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Trip Report Back for 3 weeks in Yellowstone/Glacier for the french family

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This year, I've time for the trip report. It was our third time in Y/G with our now 17y old teenager and her parents.She has no need now for cellphone, internet,...and all that she wants is nature and wildlife...It was the last holiday before she begans university and so the "flavor" for her and us was particular as she is now 60 miles from home, back only 1 week end every two...

Saturday, July the 23rd
Our arrival was at Billings via Salt Lake City, from Paris, flights Delta. It's very useful, but it will be better the day they decide to use an update aeroplane : 12 hours with common TV for the moovies it's long, long...and also perhaps to upgrade the meal : how could they arrive to this worst...It's a mistery...
At SLC, organisation is on top with a file at passport for the one with connecting flights and a file for the one who end their trip here and so even with only 80 mn of time to connect all was done.
From Billings, arriving at 5'10 pm we take our car(a full SUV Dodge Durango by Alamo) and drive to Cody.
Some workroad and so a little longer than expected but nothing really wrong.

In Cody, we slept for 2 nights at the Cody Cow Boy Village, and we've got a suite at the rear and so quiet, "far" from highway and rooms separate by a door(easier for our daughter).We take a quik shower and drive to "downtown" for a diner at Irma's...
Not bad : basic steakhouse-type appetizers and entree, nice decor and atmosphere, a real change between France and West(bison's and moose's head, bar,... you can't ignore Buffalo Bill was part of Cody...and Irma...). We do a little promenade after diner and back to our suite to a good night...

Sunday, July the 24th.
We let Salome sleep longer than us and go for a breakfast just across the road from Cody CBV : we like those kind of "family" snack : often I take the basic breakfast(eggs, potatoes, white toast, ham or sausage) and Anny find some homemade pies. Coffee is american...
After, with Salome, direct to the supermarket : we buy our coolers, and the food for our day hikes(fruits can, chicken breast cans, tuna, bread, cereals,...and the drinks : water, ice tea,..), without forgeting the pharmacy and bearspray(we've one from last year but decide to have two this year.).It has not been so difficult to organise the car as it was large enough...with one of the cooler on one of the rear seats...We buy also some moovies for Salome for the previsible long drive during the transition between parks...
It was time to visit downtown and to do a little "shopping"(some "antiques" and particulary for me some old "coca's" artifacts and for Anny some old medicine artifacts)
and it was time for the lunch at Wyoming's rib and chop house : good meal, nice beer for me, nice wine for Anny. Steak was excellent and the rib also. Only the decor was
too classic(perhaps too basic after the Irma ??).
It was time to walk to the Buffalo Bill historical center : what a gem...We have a lot of "fun" here for 3 hours and 30 mn...without the "gun" wing as we are not really interested by arms and there were enough in the Buffalo Bill section...
So we do BB section, indian wing, art museum(for the Russel, Remington..) and the Yellowstone "experience" plus the garden.
We learn a lot...We walk a little more in town before driving back to hotel for a little rest before going to the rodeo.It's a short walk from hotel.
We were a little dispapointed by the Cody rodeo : clown not very funny, only 2 bulls rider, 3 bronco riders...It was from far the less interesting rodeo we do( Gallup during the intertribal ceremony, Tucson during the fear, Deadwood the 76's rodeo but also the daily rodeo ,in Durango...).The attraction was a circus numero by 3 small girls , very impressive but nothing to do in a rodeo... so we quite before the end.

Monday, July the 25th.
Direction Yellowstone.
We decide to hike outside the park for that day and we choose Kitty Creek to Flora Lake, 13 miles out and back.
It is not so easy with a nice "denivelation"; we arrive quite at the lake but have to renonce because it was too muddy and the last 1/3 mile was too buggy...We search for a lot of detour but the only one should have been in the forest, really "off trail" and so by precaution in bear country we preferr to go back.The scenery on the trail is nice with alternance of meadows and woods, and we see effectively a lot of snow on the slopes(which explains the quality of the trail at its end..).During our search weather has changed and 5 mn after we were back in car...Thunderstorm for 20 mn and not a little...a
great one as I've to stop for 5 mn as rain was too heavy to drive safely...Finally it has been a chance not to end our hike(not the last time circumstances will be fine for us...).
In Yellowstone for the 3 first nights we return to Lake Lodge cabins, the motel units : it's calm, quiet, large and clean.There is a coffee or infusion maker in each room. Don't forget the "bear's soap"...Price is a little high but I think it's worth the price.
Wildlife is present here(bisons on the meadows to the Lakeshore and sometimes between the cabins, deers, squirrels,...) .
Sunrise and Sunset on the Lake are a must to see and the walk to Lakeshores is nice to do. The cocktail bar in the main lodge do nice drinks to take on the terrace.We take the option to dine twice at Lake Yellowstone hotel dining room and decide to see with our programm where to eat the other evening.
The cafetaria is not so bad for breakfast but for dining it's a self and so decide to skip it this year, even if the view is terrific and the room impressive.
That first night we dine so at Lk Yellowstone hotel. Not bad(good caesar and crabcakes, nice bisons and salmon) but...we were near a pilar where was a "deserving" tray...and that tray has not been removed for 45 mln with all those empty plates and trash coming from the other tables...It was sort of competition at who will not take the tray to the wash machine...Not a nice view...As tip is not automatically calculate we give a medium one and explain that to our server...It argue that we have to ask for the deserving...we didn't well understand...Back to rooms( for all the rest of the trip Salome has her one room) and a nice night to sleep..

To be continued

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    Wow!!! Three time from France to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons!!!

    I've been once and trying to fit in another trip.

    Great start to the trip.

    More of the trip, please.

    Any chance to see photos?

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    3 times and more as we plan Glacier/Swan valley next year and Yellowstone/Grand Teton in 2013...There are so much hikes to do there that we have more times at disposition than possibilities...
    Pictures would be on line next week when I have time to do the selection.

