National Bison Range

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Bison at the Bison Range

From Yellowstone, it was off to the National Bison Range.  It turned the drive into Glacier National Park into a two day trip but seemed like it was worth it. 

We left by the West exit and followed the Madison River through Montana.  That was much prettier than I expected.  Beautiful scenery for a long time.  We worked our way up to the Interstate and headed to Missoula.  I remembered a Jimmy Buffett song that talked about Missoula but couldn't remember the name. (Miss You So Badly, I remembered.)Montana construction effort

One of the things that struck me about Montana was the speed limits.  Pretty much 70 MPH wherever you drive.  Some of the more crooked roads slow to 55 but not many.  The other thing that impressed me was the road construction.  They seem to always do major jobs where they have flagmen and one way traffic.  It could cause a lot of lost time.

When we left the interstate and headed North, it didn't take long to see what a mess that can be.  I'm used to road construction but this seemed like major rebuilding.  One lane traffic with long waits.  After several miles of this, we came to the turnoff to head to the National Bison Range.  It would have been worth the trouble to visit just to avoid the traffic.

The Bison RangeWe debated whether or not to stop.  We had seen more than a few bison at Yellowstone but only one Pronghorn Antelope.  We also had plenty of time so off we went.  Lunch came from the ice chest and we ate in their picnic area.  The whole area made a nice place for lunch and to relax a bit.  This was the only when our Parks Pass didn't work so we paid and were off.

Fortunately the road is one-way.  Its narrow and dusty.  You start by going up the hill / mountain.  It gives  you a nice view of the valley but isn't real pretty itself.  Maybe it was just the overcast.  The area gets almost no rain so that may be part of it as well.  As you go up and over the mountain, it is kind of interesting but not pretty.  We saw only a few bison.  We saw pieces of the herd in the distance.  We'd heard of bears in the area but didn't see them either.  We were there in early afternoon so may have been lucky to see anything.  We should have gotten there in the morning but after driving from Yellowstone, this was the best we could do.

We did see a few bison.  Some were near the road posing for us.  We also saw several on the hillside in the distance.  Even though we didn't see a lot of bison up close, the whole area is very pretty.  The golden brown plains (I think that's what they were) were very pretty.  They were also a lot different than anything back home.

Pronghorn AntelopeAfter we came off the mountain, there was a herd of antelopes in the road.  That was really what we wanted to see so all was right with the world.  We took several pictures and they didn't seem to mind.  After a while they wandered off and so did we.  They're beautiful animals and were fun to watch.

We left the Bison Range happy and headed off to Polson to spend the night on Flathead Lake.  We stayed at a Best Western and had a room that overlooked the lake.  I was ready for Chinese food but we had pizza delivered instead.  We had wireless internet available so I sent friends some pictures from Yellowstone.  This was our last chance at civilization for a week.  From Polson, it was a relatively short drive to Glacier.