Stuck

A view from our campsite in Limber Pines in Custer-Gallatin National Forest.

We left Livingston, Montana to head to a National Forest Service campsite south of Red Lodge, Montana with no utilities and no cell phone service. After arrival and set up, it began to hail. It looked like miniature snow balls. If it lasted a little longer, we would have been in a winter wonderland.

The next morning we headed off on the Beartooth Highway which traverses the beautiful Absoraka Mountains. This is one of the most amazing scenic highways in the U.S. We stopped to get some pika and marmot pictures but the area was in shadow so the pictures didn’t turn out well.

Scenic view from the Beartooth Highway.

We eventually saw some mountain goats on a scenic overlook. I had been wondering if there were mountain goats in the area and the sighting answered my question. There were 2 adults and 2 kids. We were fortunate to get some video. This was an amazing gift of the day. (The pictures and video will be in the next post.)

Dart loves the snow, so we stopped at a place that had easy snow access. Dart enjoyed it but his age is showing and he wasn’t as exuberant as a couple years ago. We were on a short dirt road that looped around back to the highway. We could back up or go over a short patch of snow. We opted to go forward and once we got stuck in the snow, Regis made a profound statement “That was a mistake.”

Dart and Regis playing in the snow off the Beartooth Highway.
Regis digging snow. We had to move the car back over the way we came. It was not possible to go forward.
Scenic view from the Beartooth Highway near where we got stuck.

I was embarrassed because we have Florida license plates and we were very stuck. It took over two hours to dig ourselves out. We had to solve the problem with less than perfect tools at our disposal. We used a dust pan and a lug wrench to dig out. We have some mats in the back of the car to protect the carpet from dogs and used those and the floor mats to help get traction. We made slow progress until we were a few feet away from victory and could not get the last couple feet.

A few women showed up and asked if we needed help. We asked if they were willing to push and they did. It was just the oomph we need to get through the last few feet. These four women saved the day. Woman rule! We would eventually have made it out, but they saved us a few more hours at least. I adore them.

After that, we lived happily ever after that day. We drove to Cooke City to check out camping options for a future stay. It is at the northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park and in bear country. You must camp in a hard sided vehicle/RV. We got information for a future stay. This is a tough area to access with a motorhome and we now know there are two routes to take and one of them works best coming from the east. We would need to go over the Chief Joseph Highway to the Beartooth Highway into the US Forest Service campgrounds at the northeast entrance to Yellowstone NP. After checking out the campgrounds, we are comfortable doing this on a future trip. Coming from the west, you would need to go through Yellowstone National Park.

Scenic view from the Beartooth Highway.

After spending two hours digging ourselves out of snow and driving the entire Beartooth Highway, we were done when we got back to camp. We were grateful our stuck situation wasn’t worse.

Regis and I are now even. I got the Jeep stuck in a swamp a year and a half ago and now Regis got the Jeep stuck along the Beartooth Highway. It was under a similar situation in that we were on a road with a form of water ahead and believed it was not that deep since it was a road. My Florida swamp situation was easier to get out of but hard to clean afterwards. Getting the Jeep stuck in the snow was harder to get out of, but not as messy to clean. Dart slept the entire adventure.

Mountain stream near Limber Pines campground.
Scenic view from a USFS road in the Custer-Gallatin National Forest.

For those who are a little stressed and would like a zen moment, following are two videos of a mountain creek.

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