miércoles, 8 de junio de 2011

Montana & the Yellowstone Experience!

July 2009

Without knowing what would happen, I went in a trip with my younger brother to Montana, United States. The trip was more or less unplanned but started taking shape once we got there. We left Mexico City to Bozeman via Denver and because the aeroplane in Mexico City arrived late from its previous flight, we left over an hour-and-a-half late, missing our connection to Bozeman where people were expecting us. We were hoping to see Montana by day when we got there, but it turned out to be quite different.

We flew with Mexicana to Denver and then United Airlines onto Bozeman. We waited for over 7 hours in the airport waiting our connection, but, well, we must have walked the whole concourse over 3 times and then we had lunch at an overprized Domino’s Pizza. We thought it through because we hadn’t eaten since 10 am that day and it was already 5 or 6 pm, so we decided to spend 8$ each... that really hurt for just buying a mini pizza. Finally we had to board, but it was hilariously ridiculous how they wanted us to board. We were supposed to board at one gate, but then they changed the gate, then another gate with another aeroplane, then the gate and the aeroplane again, until we finally installed ourselves in an Airbus A320-200 and we were unsure where it was we were going and even if it was Bozeman due to the whole imprecision by United and/or Denver International Airport.

We had a nice flight and we landed in Bozeman some two hours after leaving Denver and it was dark, almost no light, which was impressive, and as I said, we didn’t really know what to expect as it had been the very first time we had heard of the place, but then again, we were invited by our dad’s friend to stay at her place with her, her son and their dog, a very big dog, wouldn’t know what breed, but he’s called Pepper. As we disembarked the aeroplane, we made our way to the baggage claim area, and for our surprise, after 30 minutes of waiting hopelessly, we didn’t get our luggage and we filed a report, for which they told us they had located our bags in Denver and they would bring them the next morning on the inbound flight. After that it was off to bed but first we grabbed some supper at a Subway’s... it was nice, but it was really just a junk-food day.

The next day, after resting some 13 hours we woke up with the door bell ringing and we went to see who it was and it turned out to be the airport guy who delivers delayed baggage, so we did get our luggage after all! So we were happy now! We went for a walk over to town, which is outside Bozeman itself, Livingston, and it was scorching hot, a bit humid, but the view was amazing with the mountains in the background, we were just breathless. It was really a nature trip we took because we were escaping the agitated Mexico City atmosphere for a bit, and you feel the air quality improve once you’re close to those mountains! We got to know some locals over a town fair of some sort and it was fun to just walk around and practically be the only tourists in town.

That night we went out to walk and if you turned skyward, you could see the Milky Way line and all those stars, because of the clarity and purity in the air! It was unbelievable to see that white line across the sky. As we continued on walking we met some guys our age and randomly ended up playing poker and grabbing a wheelchair to do some tricks. It was pretty funny! We even had to run because one of them did something stupid and we heard an alarm and a siren shortly after, so we didn’t want to risk it.

During the next days we visited the mountains and the parks close to Livingston and we had a blast. One of those days, we went to Pine Creek Trailhead where we were looking for a lake in the middle of two mountains, and there’s clearly a trail, so we followed it for a good 2-3 hours and never really made it to that lake, but what we did find was an amazing stream in “Cascade Creek” still in Pine Creek Trailhead, the stream of pure water from which we drank the most delicious water ever! It was so fresh, so sweet, and so clean! We filled our bottles and we decided to go back because sunset wasn’t far away, so we headed back the same way, but there was something new that wasn’t there before... a sleeping bear! We caught a glimpse of it but decided not to provoke it, so we were really careful how and where we moved.

Another day we went to the Yellowstone River to do some kayaking in wild waters, it was pretty fun, although it was cold. Why do I say that? Because I fell into the water... yes, you read it correctly. We were shown a technique to be able to avoid falling when the crests of waves were too high, so I attempted that manoeuvre and, lucky me I did it inversely, so I was thrown into the water, but after some 20 seconds of battling and a bit of help from the guide, I was back in my kayak with my sunglasses still on!!! It was amazing; I really enjoyed it despite swimming in those 10°C river waters.

We also went to the Yellowstone Park to see the Geysers in Mammoth Springs and the Park in General. So we were now in Wyoming and all those buffaloes all over! It was incredible to see them up close as well, when we had the chance, of course. When we got to Mammoth Springs, we were amazed by how the weather changes so quickly! As we arrived it was pouring rain and ten minutes later, it was sunny as hell! It was nice though, to feel the heat after the rain. It almost felt surreal after seeing all that water fall from the sky.

The interaction between human and nature is such that you can get close enough to almost touch the animals, that’s pure wilderness! We saw buffaloes, deer, and prairie dogs for the most part. We also saw a black bear!!!

Another day we drove to one of the highest “highways” in the US and there were even glaciers up there which was quite frankly, impressive for the time of year.

Little Bear Lake:

Up, up, up!!!

We descended from the mountains into a little town which I forgot the name of, and we had some supper over there before returning to Livingston.

We went to Bozeman to spend a night at a Youth Hostel where we met the most amazing people from all over the US. They were all from Miami, San Francisco, Chico (Arizona), New York and some other parts in the East coast. We unfortunately didn’t bring a camera with us, but it was a pleasant day over there where we met a Norwegian scientist that was doing some research on fish and their behaviour in the US... the important thing is we weren’t expecting more foreigners in Bozeman, because for us, it was a place really hidden from the public view, or so it seemed.

We had to cut our trip short because of some personal issues of the family we were staying with, but we had a blast! We didn’t know what to expect and we didn’t even know the family, but in the end it turned out to be quite interesting and fulfilling experience, especially because I had the chance to communicate a lot more with my younger brother, with whom I didn’t really bond before that trip.

Here are the last pictures of the last day in Livingston before heading back to Bozeman, Denver and finally Mexico City:

Off to Denver from Bozeman:

The Sleepless:

A whole different animal.

Off to Mexico City:

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