    Tuesday, July the 26th.
    We hike the Lewis Channel/Shoshone Lake/Dogshead trail : it's a loop,11 miles, some rolling parts but no real denivelation.
    The hike follows the Lewis Lk at its begining, nice views and Lk not so far.There are some ponds but no mooses this day.
    After, the hike follows the chanel and so it's possible to see fishmen, canoing,...Shoshone Lk is impressive(the largest Lk in US you could reach only by feet...).The water's T° was ...cold and so Anny didn't swim...(there was also some wind...).We stop on the Lkshore for one hour to pic nic, relax,...and back by Dogshead trail.The scenery is different : woods, forest, no creek but some ponds, meadows(we see some deers) and finally an old service road and back to trailhead.
    As we hike faster than expected, we had time and so we drive to Grant village as Anny want to find new hiking shoes(the one she have hurt her feet). The location is not so bad(but we prefer Lake Lodge), the store is correct, but no shoes in her size.So after discussion, we decide to change ourselves and to drive to Canyon(there is a sport store ) and to have a diner at Canyon Lodge restaurant...
    The Hayden valley is always impressive but only a few bisons here(but very large bull elks : 2 and we never saw so big bull elks before) and the portion near southrim not allowed to stop(due to the July's bear's accident).
    The general store in Canyon is definitively the top in the park in quality and choice. Anny finds at the sportstore her shoes and so we can have our diner : menu was less attractive than last year but not bad : bison ravioli were good, the stuffed trout of nice quality, and the mushroom's appetizer good...Good choice of beers and white wines by glass, but another problem with the service...Anny and I had the salad bar with our entrees and Salome takes appetizer(mushroom) and the ravioli...We ate, Anny and I our salad slowly and slowly but no appetizer for Salome(it's coming soon they said..).
    In fact all the entrees and appetizer arrive together...So it was for Salome impossible to eat all warm and when I begin to eat my ravioli, they were...cold...We think they forgot something and they try to put all together...
    Finally they take back both ravioli and we had them when Salome finish her appetizer..
    Anny ate during this time the trout and so we don't eat together...It will not be the last service problem this year in Yellowstone and in fact we have found that if hotel quality and service were equal, the quality of food in general good, the service in restaurant was not at the top...
    It seems there are less student and the waiters seem less involved in their work...So we adjust our tips and often the $$ we didn't give one day was given to others...
    Then, back to Lk Lodge, no wild life on road during the night and a good sleep.

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    This is a very interesting trip report. Thanks.

    Somehow I'm going to have to plan another trip to YNP & GTNP. I'm having trouble finding somebody to go with. My wife has very little interest in that type of trip.

    Glacier is on my list but the season if very short.

    I went to Banff with my wife in the middle of July. You can see my travel photos at:

    www.travelwalks.com

    While in Banff I saw a trailer belonging to a French family from Quebec. They have a web site on the back of the trailer.

    www.lessixpiafs.com

    What a trip they're on!!!!
    Across Canada, then thru the U.S. and down to South america.

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    Wednesday, July the 27th.
    The plan was Howard Eaton trail from Fishbridge to where it will be time to picnic...
    But we have to change as the trail was closed due to the bear attack of early July.
    We decide to return to Pelican valley.Nice trail(you decid how long you can or want to hike...7 to 10 miles or more) , light denivelation, light traffic at 9 am(not allowed to hike earlier).Some deers in the forest, then a large herd of elk with "giant" bull elk in the meadows before the "mudpot".
    We follow the creek and were able to see a lot of bisons, but this year no bison to partage the trail like last year(we have to make some detours..), a grizzly bear far on the slopes across the creek and also a black bear.
    When the trail quites the creek in direction of the ranger's cabin, there were a lot of bisons but far, on the other side.
    (Much more bisons than last year...).We picnic in meadows under the cabin, take a nice relax before hiking back to trailhead.
    On the way back we do Stormpoint(2.5 miles), the loop, counterclockwise(seems to me better as you began by the woods and on the way back ,following the lakeshore and then indian pond ). The scenery at Stormpoint is fantastic. The colony of "red marmott" pleasant to see.Anny didn't resist to put her feets in the lake but very cold water!!!
    Back to Lake Lodge, a cocktail on the rocking chair and back to Lk Yellowstone hotel for our 2nd diner here.
    Nice meal(spinash salad, smoked salmon,crab cakes, bison tenderloin, mini game burgers, beer and wine) and very good service. It was perfect to end our sejour in this part of the park.The shop here has nice jewel department.

    Thursday, July the 28th.
    Trail's choice was Shoshone Lake by DeLacy Creek, hoping to follow Lake shore to the ranger's cabin.
    First part of trail is alternance of forest , meadows, ponds with sometimes some mosquitos...(near dormant water...and the insect repelant is not always...efficient!!).No moose or coyotes but a lot of "cranes", large enough to be seen without binoculars!
    Shoshone Lk seems totally different from this "north" shore.
    We do a little halt, small snack and try to find the way to the cabin...One hour and a half after, some creek's crossing on dead trunk, some off trail try...and we have to accept our unability to find the way...Back to trailhead with a lot of times...
    Only 6 miles +/- 1.5 miles during the search...
    And so, back to Lone Star Geyser trail : easy, no denivelation , along the creek,but only a few shade,5 miles out and back and no way to know if you will be at time for eruption before being at the geyser...By chance this year only 40 mn to wait and a long and big eruption...
    Back to car and drive to Old Snow, for 2 nights in cabins(quiet, large, clean, coffee and infusion makers, large bathroom) : no "scenery" but no turists...only the one who sleep here...
    Anny and I were not stuffed by our hikes and we go to Obervation Point, Solitary geyser and back to Old faithfull, 2-2.2 miles and we were lucky to see Old faithfull eruption from Observation point.
    It was time to have a diner at Obsidian room : we were a little disappointed as the bison backribs were no more part of the menu...and no trout , only salmon...
    So good meals but no very good...Nice Elk burger, very good prim rib, good salmon(but "banal"...) very nice caldera dessert(a chocolat cake). Very nice beer(the local choice is varied) and a good white wine.
    Problem here was the service : our feminine server put our entree's plates without deserving the appetizers plates and began to do the same for desserts. As we ask for a clean table for our desserts she was surprised...and ask why!!!
    Tip has been in relation and we hope this will be a good lesson for her!!!
    After diner, walk to Old Faithful, but very small eruption(in fact for this first day we find Oldfaithful...tired in lenght and size..).We walk then to Grand Geyser and we saw it erupted, but night was there and the show was a little dark...

    Thursday, July the 28th.
    Today's hike : Mallard Lk and then loop by Mallard creek trail, 12 miles.We've been alone for the whole day till jonction with Geyser basin. The first part is climbing, not too heavy with some nice views on the basin. Then, you climb to a pass, rocky to arrive at the jonction with Creek's trail. We go before to Mallard lake : very blue, but cold and this day windy. We halt for half an hour, a snack and back to the trail.Mallard creek trail is "rolling hills " for a while , an hill after another , but with nice views on the park...in a burned area...
    We pic nic just before the descent to the trailhead.
    Then , the trail is called Hightension trail, as you follow the highline...not difficult but road is very closed...It's 1.5 miles not too pleasant.Then some pools and you arrive at Geyser basin.We walk back to Grand Geyser and decide to wait for the eruption(the precision is wide...+/- 3 hours...) and we have to wait... 1h50...but show worth the wait...It's long, big and there is a lot to see(the grand geyser itself but also the satellites...).
    Then back to hotel with a stop at the shops!!!
    Second diner at Obsidian ...and the special today was the...bison backribs!So nice diner and a service of quality!

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    May I make a suggestion.

    Send an email to Fodors asking them to add a Wyoming tag to your report.

    All of GTNP and almost all of YNP are in Wyoming and very few people are reading it or seeing it for that reason.

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    Thank you, Monpetit, for doing this trip report. Even though we live just a few hours away from both parks, we rarely take the time to go there. Your report has inspired me to plan a few days there sometime this month, before everything closes. I'll use your report to help decide on some hiking trails and some places to eat. I think we will try to camp. Thanks again for a very nice, detailed report.

