Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Camping at Red Rock Lakes NWR

Conventional wisdom says it's safe to go to Yellowstone after Labor Day because by then the crowds are gone.  Mari and I tried to go camping there last weekend, but we found out conventional wisdom is not infallible, so we headed west to Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.

Most of Yellowstone National Park is in Wyoming, but as you head out toward the west entrance, you cross into Montana. West of the city of West Yellowstone, Montana you cross briefly into Idaho.  It really doesn't matter as long as you remember that no matter where you go, there you are. 

Starting to look like fall.

The aspens were changing.

 At Red Rock Pass we crossed back into Montana.

Red Rock Lakes NWR is an important wintering area for trumpeter swans.  We saw a few of them way out on the lake, but couldn't get a decent picture.   

The upper lake has everything I like in a campground--it's small, not too well known, doesn't offer a lot of amenities, and it's a little bit hard to get to.  In the half dozen times I've been there, I've almost always had the whole place to myself. We weren't so lucky this time. The campground was about half full, but it's long and spread-out and we got a spot on the end, so it was good camping.

Moon rise over the ridge behind the campground, accompanied by a hooting owl and howling coyotes.

Morning at the upper lake.

Later in the day, looking behind our campsite.

 Last look at the upper lake on the way home.

More fiery aspens. 

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