Rafting on the Yellowstone River and trip to Helena

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My family travelled to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks - this is what we did and what we enjoyed (and didn't!).

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Breakfast on the banks of the Yellowstone RiverWe were woken at around 7.30 with the call to breakfast. The sun had not yet risen over the mountains and it was still cold having reached around 10C overnight. While wrapped up in our sleeping bags in our tent we'd not really noticed but everyone balked at getting changed back into their swimwear immediately. We therefore went to breakfast in our night clothes (which in this case was actually our normal clothes having anticipated a cold night. Only Callum had been brave enough to undress the night before!). Jeremy and Brogan had coffee ready along with a fabulous breakfast known as Mountain Scramble - a mixture of scrambled egg, minced meat, pepper, onions and potatoes. By the time we'd finished the sun was poking its head over the mountain tips and we steeled ourselves, dressed for the water and climbed gingerly into the boat. The next 4 hours of floating, paddling and riding the rapids was exhilarating. Jeremy was our guide on this leg and guided us through many different rapids.

Most were fairly tame given our group included mainly children and because the water rate at this time of year is slower. Jeremy explained the many features of the river view and we saw Kingfishers, Osprey and a Bald Eagle. He kept the children's excitement with a mythical waterfall that we would be hitting at any moment. Devil's SlideWe saw Electric Peak and Devil's slide which according to legend was created by an epic battle between the devil and a large bear which culminated in the devil sliding down mountain and into the Yellowstone River resulting in a hot spring. The shape of the rock formation was impressive and really looked like a red slide with deep walls on either side. Jeremy said that locals occasionally made extravagant claims such as 'last night I cycled down Devil's Slide'.

Then eventually we came to the climax - Yankee Jim's Canyon (which apparently refers to a old timer who once charged a toll for using the road - illegally as he had no right to do so!) where the river narrows to it's smallest width and the result is a series of great rapids including Yankee Jim's revenge and Big Rock. We got very wet! Eventually it was all over. We climbed out, helped pull the boat onto the trailer and had lunch. Then it was back to the flying pig and farewell to our guides. Thanks to Brogan and Jeremy for a fantastic trip.

Then after a quick trip around Gardiner - not a huge amount to see - a few gift shops and restaurant plus loads of white water rafting shops - we set off to Helena (a stop off point on our way to Glacier National Park). It was a long drive and many of the roads had roadworks including one 5 mile drive on a road with no top layer making the RV shake and us to worry for our poor suspension!

Sunset at Helena MontanaOur destination was the Lincoln Road RV Park just north of Helena. When we arrived at 8.15pm the office was shut and it seemed they didn't have our reservation. Fortunately there were 3 spaces free and a way of placing your reservation when the office was shut. So we booked in and parked the RV in a wonderful sunset. Unfortunately the weather closed in with a very strong wind preventing us from cooking our burgers on the BBQ so we finally relented, moved in doors and cooked and ate our meal with the RV protecting is from the buffeting wind!