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    For Myer, I've a long hesitation before tagging in Montana but our trip is 1/3 Wyoming(Yellowstone) and 2/3 Montana(Glacier and around Missoula...).

    Friday, July the 30th?
    After check out at Old Snow, direction north to Mammoth Hot Springs.
    Today's hike plan was Nez Perce creek and after joining Mary Mountain walk till 1 pm and back.
    The beginning of Nez perce is scenery along the creek and after 1 mile, there is some thermal activities with several pools...We explore them and decide to continue but just before jonction with Mary Mountain trail Salome saw a carcass-a deer's carcass halfeated- and so direction trailhead, by precaution.Carcass is one of the 2 things(with cubs...)that you have to take really seriously while hiking in bear's country...Detour or immediatly back to trailhead- and that what we do.Then, we drive to the next ranger station to signale it...
    So we have to change the plan and the first trail have been Monument Geyser basin.4 miles out and back flat for 2/3 and then 500 feet in half mile...You just need to hike calm and you do it.Very nice view on Gibbon meadows.The Geyser basin itself is of small activity : some mudpots, smoke for 2-3 cones and only small jet of water. One cone is particular, named the thermo bottle and you know immediatly what...You can walk around the basin but not on the basin as the crust is fragil...Very interesting place to explore!
    We take a nice rest here with pic nic and talk about the carcass( we decide we act well...).Back to trailhead and on the road to Mammoth we decide to do one more hike : Grizzly Lake : 5 miles roundtrip with one short climb at the beginning(5 swithchbacks) and then roling hills before the descent to teh Lake(6 swithchbacks). Nice Lake with scenery from the shore on mountains(with snow this year).Anny hesitate to swim, water was not too cold but thunderstorm was coming and so we decide to hike back.Some deers on the way back.
    We arrive at car just when rain was beginning but very short...
    At Mammoth, we were at Mammoth Hot Springs Lodge, rooms on 3rd floor, with private bath. Important here is to avoid rooms near the common showers and toilets + ice/vending machines - noisy+++
    We were far from that and so no problem as the people on the rooms next to us were calm...Don't forget to open windows for the day and during diner to switch on the fan as there is no A/C and so it's warm here...
    Diner was at the Mammoth dining room : by far the best restaurant of the park : varied appetizers and entrees, service of top quality...The supervisor is present and so this could explain that quality. The smoked trout is very good and there is possibility to add this to the salads...
    Prime rib is top, the specials are often original.

    To be continued.

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    The reason you write a report is for people to read it.

    If you want people to read about a trip that is 1/3 Yellowstone I believe you should tell them. So far your whole report is Yellowstone.

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    Patience Myer, soon we'll leave Yellowstone...Title of my report is 3 weeks in Yellowstone/GLACIER...
    I've written 2 thursdays...and so we are now...

    Sunday, July the 31st : wake up at 5'30 am for an appointment with Sean, a guide from Yellowstone's association. The goal was if possible to see some wolf. Immediately, Sean tell us that the 2 groups of the Lamar's valley have been successfull in hunting the day before and so only few chance to see them...
    We tell him also our wish to see some moose and it was also for him difficult...
    Direction Lamar valley and between Mammoth and Roosevelt, in a meadow letfside of the road , Anny and Salome saw a bull moose, eating in a pond...
    During the same time Sean tell us to look on the other side of the meadow...and began the misunderstood : Anny did not understand why Sean was not interested by the moose(he said us a few minutes ago that it was uncommun...) and Sean didn't understand why Salome and Anny didn't look at what I was seing(but also the moose) : black bear saw and 2 cubs...It was hilariuos and when all 3 understand there was great laugh before 20 mn of nice view of cubs playing, under the surveillance of the mother ...and the moose, eating and eating...
    Then we drive to Lamar valley : an osprey nest with parents learning babies to fly, some mountain goats near the end of the valley, but no wolf...A lot of bisons...
    Sean take us to the Lamar buffalo ranch and we hike the Rose creek trail.We have to do some detour as some bisons were on trail...We saw also a deer with her baby.
    The end of trail is the location where wolves have been reintroducted in Yellowstone...
    Back to car and Sean drive us near Yellowstone picnic area as across the road, a social trail heads to a big bison carcass(not fresh...). He learns us how to explore a meadow and let us discover the carcass.
    On the way back to Mammoth, we've chance to see another black bear and there were not too much cars.
    We're back at hotel at 2 pm and so picnic on the table in front of the hotel with an huckleberry icecream for dessert.
    Afternoon began with exploration of the terrace(we have done them 2 years ago but with so so weather...).Today, sun and sun and so colors are really different.But I imagine how it can be nice during "water season"...
    At the end of the afternoon, drive to Gardiner as we have to do some laundry...During wash and dry, we shop a little(a nice knife for me, some huckleberry products for Anny, some earings for Salome,...).
    Back to Mammoth for diner, and a walk after diner to explore the buildings here (there is a nice tour with a notice to explain the fort...).It was time to sleep...

    Monday,August the 1st :
    Today's hike should have been Bunsen Peak/Osprey falls,9-10 miles loop, with climb to Bunsen peak, down to Osprey and back.In fact we do only Bunsen peak as rain began to fall while we were at top of Bunsen Pk.Trail is a little strenous and there are some mosquitos here...Thez view seems to be nice but weather was not with us.It will be for another time.
    We decide to drive to West Yellowstone because the whole park was under rain.
    In West Yst, we visit the museum(very interesting moovie on the great fire) and also 2 nice parts on aeronautic and Yellowstone and the other on the railway.
    We find a nice bookstore and some indians work(beadworks essentially). Back to Mammoth and Gardiner to a small walk a long the river. Diner(the last one here) and we go to sleep as the day after was the first day of transition between Yellowstone and Glacier.

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    For Myer : problem is without solution...Or I write 2 reports(one for Wyoming/Yellowstone part and one for Glacier/Montana) or I write only one report and I choose to tag it in the state where we have the most days...Montana...
    Or Fodors arrives to authorize us to have a...double tag!
    And I'm not sure the number of respons traduct the number of fodorites who read...On the beginning of this summer I was surprised to see on this forum one of my old report in South Dakota and people saying they use it to organise sejours there for 2-3 years...and they say that only this year...So ??

