30 May 2015

Campground Review - Harlowton Montana

Chief Joseph City Park Campground

3rd St SW, Harlowton, Montana - off Hwy 191

Why we chose here? It was between Cody and Great Falls and there is nothing else around

Location: Harlowton is a small town off the 191. Located near the fairgrounds

Sites: About 20 RV sites and a few tent sites away from the RV sites. I think we had site 12 which was gravel and right next to the water spigot. As we were the only ones there we connected to the water! Pull through sites.

Facilities: 30amp, one water spigot for the whole campground, trash disposal, playground, restrooms

Groceries: There is a grocery store in town

Reservations: Don't know

Cell Coverage / WiFi: Verizon works here

Price Paid: $15 for electric, $9 for dry camping and $7 for tents

Date of visit: May 2015

  • Playground
  • Grill
  • Water - one spigot
  • 30amp for 20 sites
  • Fishing in the river
  • Tent sites
  • Pet friendly
  • The camp host comes around at night to collect the fees. He has change.
Would we come here again? Yes, it's a nice, quiet campground

29 May 2015

Action in front of the lens, and drama behind it

In Australia our wild horses are called Brumbies, in America they are called Mustangs, and can be found in a number of states including Utah, Arizona, Oregon and Wyoming. They are wild feral horses that don't belong to anyone.

This is the second time we have had the opportunity to photograph these magnificent animals. Near Cody, they roam on the BLM land about 30 miles from town, but like most wildlife, it's not always easy to find them.

Campground Review - North Yellowstone

Mammoth Campground

Why we chose here?
It is the only campground in Yellowstone open all year round

Location: Mammoth Hot Springs, the northern entrance of Yellowstone

Sites: 86, spacious and most are pull throughs, some sites have flat pads for tents. Hiker/biker site.
          2 x Handicap sites

Facilities: restrooms, fire pits, water spigots, firewood for sale

Groceries: Gardiner Market in Gardiner, 5 miles away, General Store in Mammoth

Reservations: No, first come first served. Come early as it fills up quickly during peak season.

Cell Coverage / WiFi: Verizon, for AT&T you will need to drive to Gardiner

Price Paid: $20 – cash or credit when the office is open

Date of visit: Feb & May 2015, May 2014

Would we come here again? Yes

  • No dump station – there are dump stations at Madison, Fishing Bridge – but it’s a long way to drive
  • You can use your generator during the hours of 8am to 8pm, quiet time in the campground is 10pm to 6am with a $50 fine for disobeying
  • Elk and Bison often roam the grounds and keep the grass down! 
  • The road around the campground is sealed while the sites are gravel with plenty of space in between. 
  • Sells firewood
  • Food storage boxes in some sites in case you need to store your food away from the bears.
  • Recycle centre

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26 May 2015

The most famous national park - Part 2

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone is so large that you need to spend time in different areas. During our first year we came in the south gate from the Grand Tetons and stayed at Grant Village, then moved up to Tower Fall so that we could visit the Lamar and Tower area, then Norris to see the western side of the park.

view from our campsite

This year after Fishing Bridge, we moved up to Mammoth where we have stayed numerous times before. Our favourite campsite wasn't available, so we stayed in another for one night and moved the next day. The campground is full every night, and when we went to renew our site, they had taken the envelopes away to stop people stealing other people's campsites!

22 May 2015

And the hunt is on

We spent a most of one day with a red fox in little America in Yellowstone. I first noticed him running down the side of the road and watched her disappear into a culvert underneath the road. We parked, grabbed our cameras and started to look around to find out where she was. After some searching, she popped up again and went hunting.

I hear something....
right over there...

so focused
locked and incoming 
Such precision to pounce right on the target

After she had caught two squirrels, she went to sleep. So we waited. For about four hours!

In the afternoon, she hunted again.

on the prowl

oops, I lost it
found him


Did I do well?
Going back to the den now

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13 May 2015

The most famous national park

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone would have to be the most famous national park in the world. We have returned for the fourth year in a row because it is so unique. We have stayed in seven of their campgrounds and they are all different, the park is huge, so it makes sense that you find one in the right location. Then there are the opening times to consider and whether we will fit or not.

We decided to try Madison this year which is near the west entrance. It's a really nice campground run by Xanterra, not the national parks system, and as a bonus it has a dump station, on the down side there is no cell service. We had booked ahead which was a good decision as the campground was full that night, we asked to add two extra days onto our booking when we arrived but they could only give us one.

The first afternoon we arrived I suggested that we drive south to Old Faithful as I knew that Lindsay would want to go out each day looking for bears and therefore would be my only chance of taking some landscape photos. There were a lot of tourists around for this time of year.

Grand Prismatic Spring

We arrived at Old Faithful just before it was about to erupt - it was great timing.

Old Faithful

Each day we would head over to the Fishing Bridge area, going out around Yellowstone Lake to Sedge Bay and out to the Hayden Valley. This is grizzly bear country, the area has open plains that they like to roam. We never go walking to find them as that would be too dangerous, so we have to be content to try and spot them from the car along the roads.

