We had heard much about Bozeman. Sally had been through the town briefly when she worked at Yellowstone one summer between freshman and sophomore year of college. Ron’s impression of Bozeman came from the 70’s cult classic “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”, Robert Pirsig’s ode to seeing every problem as opportunity and Bozeman as a place where respect for craft was the ethos. Well, Sally and Ron have grown up and so has Bozeman. It is not the small, funky town we remembered. It has gone a bit sprawling and has real upscale pockets, particularly along West Main. It is the home of Montana State University
But MSU is apart, south of town, and has none of the feel of U of Montana at Missoula. Bozeman remains a happening place with all sorts of fishing and outdoor activity, particularly given its positioning as a principal gateway to Yellowstone National Park, just an hour south. Nonetheless, pound for pound, Sally and Ron prefer the more intimate, less polished look of Missoula, with the Clark Fork River wandering through downtown and the University just a walkway across the river.
We did take the opportunity in Bozeman for staging float fishing on the Yellowstone River north of the Park. It was a lovely day on one of America’s great rivers- the longest un-dammed river in the country, running from south of the Park, through Yellowstone Lake in the Park and then north across almost the whole length of Montana to flow into the Missouri just over the Montana border in North Dakota. Lewis and Clark did part of their epic journey on the Yellowstone, and much of the look and feel of the river remains today.
Then it was off toYellowstone National Park itself. What a treasure, immense, varied, beautiful. We understand it is a tourist nightmare in the summer, but it is delightful in late September.
One of the most impressive views is the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River as it goes through what is known as the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.
Biut the river also has its quiet side, best shown at daybreak near Lake Hotel
We had a wonderful two, almost three days at the Park. Sally relived old memories from her summer at Lake Hotel. We would have stayed a bit longer but rain and snow came, closing the pass we were going to take out of the Park. We had to backtrack north through Gardiner, MT and then turned east on I-90. After almost four weeks of relentlessly heading west, we were now heading toward the morning sun.