    Tuesday, August the 2nd : Normally it would have been a day of driving to Red Lodge with stop on Beartooth highway for a hike...
    In fact, due to the rain, we were frustated and so decide to hike a last 1/2 day here and choose Snowpass and back by the Hoodoos(7 miles, loop).Trailhead is acroos road/the one of Bunsen Peak.
    It's in meadows till a pretty pond and then small denivelation to the pass(no snow at this day..).It was the old "coach's road" and you can imagine which adventure it was in those days...Then you follow an skitrail and back to trailhead by the hoodoos...It was very fun till...we saw a bear's track on the trail : one adult and one or 2 baby(ies), one time heading like us, one time in the adverse direction...We were half way from all the trailheads and decide to continue with precaution ,talking, looking and Bearspray not far from hands...No encounter but a good experience...and it was our 1st reason to be happy with our choice.
    Back to car and direction Red Lodge.Just one mile after the beginning of Lamar Valley, Salome said us there was an animal eating something along the creek and we were lucky...to see a...wolf!By chance we find to park and as we were more than 100 yards from the scene we stay here for 30 mn...It was really a chance and more time than seeing them on trails...
    Salome was excited and arrived to got some nice pictures with her zoom...
    After a last look to the wolf(one of the alpha it seems to one of the wolfwatcher present here), which quited the river with a nice part of carcass...and a last look to the bisons in the valley, we drive finally to Red Lodge...
    Beartooth highway is really a must see and must drive and it will be part of a next vacation(2014??2015??).The snow was present even at this time of the year, it was at the top pretty cold...And it seems there are a lot of hikes here...
    The descent to Red Lodge is impressive and was more easy for the driver than for his passengers!!!
    At Red Lodge, the choice was the Pollard, because we like this sort of buildings and hotel registered nationaly.
    Renovation has been well done, except for the A/C, which can not individually be stopped and the clerk of the day was not able to stop it.
    It's often a problem for us, europeans : we didn't need A/C and the noise of the system is difficult to have a good sleep..(idem for vending or ice machines!!!).
    Red Lodge in iself is not very impressive : a few shops and they close early(5 pm...).We find a LARGE candystore and everybody was happy(Salome is always impressed with those candy store founded sometime as she said in the middle of nowhere...), an original souvenir shop and I find a new old Coke tray(one of my favorite Coke's item) and some articles for Salome's student appartment...
    Time to have a diner at Pollard(we were too tired to look for another choice and there were wild mushroom strudels for Anny/Salome and a good walleye for me.Nice berries dessert...
    Night was full of dream(Bear, Wolfd, hikes,...).

    Wednesday, August the 3rd.
    Transition's day and direction Valier, not so far from Glacier, and so we will be able to hike the day after.
    The road was Red Lodge/Billings/Lewiston/Great Falls/Conrad/Valier.We were hoping to find a nice spot to picnic or to swim for Anny but it was by far the less scenic road we drive in this part of Montana(other drives were West Yellowstone/ Helena and Gardiner/Helena).So we stop only for a quick snack on road at a gas station, hoping the lake in Valier would be nice.
    Valier is on Lake Frances shore, but nothing is really done to allow swim or walk on the shore and it's a pity since it should be nice!! We were at the stoneschool bed and breakfast. It's Valier's original school, registered nationaly. There are 4-5 rooms, very comfortable and quiet.Large bathrooms, a pool room with old school's artifacts, maps, ...Owner let you on your own or is present as you preferr(everyone is free...).
    We relax after the long drive and go diner to the Lighthouse lounge.Classic small restaurant with shrimp cocktail(very nice cocktail sauce, shrimps not too tasty), very good caesar, nice salmon, very good steak.Good beer and wine, not expensive.

    Thursday, August the 4th;
    After a very good breakfast(good omelet, excellent cinamon and chocolate cookies, good fruit salad and excellent coffee, for europeans..), direction Saint Mary, a 1h50 drive as there was a detour in Browning...
    Today's hike is Red Eagle Lake, 17 miles , out and back, only a few feet deniveled(by chance...). 2 suspension bridges, nice meadows,some forest but not too many,a very scenic lake and Anny could swim...but not too long-cold water!!
    On the way back we've seen a young moose in a pond and that's was great.
    Then, direction Rising Sun Motor Inn, our first but certainly not last visit...We'd had motel rooms at the far end block, with view on the lake, large room, renovated bathroom(shower only).Easy and fast check in, really an adress to recommand. We let the car in front of the room and do all by fett for 2 days...
    Two dogs falt restaurant is impressive by the view(large open windows on the St Mary lake) and it's good for who knows it's a motel lodge restaurant...It's well done, the trout is excellent, salda of good size and you can got oil/vinegar for dressing and the pies are so nice I recommand to order it at the beginning of the meal;servers are young but efficient. Tips have been good here.
    To be continued...

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    monpetit,

    Vous pouvez "double-tag".

    Press Montana, hold the Ctrl key and press Wyoming.

    Voila. Double-Tag.

    We were just in Banff (Alberta) and Victoria & Vancouver (British Columbia). I tagged my report for both Canadian provinces.

    Now, if I were you I would email Fodors and ask them to add a Wyoming tag.

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    For Myer : I request Fodor to double tag-Thanks for the advise...
    Friday, August the 5th
    After breakfast at Two dog flats, today's hike is Okotomi lake,10 miles out and back, 1900 feet gain.
    Very nice hike with a steep climb to begin and then light denivelation along the creek before a new climb along some waterfalls. End of trail is on open meadows. Lake is at the end of a mountain circus, with a very long waterfall(900 feet high), and other smaller.
    Anny swim, we take a nice picnic and rest for 1 h(this year the decision was to stop, weather permits at least 45 m and if possible 1 h on lake or end of trail).
    Back to trailhead, with some stops to take some pictures of the waterfalls(afternoon's light was better than morning one).
    We were at 1/3 miles fom Motel when on trail, walking to us arrives a black bear.You have to be cautious everytime here and reality is : bears could be everywhere, even close to motel, and if you "quite" one, another can be just behind the first one.So be attentive.
    We try to do our best : the first go backward, helped by the 2nd and the 3rd of us walk back in right direction...Never direct eye's contact and no run...talking slowly...He is in his country and we are the host..Finally after 300 feet he decides to go out trail and after 5 mn to be sure he was gone, we continue our descent, always attentive...
    It was not our first bear's encounter while on a trail but it was the first time we were the firsts in line and finally the only ones...And till you have not experienced it, you cannot imagine the feeling you have : fear, but "happy", and you have to analyse without be in worry. Very strange but it's part of the trail here...
    After a shower, drive to Saint Mary for some shopping in the St Mary complex : some nice "vintage" advertiser poster and some hiking socks...
    Diner at two dog flats and a cool night...(some coyote hawls...).
    Saturday, august the 6th.
    Last breakfast at Rising sun, with sunrise on the Lake...
    definitevely an adress for next year.
    Today's hike was Gunsight lake : 12.4 miles out and back.
    First you go...down for 800 feet in 1 mile(and you are thinking : how would it be on the way back...).You arrive at Reynold falls, nice spot but we don't stop here this morning.
    We go further and you walk along a creek with some ponds : no wildlife this morning!
    At 4 miles, there is a jonction with Florence falls trail and it worth the detour(0.7 miles ). Florence falls are impressive and the trail to them relatively funny(very "brushy").We take a small snack here and then direction the lake.In fact we never arrive to it as 1/4 miles before there were an avalanche slop with a lot of debris and we have not material to traverse it...We go back and find near a small waterfall a nice spot to eat and have a nice picnic for 1/2 hour.
    Back to trailhead but we were enough lucky to see a couple of young moose(a young bulll moose with a female...I don't know moose's life and so I don't know if they were sister and brother or a real couple...). We observe them for 20 mn (they were 60 feet from us) and then in another pond, another one, alone, at 100 feet...
    Back to Reynolds falls for a nice 1/2 h stop to relax...Anny and Salome take a feet bath and then back to climb ...and with this small stop it was relatively easy! Just think to walk regular, without forget to be attentive!!
    Back to trail head and drive to Many Glacier.
    We quite with regrets Rising sun but will be back next year for sure.
    To be continued

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    Gwendolynn,

    Monpetit and the family have travelled a long way (as we do when we go to Europe).

