Monday, September 22, 2008

The Amazing Beartooth Highway

Charles Kuralt, the great journalist of the "on the road" series, called the Beartooth Highway "the most beautiful drive in America". We've wanted to travel this road for years, and after finally having the opportunity, we certainly agree. Starting in Cooke City, Montana just outside of the Northeast gate to Yellowstone, the highway winds it's way up over Beartooth pass and down to Red Lodge, MT 69 miles later. Leaving Yellowstone, we stopped for lunch at Cooke City, population 140, for lunch before starting up the climb to the pass. Starting at around 5200' elevation, the road slowly climbed through the deep forest and soon the trees gave way to a sub-alpine environment. The scenery was amazing; snow-capped, cloud-covered mountains in the distance, deep blue lakes everywhere - each turn int he road provided a new, breathtaking vista. As we neared the summit at nearly 11,000', the "beartooth" rock became visible in the distance.

I decided at the top to pull over, get out, and take a few pictures.....not realizing that it not only looked like Antarctica, but felt like it, too. As we started down toward Red Lodge, the terrain once again changed; eventually becoming forested again. We descended down a steep section of the road into a green valley, and then into Red Lodge. This isn't a drive you can describe using words; so I'll let the pictures do the talking. C'mon back & see us in the Tetons!

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