With a beautiful drive through the Madison Valley
03.07.2015 - 04.07.2015 35 °C
After breakfast, we walked outside our hotel into what is called Last Chance Gulch - 4 men from another camp began panning a small stream in 1864. As they began one of the men said, “It is our last chance.” Much to their joy on July 14, 1864 they uncovered a significant amount of gold deposits. Last Chance Gulch was born. From there, we drove a short distance to Reeder's Alley, the miner's camp that we had briefly seen on the "train" yesterday. It has been well preserved - Louis Reeder built his "Alley" in 1884 and once complete it featured thirty-two single units occupied by tenants who were mainly single, working-class men, mostly miners. The alley’s dwellings were humbly built considering the large mansions majestically elevated on their own city block a few miles away. Yet these buildings still provided better amenities than a log cabin
It was time to head to Yellowstone. We'd been told that Hwy 287 was the best way to go, and so it was. Once we had entered the stunning Madison Valley, we had 10,000' mountains either side of us as we closely followed the Madison River all the way to Earthquake Lake. In 1959 a 7.3 earthquake caused a huge section of a mountain above the Madison River to collapse - 28 people were killed (mostly campers) and the new Quake Lake was formed
It was a short drive from there to West Yellowstone which is actually just in Montana - Yellowstone Park starts about 3 miles away in Wyoming. We didn't have any accommodation booked and had been worried that a room might be hard to come by on this Independence Day weekend. There were hundreds of rooms available and we ended up in a Days Inn with a indoor pool.
I cannot think of a worse town that I've stayed in. I know it provides some cheaper accommodation than lodges and cabins in the park but surely it doesn't have to be this bad (we actually paid less for a cabin in Lake Village than we did for the Days Inn room)