The gorgeous markings of the male Harlequin Duck

Everyone is saying this is a lean year for spotting bears, is it us?? we seem to get that a lot! Because of the lack of snow, the bears don't need to be near the road where the snow has melted. Bears with cubs might come down to the roads as they feel safe as they know the boars won't follow them. If a boar wants to mate with a sow, they will kill any cubs she already has, so it's a real danger to expose cubs to boars other than their father.

Fishing Bear
All the bears have names, how they get these names I don't know. There is Fishing bear because, you guessed it, he fishes, he's up by 9 Mile.


There is Hobo because he used to ride on the back of his mother's back when he was little. We found him up near steamboat in Sedge Bay, they travel incredible distances - must be those four legs.

Feel those muscles stretch!

Then there is Little Valley Girl, if she didn't have this name I would have called her Yogi Bear, on the day that we were very lucky to see her she was doing yoga! She was rolling in the snow, stretching, rolling, just having a ball. There was a large group of people already there when we arrived so we knew we didn't have much time. Lindsay grabbed his camera and tripod and got some amazing shots - eight minutes later, she was off.

Split Lip is shaking himself off like a dog - before he gets out of the water!

Split lip, we didn't get to see up close. He was on a mission and swam across the river. While this isn't a good photo, it shows that the bears swim.

After six days at Madison we were tired of driving an hour over to Fishing Bridge each morning and then again at night, so we moved to Fishing Bridge RV park. It's expensive, but take into account how much driving you save each day it makes more sense. The campground is old and horrible but it looks like they are pulling out the old sites and bringing them up to date. We had 50 amp - yay, which meant we could run everything, including two heaters, although it didn't like it when I added my hairdryer to our already max out array of appliances and it blew the fuse.

Raspberry, she is a bit red isn't she?

Raspberry is a large grizzly who likes the meadows just along from where Fishing Bear lives. It's is where the fires went through a number of years ago and there are lots of fallen trees everywhere. So where does her name come from? apparently she used to stick her tongue out which must mean that you are giving someone the raspberry, must be an American thing!

Blaze with one of her cubs

The main star attraction around here is Blaze and her two cubs. She has a number of meadows that she frequents but that doesn't mean that she is easy to find. We only saw her a few times over the nine days we were there.

Blaze's two cubs
After nine days we moved up to Mammoth as we had mail waiting at the post office and as we unfortunately found out, if you don't collect it in time they return it to the sender! We had the choice of driving around the road works which would take five hours or going through the muddy bumpy roadworks and taking about two hours. We chose the road works which weren't too bad. The roads in Yellowstone are very narrow with no shoulder's, passing one of the work trucks, we nearly went off the edge. I expected the inside of the trailer to be a smozzle, but it wasn't too bad, we had to open the cupboards very slowly to catch whatever was going to fall out.

Artists Point

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12 May 2015

Campground Review - East Yellowstone

Fishing Bridge RV Park

You have to park your truck next to your RV

Why we chose here? The only campground open in the eastern section of Yellowstone

Location: Fishing Bridge, the middle east part of Yellowstone NP

Sites: 346, but loops A to D are under reconstruction in 2015

Facilities: 50amp sites, heated restrooms, showers & laundry near the main office, general store near the gas station out on the road. Gas and diesel prices are not much higher than outside the park. There is another gas station at Canyon, same prices.

Groceries: the general store has a small selection of food and drinks

Reservations: Yes, it's run by Xanterra

Cell Coverage / WiFi: Yes, 4G Verizon

Price Paid: $54.45

Date of visit: May 2015

  • The sites are small and crowded - not a pleasant experience at all, they are upgrading other loops presumably to make the sites bigger
  • Opens approx 8th May to 20th September - see NPS website for up to date info
  • Only allow hard sided trailers

Would we come here again? Yes as it saves 2 hours of driving from Madison each day

small cramped sites

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6 May 2015

Campground Review - West Yellowstone

Madison Campground

Why we chose here? It's the only campground open in the middle section of Yellowstone NP between 1-7 May

Location: 14 miles east of the West entrance of Yellowstone

Sites: 278

Facilities: Restrooms, dump station, dry sites, tables, fire pits

Groceries: West Yellowstone

Reservations: Yes, it's run by Xanterra. We booked by phone to make sure we got the right size.

Cell Coverage / WiFi: None, but you can get Verizon further into the park, especially near Fishing Bridge

Price Paid: $25.66 per night

Date of visit: May 2016

  • The sites are well laid out amongst the pine trees, it's a nice campground
  • The dump station closes when temperatures dip below freezing – it was closed the morning we left.
  • Our campsite looked like a pull through, but you have to back half-way in and then park your truck at the back.
  • We had site A30
Would we come here again? Yes, because it opens before Fishing Bridge

small site

View of the campground

Our site from the other side