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Close to Open–Yellowstone Park

The NE entrance will be open on May 11th, they say.  We’re always the last for the Park to plow and I’m not sure why.  Its only a nine mile stretch and a heck of a lot easier to plow than the east entrance over Sylvan Pass.  Must be politics and economics driving the decisions. I had to see for myself today the snow pack left.  Besides, I was hoping to purchase a fishing license at the Crandall store.  So a friend and I took a ride.

Before we got too far, the Switchback Ranch on the other side of the Clark’s Fork was flying all their summer supplies over.  Unbelievably, there really is no access to this ranch from Clark, which is on that side of the canyon.  If you drive to the desert and up to the mouth of the Clark’s Fork Canyon, there’s a primitive (and I mean PRIMITIVE) jeep road that goes along the river’s edge.  At the 4 mile mark, the road climbs the side of the canyon in switchbacks–thus the name of the ranch.  I’ve been at the base of the climb, but not up it.  I understand that even in an ATV you do 3-point turns at every corner, and its’ a hairy scary ride.  The road itself along the river is more like driving in a dry riverbed, rough for even an ATV.

Look at the green area. That's the ranch across the canyon

The previous owner was connected with Ford Motor Co., a man named Bugas.  Bugas owned a lot of property in my basin as well.  The current owner is David Leuschen, a Wall Street Mogul.  Oddly enough when I first purchased my property I had a client in California whose husband is a trader.  While I was designing and installing their garden, he was over here on a retreat at the Switchback.

Because of the treacherous and arduous and impossible access to the Ranch, all the major supplies are flown over.  Their base is a forest service knoll by the highway, directly across from the Ranch.  The supplies are attached to a helicopter and flown over the Clark’s Fork Canyon, a thousand feet below.

Returning for a new load

All the gas and diesel fuel for the year are carried over in several passes

Catching the free line and ready to attach. A flatbed worth of seed

1500 pounds of seed in that sack.

Off it goes to the Ranch. The whole process there and back just takes about five minutes.

It’s a beautiful place but no matter how much money I had, I wouldn’t want my supplies and friends flown in.  The old Wright ranch on the Bench used to have a zip line across the creek and that was how you’d get over there.  Now there’s a bridge, but that’s up the road near Crandall.

For all of you thinking of trying to get into the Park early, I’d say not this week.  We got pretty far, but the snow was still over the road at around Lolo Pass.  Up on the Beartooth, you can drive quite a ways, but not as far as the lake yet.  The run-off though is beginning.  This is Beartooth creek taken from the road.

Spring runoff in the Beartooth is beginning

And a moose grazing happily undisturbed

Beartooth Cow Moose amidst last years logged area in Aspens

And home in my front yard

Buck with nubby antlers in front yard

Unfortunately, the Crandall store didn’t have their fishing licenses in yet.  Guess I’ll just have to go for another ride next week.

One Response

  1. How interesting, the things money can buy! But like you, I wouldn’t want my supplies and friends flown in.


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