The trip from Deer Lodge to West Yellowstone, MT was an easy 183 miles of which about half was on Interstate. West Yellowstone is located just outside the West gate to Yellowstone National Park. It is a big time tourist town in season and the prices reflect that. We ate at McDonald's shortly after arriving and spent $16 on just two sandwich meals so even it reflects the tourist atmosphere.
We are staying at Baker's Hole Campground about three miles North of West Yellowstone. We had originally tried to get into Grizzly RV Park which is the most popular and probably the best RV park in West Yellowstone but they couldn't give us a reservation for the full week we wanted, even at 59.95/night plus tax. Baker's Hole is a National Forest campground and we have 50 amp electricity with no other hookups and it has worked out very well. we had to use the tripod to get the satellite through the trees and Verizon is usable but weak. At a savings of $46/day plus tax we are very happy that Grizzly didn't have room for us!!!
We wound up spending three of the days touring the Northern loop of Yellowstone and put about 460 miles on Libby doing that. Yellowstone has to be one of the best National Parks in the system as well as the country's first National Park. We would probably compare it to Denali for wildlife though Denali has more fantastic scenery in our opinion. The scenery in Yellowstone is great just not quite as incredible as Denali. I guess Yellowstone makes up for it in the remarkable geothermal activity present in the park. We only saw the Northern half and will catch Old Faithful and the rest of the Southern half in about a week after our daughter Misty meets us in Billings, MT and we head for Cody, WY and the Grand Tetons.
We did see lots of wildlife. Funny, but our first day we went out we saw more wildlife than the rest of the time we were here. Altogether we saw: 52 elk, 2 grizzly bears, 3 big horn sheep, 9 pronghorn antelope, 3 chipmunks, 2 marmots, 1 golden mantle squirrel, 1 wolf, many ground squirrels and we estimate over 600 bison in several large herds. It was wonderful and well worth going into the park at 6:30 in the morning!
We also went to the IMAX theater for a Yellowstone movie which was so-so. It covered more of the history of the park and we would have much rather seen what we should be looking for in the park. We also visited the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center next door to the IMAX and it was a complete bust. Maybe we are getting jaded with all that we have seen in other places but these two just seemed touristy and not worth the money at all.
Today, Sunday, I have spent most of the day culling through 447 photos we took for the 147 I wound up using and then getting them uploaded on our slow connection. Tomorrow we head for Livingston, MT for three nights of not doing much but relaxing and maybe touring the small town.