    Except for that this trip is quite similar to those taken by people who travel to Utah, Wyoming and Montana.

    After my first trip to Bryce Canyon, Zion, Grand Canyon and Sedona I was hooked. I regret not starting much earlier when I was a lot younger.

    Try it.

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    I know, I know.....-:) Health problems will probably keep us at home now. However, we did do a trip across Canada.. Banff, Lake Louise, the glacier whose name I can't spell etc., etc. So we haven't totally missed out. Oh.. and also Yosemite.

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    Gwendolyn points out what decides us to continue for a while to explore the region : we are not sure to be able to hike so "strong" years after years...
    Before exploring South Dakota/Wyoming/Montana we've ,for 7 years , been for vacation in the four corners area and hiking there was strenous : heat , no trail for some hikes...For example,we hike with archeologic guide in Grand Gulch primitive area for looking at some anasazi pictogramms.You have to "crawl" on the slope, thru bush, sand,...I'm sure we would not be anymore able to do that now...
    And in several years-the later we hope- some of the hikes we do will be too strenous...Jet lag will be also more difficult to surpass(now, we begin to hike the day after landing or the overday...)Further in years I think we have to wait 3-4 days before beginning to have some physical exercise...But there is so much to explore in the West that we'll find fun at every age...

    Sunday, August the 7th.
    We begin our last week here...
    Check in at Swiftcurrent Motor inn has been the evening before source of...surrealistic echange with the team...
    They put us in 2 differents blocks, parents and daughter...
    I try to argue it was not logic but as they said "we have to accomodate a group!!!" and so to accomodate a group they separe a family... As it was our 4th time here and as I know the rooms , I ask for a room just at the end of the building we are for my daughter, even it was a "smaller" room(my reservation was a double/twin for her a double/double for us), but they didn't want as the one I request was a twin/twin and my reservation said a double/twin...I felt like in an "ionesco" play...
    Then they propose to change the day after and then the last day!!!And cherry on the cake they saw us on a map that the 2 blocks were just near each other, just 30 feet to walk...But they forgot the handicap ramp, which didn't allow the direct "road" and all the dead trunk and so 3 detours to go from one to the other room...After 10 mn of surrealistic discussion, I "capitule" and keep my 2 rooms in 2 blocks because it was not possible to have a smaller room than the one reserved!!!
    By chance, it's always calm, clean, with large rooms. Bathroom has been for some rooms renovated.
    The garden restaurant is less attractive than other years(no trout,appetizers in less choice...) and breakfast were so so...Why we didn't understand(here and also in Yellowstone and then in Bigfork) is the reason some local product are not
    proposed...(trouts, cherries, berries, game,bison...).
    Today's hike is a combo, we were not able to do the 2 last years : Ptarmigan tunnel and on the way down, Iceberg lake :
    14.6 miles with Motel-Tunnel a 5 miles, denivelation 2300 feet, then back to Ptarmigan falls and up to iceberg and then back to motel.
    So motel/Tunnel : 5 miles, Tunnel/Iceberg : 4.8 miles, and Iceberg/motel 4.8 miles.
    First, there is a 1/3 miles of "hard" climb direct from parking lot, the only difficulty of iceberg...When you arrive on the slop, the way is of very light elevation(motel to iceberg is about 5 miles and 1200 feet of denivelation).It's the second reason it's one of the heavy traffic hike(the principal reason is the beauty...).
    It's a grizzly bear habitat so lot of attention!We saw only one that day, in the valley, "playing" on dead woodtrunk.
    After Ptarmigan falls, you quite iceberg trail to climb to Ptarmigan lake, 1.7 miles with 1000 feet elevation in 2 steps : a first one in woods, then a small piece of relatively flat trail and you have a second climb to the lake.
    Lake itself is small, and they were snow on the mountain slops around it.
    From here you see the final climb to tunnel : 0.9 miles, and 700 feet elevation in 3 switchbacks...Tunnel was built to allow a passage from Many Glacier to Belly river.It's allowed passage for horses and is 250 feet long.
    Views from both part are stupendous...We stay here 20 mn to look for all it was possible and then down to the Lake.We picnic here looking for the trail we finally hike this year and then back to Ptarmigan falls.
    We decide to hike to Iceberg, even if it's crowded with Salome as Anny decides to go directly to Motel to swim in Swiftcurrent. As the trail has heavy traffic she will not be alone.
    The way to Iceberg seems us easy after Tunnel and the lake is really iceberg this year. Plenty of ice cubs...Lot of snow , some snowpatches before the Lake...Scenery is terrific.
    Then back to Motel.
    Diner has been at Many Glacier Hotel.Ptarmigan dining room is closed for renovation but Interlaken room and lounge are open to accomodate the patrons.
    Very good service and very good meal : Wild sausage game samplers, shrimp salads, trouts, beef medallions. All was good and will need a second visit the day after...
    We eated as a strong thunderstorm was on the site...Very nice colors and then the calm...
    Back to motel for a good night.

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    monpetit, thankyou for your trip report. I enjoyed everyword. I am jealous of the details you remember and your writing style. It makes me want to start off to the west tonite. Thankyou again and your report will be read over and over, ziggypop

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    When the report will be finish, I put pictures on the web...

    Monday, August the 8th.
    When arriving at Many Glacier programm was Tunnel/Iceberg, Swiftcurrent Pass and Grinnel Glacier.
    In fact, Grinnel Glacier was closed due to bear activity and dangerous snowpatches at the top.Rangers didn't know if it could open before our departure.
    Cracker lake was very muddy(snow and it's at the beginning shared with horsetrails and so...this year muddy, buggy,...).
    As the weather was not sure this day and after our long hike of yesterday, we drive to Cut bank to hike Medecine Grizzly Lake 12 miles out and back, 500 feet elevation.
    Road to Cut bank is not difficult but a lot of courbs.It takes 45 mn.
    From the trailhead, trail is well defined, along the creek and after some part of woods before open meadows to join the lake.
    It's wild, without heavy traffic.Anny swimm and during our picnic and relax time we've lucky to see a nice herd of mountain goats on the mountain slopes, traversing from one slope to another, certainly to find new grass.It seems they have a leader and when he seems to find road the others, and notably mother and babies follow.
    Back to trailhead with sunny sky for the whole day and arriving back in St Mary we can see that weather here has been bad with heavy showers...We stop to eat homemade pies(rasberries, blackberries and blueberries) in a small family restaurant with lemonade.
    Despite this stop, we arrive early in Many Glacier and so, time to laundry and then, direction Many Glacier Hotel for shoping at the souvenir store(Anny find a nice beaded hairbarrett and Salome Yogo sapphire earings).
    Diner was fine and our server ask us if we allow her to say to one of her collegue to come at our table as this collegue was french! We accept and so it was for her occasion to speak french. We were only the 2nd french hosts of the season.It was her 3rd season here and she want to go back next year.
    It's real that in Glacier, french turist are not the rule..;
    From our experience in the west the top french destination are California(LA, San Francisco and parks), then Grand Canyon/Monument Valley, Arches and far after Yellowstone.Glacier is very few proposed by tour operator and has only few pages on the guidebooks...

