Yee Haw! Montana RoundupPosted: July 11, 2012
Hey folks! If you’re wondering why I haven’t posted in a week and a half, you obviously didn’t read my last post. (Ha, just kidding.) But if you did, then you know I went to Montana for a friend’s wedding, followed by a few days in Yellowstone National Park. It was an amazing trip with truly unbelievable sights. If you’ve never been to that part of the country, book a trip. Now. And remember to pack your camera and your appetite. Here’s a small sampling of some of the food and scenery I experienced. (I say some because I didn’t have my camera with me at every meal, so a few things like the smoked bison & elk jalapeno cheddar bratwurst didn’t get photographed. But believe me, I’m going to remember them fondly. Along with the Arby’s roast beef sandwich I ate on the road. But that’s another story.)
One afternoon we rode horses through this spectacular valley in northern Yellowstone. It was literally my second time on a horse — and the first time I was a small kid and just sat there. So it was kind of a big deal. My horse was named Senior, and he even had a small mustache. (Ole!) After the ride, they treated us to a genuine Cowboy Cookout, complete with grilled steak, potato salad, cole slaw, a corn medley, awesome corn bread muffins and incredible ranch-style beans. I loved that it was served on an aluminum plate. It got me nice and full for the horseback ride back to the corrals.
Since my friends & I had never been to Yellowstone, we figured some organized tours would be the best way to get a good look at the park, and we were right. One of the tours took us around the entire park in a day, giving us a glimpse at all the major sights, including Old Faithful. We scarfed down a quick lunch so we made sure we were ready to see the geyser erupt. But even a fast meal deserves a little pick-me-up, so along with a pre-made ham & cheese croissant sandwich, I sipped on Old Faithful Ale, a golden beer that was crisp and flavorful and very drinkable. There are a ton of great beers brewed in that area — my favorite was Bent Nail IPA.
That’s a pretty spectacular sight, right? So to celebrate, we got ice cream. Huckleberry is a flavor found all over those parts so simply I had to try the Old Faithful Inn’s huckleberry ice cream. It was sweet and tart and a beautiful lavender color.
Our last night in Montana, we stayed in Bozeman, a kinda quaint, kinda hip college town. At the suggestion of our newly married friends, we had dinner (and many beers) at Montana Ale Works.
Rather than eat another bison burger (I already had 3 that week), I went for the Montana meatloaf, which was also made with bison along with beef & pork, and the whole thing was wrapped in bacon. (I know, right??) It was served with incredibly soft mashed potatoes and caramelized onion gravy. I also got a side of their baked beans, which had giant bits of pork in it. I swear, if the TSA laws allowed it, I would have carried on a vat of those beans. Smoky and saucy and porky … my mouth is watering just thinking about them.
Okay, so the photo above isn’t food-related, but this sign made us all laugh. There’s no thin crust pizza in Yellowstone, but there’s a lot of thin crust — that is, areas of the earth where the ground is so thin that you could fall through. So watch where you step.
This one’s also not food-related (at least I hope he didn’t get turned into a burger) but this big guy wandered around our cabins the entire time we were there. We named him Norm. He seemed friendly enough, at least from a difference. I’ll miss him.
Lastly, a big CONGRATS to my friends Chris & Melissa! Thanks for inviting us all to such a beautiful place to watch you guys get hitched. It was touching and fun and amazing and so incredibly special. So maybe we can all celebrate your first anniversary under a Big Sky too? Ehh? Whaddya say???