with me since I was just walking the dogs, so no pictures, but kind of neat to watch anyhow.

Early morning on the Madison River
Early morning on the Madison River

To avoid the heat today ( 90’s predicted again ),I figured I would do an all day run in the air-conditioned car to check out the northwest route into Yellowstone so there wouldn’t be any nasty surprises for the motorhome’s trip into the park. I also thought I would explore the alternate route down the Yellowstone River Valley, route 540, and a couple of the national forest campgrounds along the way.

Yellowstone River Valley
Yellowstone River Valley
Threatening skies over the Yellowstone Valley
Threatening skies over the Yellowstone Valley

 

 

 

 

 

 

Didn’t really see that much that caught my eye, more farmland, cows and horses, with a few mule deer grazing in the alfalfa fields. Stopped short of the north entrance to the park and came back up 89 to Livingston. Looks like a pretty interesting little town meriting a trip there to explore the downtown area and its galleries one day, but not today, too HOT!

Jenny and Sam exploring above the Yellowstone River
Jenny and Sam exploring above the Yellowstone River

Stopped at a Montana Fish and Game campground on the banks of the Yellowstone River right on 89 and drop in to investigate.There are 3 or 4 nice sites on the rivers edge and several more sites away from the river. Probably a nice overnight spot for the future.

Early morning on the Madison River
Early morning on the Madison River

 

September 3, 2013 Moving day

Palisades BLM campground to Red Mountain BLM campground

SmallRV andToadMooseMoved this morning about 35 miles north from my BLM site at Palisades to the Red Mountain BLM campground on the banks of the Madison, 8 miles east of Norris on 84. I wanted to get closer to Bozeman to find a solution to my missing window, and that would be the only likely place I will find a glass shop that might be able to make the repair. Since I had no Verizon coverage whatsoever at the Palisades site, I stopped at the grocery store parking lot in Ennis and got the IMac out to get on the internet and search out glass shops in Bozeman. I found 2 shops that looked look they may be able to help.

After getting set up on Site 7 at Red Mountain, right on the banks of the Madison, but really not that attractive a campground, no “it” factor, I hopped in the car and headed to Bozeman. Easily found the Glass Doctor and spoke with a helpful young man at the front desk. He seemed to understand what I was looking for, said they could cut laminated glass with rounded corners, had it in stock, and was familiar with the type of window frame I had and set me up an appointment for Thursday at 11 AM. Looks like kind of a tight fit to get the motorhome into their lot, and they are on a very busy business highway, but he assured me they can get me in there. His estimate is around $220 which seems a fair price I can live with.

Returned to my campsite around noon but just couldn’t take the heat anymore by 2PM. Loaded the dogs in the car, turned on the AC, and set out to go explore around Pony, according to the Montana Road Map, a ghost town up in the mountains. Turns out there are a few old buildings in Pony, but it mostly is just another small backwater, rather rundown town whose best days are obviously behind it.

Abandoned Montana barn
Abandoned Montana barn
Abandoned Montana farmhouse
Abandoned Montana farmhouse

 

 

 

 

 

However, there were a couple of dirt roads leading out of town and up into the mountains to National Forest lands and campgrounds and so up I went. By the time I reached the end of the road, I had gained enough elevation to have the temperature drop from 94 degrees to 74 degrees, just what I was looking for. Although the roads looked like they should have led to some wildlife sitings, all I got for my efforts was a very dusty car and heat relief, though I did see 4 good sized piles of bear scat in the road, just no bear scat depositor.

Mule deer doe and fawn
Mule deer doe
A pair of pronghorn
A pair of pronghorn

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did see a few mule deer and a small herd of Pronghorns as I took a shortcut along a dirt road through farmland from Pony back to route 287. Got back home around 6:30 and it was still hot. This was one evening it did not seem to cool down so quickly, but a thunderstorm around 8 PM finally did the trick.

Montana farmland
Montana farmland
Montana farmland
Montana farmland
A pronghorn and his harem
A pronghorn and his harem
Camera shy pronghorns
Camera shy pronghorns

September 2, 2013 Palisades BLM Campground

A day of rest

View of fisherman through RV windshield
Watching the action in comfort
Fish on!
Fish on!
The end of the fight, guide nets trout
The end of the fight

 

Madison River Trout
Madison River Trout

 

Guide measures trout
Seventeen and three quarters inches says the guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never left the campsite today, just sat back and watched fisherman, finally actually watched someone catch something, and read all day, enjoying the cloud cover that kept a lid on temperatures for the first time in days. It stayed very comfortable all day with the breeze blowing and the sun peeking through only occasionally. By late afternoon, the few other campers that have been here were packed up and gone, leaving the entire campground to me. This has been one of the most peaceful spots I have ever stayed, definitely has the “it” factor going for it, no road noise, wide, level sites, spaced far apart for privacy, clean, well kept, with the river 30 feet in front of your site and the imposing bluff on the opposite shore where eagles and ospreys perch.

Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey

 

September 1, 2013 Palisades BLM Campground

More ospreys and a trip up Johnny Ridge Road

Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey

 

Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey

 

I just had to go and sit with the ospreys again early this morning, then back home to read and watch the fisherman go by. The heat got be too much by 2 pm so, having explored the east side of the valley yesterday afternoon, I headed out to explore the west side today.

 

The Yellowstone talc mine
The Yellowstone talc mine

Headed up the side road to the Yellowstone Talc Mine and the national forest road beyond the mine. The road up through the national forest was a little narrow but in reasonably good shape. I managed to climb up almost to the top of Johnny Ridge Road, around 10 miles in, before being stopped by a waterbar too high for my extremely low clearance Prius. The temperature dropped from 91 degrees at the campsite to 73 degrees at the top of the mountain. Unfortunately, as I descended, the temperature, of course, rose. Seemed like I should have seen some deer or elk, or something on this road, but nothing was seen.

Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Breakfast is served

 

 

 

 

 

Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey

 

 

 

 

 

Madison River Osprey
Madison River Osprey
Two Madison River Juvenile Ospreys
Two Madison River Juvenile Ospreys
Madison River Osprey bringing fish to nest
Madison River Osprey