    Tuesday, August the 9th.
    Today's hike is one of the highlight here and was on our list since two years ago we have to renonce at 3/4 due to weather...
    It's a 17 miles out and back to Granite Chalet from Many Glacier with a 2400 feet elevation gain.But it worth the efforts.
    Beginning is easy in the Swiftcurrent valley, along 3 lakes : Fishmancap, in woods and so not really seen, Red Rock with falls, very nice spot (mountains reflecting in it is particulary nice),then Bullhead lake.
    Between those lakes, trail is in woods with some meadows.
    After Bullhead lake, you follow the creek before the climb(from motel to the base of the climb you have walked 4 miles but only 400 feet elevation!).
    Now it's 3.5 miles with 2000 feetgain. You have 4 switchbacks on a slope and then you pass on another orientation for a long while before other 4 switchbacks.
    So before climbing the best is to have a small stop at the base for a snack.Then the group explodes a little : Salome first , then Anny and I am the last.We keep eyes contact all times but sometimes distance was not so...small! It's not really dangerous because you have openview and so if bears arrive you can anticipate.
    And the views here are fantastic, one of the nicest panorama we know...Waterfalls, mountains slops, view on the chain of lakes,...
    At the pass, there was 2 snow patches, not dangerous and the order changes, as Erik takes the first place(I've made alpinism during 15 years and so have advantage...), Salome in second and Anny who is on snow like a hen in front of a fork..in 3rd...After the pass and its final hills, 20mn of descent to Granite Chalet and panorama on the other side of the park. We picnic, relax but not so long we want because there were some flies here, not so funny.
    Back in valley , with caution as the trail here is really a mountain trail and descent is often more dangerous than going up.We saw our friends the marmotts at mid-way and then, in the valley.
    We stop a first time at Bullhead lake to relax. Anny was a little afraid as we saw a ...snake. We tell her there is no venimous snake in Glacier but she has snakephobia..Even small pika(little marmott) did not arrive to give her some distraction.
    So we continue to RedRock lake as she have repered on the morning a nice spot to...swim!!We stay here for 15 mn but I tell her to do quickly as sky was changing with some "black clouds"...
    We were on our way back, happy of our day even if we have not seen any moose in valley or bear in slopes when in a courb a
    photographer was walking backward and said to us : back and slowly : Grizzly saw and 3 cubs...A real big mother Grizzly and cubs not from this year but from the precedent year so not really babies...back to the procedure: he walked back, I help him for the obstacles, Salome gives us some precision on the trail and Anny advertise hikers arriving not to worry , to stay calm and to go back!After 10 mn we were 35 and only one family to calm as the kids were frightened and have began to...run!
    And despite all these people, Bears continue to walk on trail(as it is written on different guides on how hiking in bears country, bears are not stupid...To go from one point to the other, they take trail..it's easier than woods, brush,...How did you do you...Like them!!).
    Finally after 1/2 miles, mother decides to go off trail and babies follow her! We wait for 5 mn to be sure of the fact and back on trail...to Motel, but always with precaution And as said the photographer : they didn't give me any time to make a picture...Salome arrives to do 2 : one of the mother, but not net and one of the babies when they quite the trail.It was nice encounter and so a perfect day. Pass done, bears seen with "babies".
    Nice fine diner at Many Glacier and good night, plenty of dream.

    Wednesday, August the 10th.
    Last morning at Many Glacier. Check out and as Grinnel was always closed(we give it chance to our last day...), we have to take decision and Anny finally gives us the solution : as we say her Iceberg was so nice this year we will go back to it. And it's a short hike : 9.6 miles out and back, 1200 feet elevation gain.
    Salome leads the group...It's one of her preferred hike here.
    We pass the ranger group(there is a ranger lead hike here every morning). At midway from Ptarmigan falls, on the open slop, Salome said "oops...Mother with 3 cubs"...and effectively on trail going down, we saw the mother and 3 babies, not the same than the day before...They quite quickly the trail, not really interested by us and going down to the valley. Then, the trail was easy and really the lake was nice-Anny agrees with us.
    We find here...a ...french family: parents with 2 teenagers girls...And like us they like this part of West...more than California,...(They also did South Dakota !).
    We stay here for 40 mn Salome trying to do an ice sculpture with a small iceberg!
    Then back to trailhead as we have to drive to BigFork for the night and I want to organise for the day after a fishing morning or a raft morning.
    But...at Ptarmigan falls, trail was closed and as said the rangers here there is some bad news and some good news...Bad is that trail is closed due to...bear activity, the good news is that the spot here is nice!!
    It's true that I was surprised during the descent to not seen the ranger group...and there was really not very many hikers on trail! We know now the reason!
    Two families of bears(mothers with 3 cubs x 2)...were in duty of berries and occuped the slopes, with some times competition between their 2 groups...And so we have to wait they let us the trail...
    Only certitude was that we will be at motel before night!!
    And we wait for...3 hours! Ranger's procedure is very precise and prudent, to protect turists...and bears!
    After 1h30 another ranger arrives and explains us the situation. Then after 1 h , according to informations he receives from talky/walky we begin our descent and then stop for 20 mn before going down where bears were always eating! The descent has been rapid(1 ranger in first , a second in the middle of the group and a last at the end..).They tell us to do noise to try to decide bears to quite the trail...
    Not vey efficient. Finally mother decides to quite when she wants ,we think after source of berries was empty...and she looked to be sure babies was following. Rangers split the group by part of 25 and we go down quickly...
    A 4th ranger waiting for us to be with us to the end of the trail as other bears were in activity down...By chance, not on trail for us...
    We were back at motel at...4'45 pm...
    The initial plan to eat berrie pies at St Mary was down..(by chance Anny baught a whole pie the day before!) and we drive to Bigfork late, arriving here at 8pm(initial schedule was to arrive at 4/4'30)...But it's the"charm" of hiking in wild country...
    In Bigfork, we choose Mountain Lake Lodge : very nice complex, with lakeview, swimming pool.The entry is just on highway, but all rooms have view on lake and garden, at the opposite from road.So it's calm.
    Rooms are very large and bathrooms also.It's expensive but worth the $$(200 for the night with breakfast).
    We decide to eat here, too tired by the day to drive to Bigfork downtown. Restaurant is not bad-excellent shrimp cocktails, very good steak, nice portobella ravioli.Good berries dessert.
    To be continued

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    "But it's the"charm" of hiking in wild country..."

    Oh, my! I would have been terrified, not charmed. :-)

    I'd much rather see the snake than the bears that closely.

    Loving your report. So impressed at the time and extent you see the parks. Most people just do a drive-by. You return many times and REALLY see the parks.

