Day 15 – I Wonder As I Wander

My first night of dispersed camping was a hit! I loved the spot so much that I ended up just chilling out for a few extra hours to enjoy the peaceful views.

When I finally got around to leaving, I set off toward Yellowstone National Park. In selecting that destination, I chose a scenic, back highway route. I still didn’t have an overnight plan, but I was leaning toward Gallatin National Forest. After stopping later in the day I honed my intention of staying just outside the north entrance of Yellowstone at a spot I found on iOverlander.

I stumbled upon a small town along my way and decided to grab a mocha. The menu board listed the daily special as ‘The Grizzly”, a concoction that included both chocolate and vanilla, so I opted for that instead. While waiting on my coffee, I spied a food truck called Mountain Berry Bowls. Anyone who knows me knows I cannot pass up the opportunity to check out a place that serves bowls of fruit, granola, and some soupy base, and this one did not disappoint!

I mentioned that I used iOverlander to find my second camp site. This is an awesome, volunteer run app that works off of GPS so it even works when internet is sketchy. Basically it crowd-sources camp sites and other resources like free wifi spots and scenic overlooks. The place I chose for my first night of dispersed camping wasn’t on the app so I added my first contribution to the iOverlander site!

Traveling the better part of the day with sketchy GPS hadn’t really bothered me, especially when that has been the norm for a good portion of my time west of the Mississippi. That was until I received a fire evacuation notice. I knew there were fires around me, and I knew they were growing. The smoke had been getting more dense, but I could not actually see a fire, although I wondered if a helicopter I saw while camped at the lake might be dropping water.

It wasn’t until almost an hour later that I was able to compare the location of the evacuation with my travel history. When I did I realized that I had been on the edge of the area being evacuated. Lesson learned….you don’t have to see fire, or rolling smoke, to be too close to a forest fire.

After turning off the interstate to head toward the north entrance of Yellowstone, I really had to push myself to concentrate on getting to my camping area. I passed so many places that would have been great paddle boarding spots that I would still be trying to get there had I stopped at even half of them!

I did finally find the place I had selected on iOverlander, a lovely spot near a babbling stream with shade! Not long after parking, several other cars came by also seeking camp space. Sorry folks, this one is mine!

7/17/2021

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