Thursday, September 10, 2009

September 5, 2009: Stanley, Idaho to Mammoth Hot Springs, WY

Following our last breakfast at the Stanley High Country Inn (a great place to stay if ever find yourself in Stanley, Idaho), we pack the car and get on the road for Mammoth Hot Springs. Our route found us heading north on Idaho Route 75 to pick up 93 north to 43 east to 15 north to I-90 east to Livingston, MT and then finish by following 89 south through Gardiner into the northern entrance of Yellowstone Park and on to Mammoth Hot Springs. We aren't too far along on our day's journey when we have an unfortunate encounter with a deer somewhere north of Challis, Idaho, doing considerable damage to the driver's side front fender, headlight, hood and side panel. We ourselves are not hurt, the car is mechanically sound and drivable after the mishap but the deer was not so lucky... and we certainly were quite shook up after this happened.

Most of our northern route followed the Salmon River and also followed the same pathway that Lewis and Clark followed through Idaho. Once we head east on MT route 43, we followed the Big Hole River for much of the way east. Route 43 turns north at Wisdom, MT where we stopped at the Big Hole Crossing Restaurant for a delicious lunch... and also purchased a six-pack of Wisdom Amber Ale brewed by the Big Hole Brewing Company. Once we picked up 15 north and then 90 east, we were on interstate highways and made very good time... but the scenery was not nearly as beautiful! We stopped briefly (hop off, hop back on I-90) in Bozeman, MT for gas and continued on the last stretch of our journey to reach Mammoth and have time to briefly visit the nearest part of the Hot Springs before having dinner in the Mammoth Hot Springs dining room... excellent meals!

We were a bit surprised to find thermal features along the Salmon River and made one brief stop for photo opportunities...
hot springs on Salmon River in Idaho

View of the Salmon River from alongside the road near the hot springs shown in the above photo)
scenic Salmon River

Just for the record... our poor smashed rental after colliding with a deer...
damage to car

Sunset view of Mammoth Hot Springs Village from the lower walkway at the springs...
village of Mammoth Hot Springs at sunset

Lower terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park...
lower terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park

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