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    Thursday, August the 11th
    Breakfast at Mountain Lake Lodge and desillusion...
    In our whole sejour, breakfasts have often been a problem : coffee is far from our european standard, and away from the 2eggs/potatoes/ham or sausage or grilled ham, choice is poor.
    We didn't find this year good pancakes(no berries pancake ,
    poor cookies, no brownies...).
    Only one homemade granola, and finally, the best were in the "family" restaurant when we could find some pies...
    Exception : Two Flat dogs in Rising Sun where you can eat the pies of the day before(if there are always avalaible),
    Breakfast in Vallier at the stoneschool b & b and in Mammoth, some morning you can have some pies...
    The worst : buckwheat pancake at Swiftcurrent!!We always ignore what it was and how they arrive to do that...sort of
    grey pancake...You have impression to eat some dust!!!
    At MLL, the berries french toast are not bad, but why only starwberries...We are in the land of the berries and cherries and none of them...
    Anny want some cereals and the onlyone they have were industrial..., given in their package...
    In a lot of restaurant, they made their own granola or do some berries frosty cereals...
    After breakfast and the certitude to come back next year here to explore this part of Glacier park boundary and the Swan valley(lot of hikes here + fishing + rafting...) and Anny can swim in lake and in the swimming pool(she do that evening and morning) and due to our emotionnal precedent day, we decide to have a "cool" time and so drive to Bigfork downtown.
    There is a small "historic buildings" tour by yourself and a lot of shops, galleries,...Salome find some nice vintage advertiser metal panels for her future student's appartment and we find some nice berries product(marmelade, jam,...).
    I find a nice kachina(I know we are far from Hopi but I love kachina) and also a nice knife.
    We eat in a small cafetaria(some homemade huckleberries pies...In fact, everytime we encounter bears, it was in place where Anny going up in the morning saw some berries and had project to eat them in the afternoon!!!So she was in lack of berries!).
    Then, drive to Missoula with a stop to buy cherries(very sweet) and at lakeshore for a last swim for Anny.
    In Missoula, our adress is the Blue Mountain bed and Breakfast, on the road to Lolo.It was our 4th visit and always perfection...
    We the parents have the syringa suite, japanese orientation, calm, with spa and Salome has what we call the "bear's room" :
    teddy beras, bears pictures, bear coffins,...
    We have our diner here and surprise with a university teacher from New Hampshire, but native of Romania.
    She was there in vacation, hiking with friends from Missoula university(she is a linguistic professor...and Missoula has good reputation on litterature..).
    She speaks french and was not so surprised to learn it was our 4th time here , because she was also in love with the land and especielly with Glacier park.
    Brady had prepared a nice salad-raspery vinaigrette, then a wonderful steak with asparagus, mash potatoes and an onion flan. Dessert was a fantastic berries cobler with ice cream.
    A small walk after diner, an herbal tea and time to sleep.

    Friday, August the 12th :
    Last whole day.
    Brady's breakfasts are as good than his diner...Cheese omelette, chicken sausage, berries salad ans a berries scone to damn for it, coffee(real coffee...).
    Then drive to hamilton on bitterroot valley with project to hike Mill creek to the falls where there is a cataract with a hole where you can swim and have fun..
    In fact 300 yards from trailhead we find pieces of deer's legs and after discussion decide to renonce.(old or knew, hunter or bear,...the legs was almots complet not eated...).
    On the wy back we drive to bear canyon and do a small hike to some falls where salome and Anny take feet bath...We find a lot of berries there(wild strawberries a few, rasperries a lot and some thimble berries just mature...).
    Back to Missoula and we shop. Salome was a little disppointed as the Acrombery shop was closed but she find lot of clothes in the Dillards(some ralph lauren's skirts) and at the areopostale( afew) and at Hollister(a lot...). More berries product(honey, chocolate, toffies...) and we drive to Missoula downtown. I make a stop at the fact and fiction bookstore where I find a nice hike guides of the bigfork county(what a chance) ,and a nice book about Curtis indian pictures.
    We have diner at the Pearl cafe, with excellent bison, duck, crabcake, salad and chocolate dessert.
    Back to our b & b.

    Saturday, August the 13th.
    Perfect breakfast and a "see you next year" to brady and we let him as every year our coolers, the can we don't eat, the medecinin we don't use. We know he gives those to other hosts who need this for hike, excursions, and so echange are always good.
    Drive to airport, rental car return and flights to Salt lake and then to Paris(I was lucky to upgrade us in the economy plus seats for the return...more room for the legs and seats which lean more...but always that old plane with commun TV!!But on the back flight,...we sleep...).
    Sunday, August the 14th.
    Landing in paris, railways to Rennes then Vannes and back home. By chance in France the 15th of Augsut is a no work day and so, quite before nback to work...
    Trip reportand also preparation of the next trip in July/August 2012. Itinerary is made, and in a few days, reservations for lodge, b&b,...h

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    sorry, bad act...(and so no correction for the last reply...).
    so reservations to be done because they fill quick...
    Tomorrow or Friday, I organise the photo album and give you the link
    Erik.

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    Hi "Erik"... I think I remember reading some of your offerings before. The main reason I stopped to read this thread was to figure out if you referenced a french daughter with a unique-to-us name - which is what I vaguely recalled from before.

    Nowthen, since you visited Missoula, had you done any studying beforehand of "Glacial Lake Missoula", which had what is now Missoula under water many times during the last ice age?

    This website had more explanation: http://www.iafi.org/trail.html

    IF you took pictures of the big "M" up on the hill above Missoula, you might look closely for little 'ridges' up high on the hills nearby, as each of those was a former shoreline of the lake there.

    If ever you are caused to go west from your usual stomping grounds, perhaps some of that reading may be of interest.

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    Some respons
    - to Starrs : it is part of hiking here : you're happy not to see bears...but you are happy when you see them !!!Sort of duality...As said one : the best bear's picture is the one you don't shot...Important is to follow the rules : never hiking alone, the best minimum in a party is 3, make noise and have bear spray et be always attentive even close to trailhead, parking,...The more "dangerous" and so the more precautions to take : seeing a cub without seing the mother(hoping not to be between the 2 parties...) and carcass(go back+++).
    to Northwestmale : I think you are speaking of my South Dakota trip report and it was with our 2 daughters, the oldest one named Faustine.She is working now and so no more long vacation with us(some week-ends or a week long vacation at maximum...).Thanks for the link.

    For Elaine : we see this restaurant when we quite MLL and it was effectively on our thoughts for next year...(we see they advertise homemade pies...).Thanks for the notice.

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    OMG... you are so right... "Faustine" it was !!!!


    (darn, I already now 'miss' her... - of course mainly for the many references she would have commanded throughout your trip report)

    (where I'm free to fill-in MY own mind's image OF a young french girl in the rural American west)

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    Wow, I looked through them all.

    There were so many scenes there which I didn't know to expect (which makes sense, for my not having been to Yellowstone in ages). Unfortunately I don't even know enough to know where to look for them (feels dumb).

    Interesting to give such a sense of 'nature' in many pictures before the one photo with sooooooooooooooo many people in a line. (hopefully there was enough 'nature' for everyone)

    I think you showed one geyser from about every angle - near photo #120.


    Today I was at a popular tourist destination, helping a young French woman, and I told her "twelve dollars".

    She then pulled out $10... and then $1... before looking into her coins. She studied one coin intently, front and back, still seeming uncertain as to which denomination it was.

    SO I picked that moment to blurt out: "twenty-five!"

    And OF COURSE she initially took it to mean that I was suddenly charging $25.00 for what had been $12.00 in her mind just minutes earlier.

    With the help of other French girls nearby, we communicated more clearly and shared a laugh, once she finally understood that I'd been trying to help her.

    So that is a little bit of my image of a French girl making her way around America (they're extra sweet when they need your help).

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    (returns after looking around)

    Has it really been FIVE YEARS since I learned of "Faustine" here in the pages of Fodors???

    Oh how I now long for the past...


    I found this one line from one of your long-ago reviews:

    ""We had a lunch here...and the girls come back to their...burgers.""

    Now what I would like to know, is whether the (young, modern) French would have burgers in America and have 'French Fries' with them??

    And would they feel any national 'pride' that way?


    Also, how do the (young and modern) friends of French girls respond upon hearing of family trips to "South Dakota" (before)? and even "Wyoming" now??

    What stereotypes do your friends back home in France have about those areas of the United States?

    (and I am guessing in advance that nobody cares very much about "French fries" - so it is OK to let me down)

    Tell Faustine that she is missed by her friends on the travel board!! (or at least missed by her lone fan, of five years)

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    Hey wait a minute!

    In two short years you went from this:


    ""We were the 2 parents,Erik and Anny and our 15 years old daughter, you know this kind of teenager, lost without cellphone, internet or TV...""


    to this:

    ""our now 17y old teenager and her parents.She has no need now for cellphone, internet,...and all that she wants is nature and wildlife...""


    You must write a book and tell your secrets to the world! (maybe "South Dakota" inspired her more than her friends know)



    Or maybe it was a product of all this time spent in the shadow of "Faustine", and now suddenly free to be herself, otherwise maybe you have a 'secret' that everyone will want to learn.

    I think this youngest one is fully ready for University now, but I shall remain loyal to Faustine.

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    We have had only one role in the "transformation" of teenager cell phne's addict to nature's addict : offer her the opportunity to be there...
    It's easy for parents to let children with the high technology's instruments (TV,Cellphone, internet,...), and if you don't take care, children are in sort of "artificial world...".
    The first days without this technology are difficult...but then, finally who can resist to geysers, bears, mooses, hikes ??? And when you are back home, difficut is to resist to the precedent life(cellphone, internet,...).
    Salome is even no more "addict" to burgers...She discovered crabcakes, wild salmon, game sausage,...
    The only difficulty for everyone and I'm conscient of that : those holidays are not cheap...and a good meal is more expensive than a burger!!
    What do we think in front of the Grizzly : whoa, how big is she! Then, is she alone and if not where are the cubs??
    Then, it's automatic...if you have well read the recommandations : no direct eyecontact, no run, always knowing where there are...bearspray in hand..and calm!(easier to say than to be!!).
    By chance, the first encounter we were not alone...and so we "learn" for after...Truth is also than you have some of attirance to those animals and sometimes the first thought is "could I go nearer...but only 1/1OO second...).
    The picture of all the people : it's the "crowd" which has been stopped our last day in Glacier , due to bears activity.
    The geyser on many pictures is Lone Star Geyser, and I've a lot of them, because I take them in "rafales"...
    Anecdot about this : when we were at Norris ranger 's station to notify the carcass, we listen to a french family .They were asking about Old Faithfull activity and the father said " the show is allday, every 75 to 90 mn and they begin at 10"...He was thinking the ranger decide when to begin...
    When I explain them it is a natural phenomen, I have to argue a lot and finally they accept my explanations...
    No stereotyp for us from West : open space, nature, fauna and
    LIBERTY...

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    You mean Old Faithful isn't turned on in the morning and placed on an exact schedule by the rangers?

    Ha Ha!!!!

    I met a couple from France in the Lodge at Old Faithful. I has just taken some late evening photos of Old Faithful. He asked me which is my favorite park.

    I told him I could answer his question differently. I have never been to a National Park that I didn't enjoy (possibly not the Grand canyon but that was probably my fault).

    Yellostone doesn't play fair as it's not really one park. It's really several distinct parks plus Grand Tetons that I think are beautiful.

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    Monpetit - thank you for such a wonderful trip report! I can understand why you keep going back - I grew up in Billings and Bozeman and hiked all over the state from a young age until 23 when i had to move to CA to get a job (hello Yosemite!) and still there were many hikes you listed that I haven't done! Now I live in the UK for a few years and am so happy for a nostalgic fix of my home state!


    If you have any suggestions on your favourite areas in France for enjoying mountains/hiking with young children (we have a 2 and 4 yr old now), I should be most grateful!

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    In France, for hiking with young childrens, 2 options :
    -Auvergne(Massif Central), lodging in La Bourboule or Le Mont d'Or. It was location of my first holidays with my grand parents when I was 4 and the 5 years old.
    Nice hikes, not too difficult, wonderful scenery(lakes,waterfalls, flowers, rasperries, blueberries). Very good "cuisine" (riverfish, cake,cheeses...) and not expensive. It's land of old volcanos. There are some nice old castles, and some old thermal etablishments. The only complain : no wild animal life...
    - Franche Comte, lodging in the department of Doubs, the best in vallee de la Loue(Ornans, Lods,...) or in Jura(Arbois, Salins les bains). Lot of waterfalls, some lakes, caves, nice rivers,...Very good cuisine(crawfish, river and lake fish, Montbeliard and Montbenoit sausages, cheeses and first the Comte, berries,...) and wines.More wild life.

    After, you have to go higher, Alpes or Pyrenees. The "Alpilles" in the back land of Nice is also nice with young children, but it can be hot in summer.
    Finally "le parc de la vanoise" with its italian pendant parc du Grand Paradis, perhaps for 6/8 yeras old ! bighorn ship, chamois, ...
    Erik
    PS to have some "envious" I've just reserved our hotels for next year : Kalispell(1 night) Bigfork(3 nights), Apgar(2) East Glacier(2),Rising sun(3) Swiftcurrent(3) and Missoula(2)
    I have to think of the hikes, but I have some ideas...

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    Your loyalty and devotion to that area of the U.S. is really amazing.

    I remember how thankful I felt upon using mere instinct to bypass Kalispell for a night, and drive on to West Glacier instead, for a setting I really loved!

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    Thank you for the tips on France - I will now be happily planning for next summer family trip (we went to switzerland alps this past summer to get our mountain fix).

    Have fun planning your next year hiking! P.S. If you ever need ideas for hikes in the areas closer to Yellowstone (Absaroka-Beartooth wilderness to the north/northeast or Gallatin National Forest area/ranges to the north/northwest), those were my especial stomping grounds...

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