Phew…writing this on Tuesday afternoon when returning to work after long and exciting 3 day weekend in Montana. Best highlights of the trip for those who don’t wan’t to read the novel I’m about to write goes like this: Billings downtown is crazy, people are amazing and extremely friendly, Yellowstone is absolutely gorgeous with tons of Bison, Thest Bison are extremely…bold & friendly and walk through middle of roads and even participate in mating season in front of park guests, & finally Boat tours and Whitewater rafting in Yellowstone is incredible.
Now, I’m going to try to break down the trip day by day in detail:
Friday(August 31st, 2012):
Left work around 3:30 to catch the 5:00 pm flight to Denver. As soon as landing in Denver, met up with Shivan in the United Club East. First experience in Airline club turned out to be exciting and downed 3 White Russians and a Blue Moon in about an hour. From there, got on flight from Denver to Billings, landing in Billings about 30 mins late around 10 pm. Got a rental car in Billings and went straight to Shivan’s hotel – Hilton garden Inn to put away bags and get ready to go out in Downtown Billings. Went to couple of brewery/bar deals in downtown which had cheap $2 beers and Casinos inside the bars. Me and Shivan chilled for a bit & downed a brew or three while Shivan gave a tour of the cool bars around. Around 11:30, left to pick up Aneesh from the airport and came straight back to the bars downtown. Moved around to a couple bars until we settled on one bar that Shivan recommended. Met a local at the bar who was really chill and bought all 3 of us shots while giving us advice for what to do in Yellowstone and how to avoid bears. Soon after, went outside in this bar to find a group of young kids dressed in Jabbawockeez masks with a boombox set up on the street dancing and asking for tips. Saw these random kids dance with some of the bar patrons joining in for about 30 mins until Aneesh almost got in a fight and then bounced to the next bar. Next, checked out a placed called Rainbow Bar(no homo) that actually sold mini liquor bottles behind the bar…genius idea. After Rainbow bar, we were pretty drunk so headed back to the hotel to pass out. Passed out pretty soon after getting back while watching Harold and Kumar Christmas and got ready for ‘rents to arrive next morning around 10 and head over to Yellowstone.
Saturday(September 1st, 2012):
Woke up around 10:30 when rents arrived to the Hotel. Went down and had an amazing breakfast in the Hilton while chatting with the rents then headed out to grab groceries and head to Yellowstone. Took a super scenic route to Yellowstone through Bear Tooth Pass where we went up 10,000 feet in elevation and had an amazing lookout. (Insert Pic here) Kumud Mami was literally shitting her pants at this point because she is super afraid of heights and driving on a narrow road without railings did not help the cause. After the awesome drive and stopping every 10 mins for pictures, we ended up pulling up to a lookout lower on the peak that had a river you could wade into. Naturally, started throwing around the pigskin by the river and as soon as the games started, the football was in the water minutes later. Me and Ketan had to set up a rescue mission the river where we cornered the ball from both sides before it floated off into the rapids and was lost forever. Lucklly, we were able to retrieve the ball and minor hiccup aside, we continued on towards Yellowstone to check out some more scenic lookouts. After getting into the park, we stopped at a couple of spots to take some pictures, the coolest of which being an awesome waterfall which we had to hike down (& up) 2 miles to get to see. INSERT FALLS PIC here. As soon as we came up from the falls, it started to pour rain and sleet so we all piled into the cars and headed for the Lake Lodge to check in. Upon arriving at the lodge, checked in right away and ran to the rooms to make some sandwiches since we had not eaten all day since breakfast. Chowed down on some sammies in the room and drank a couple brews then the bacchas headed for the lobby to grab some more drinks and check out the bar. By this time, we were all completely wiped out and the drink prices were not exactly cheap, so me Aneesh and Ketan got a drink each and then headed back to the room right after. We were able to find out that BYOB was acceptable in the lobby so we were set on getting a bottle of liquor and lots of brews to the lobby when we returned the next night.
Woke up around 10 and headed to the Cafeteria in the lobby to grab some breakfast. Had a big hearty breakfast and set out for a day of adventuring the park. First stop was a quick 1 mile hike which went by a beach and lots of forest. Stopped at the beach to have a full photoshoot with jumping pics etc. and tossed around the pigskin. INSERT BEACH PICTURE HERE. From there, walked around and lazily finished the hike while taking waaay too many pictures along the way. Got back to the car and decided we were going to go check out Old Faithful – aka biggest and oldest geyser in the whole park. Otw to Old Faithful, stopped off at some smaller mud flats and geysers we saw along the way that lay on top of ‘Thin Crust’ – which just made everyone hungrier since we had taken a long hike. After quick stop for geyser, we made another stop for Sandwiches lunch at a Picnic spot with next stop being Old Faith himself. Got to O.F. just in time for Geyser explosion and sat and watched the geyser bubble and shoot white hot steam and water all over everyone for a quick 5-10 mins. After this, had some time to kill so checked out Old Faithful Inn and hung out in there while grabbing some coffee and just exploring the gift shops and inn that were built in the 1800s. After chilling there for a bit, decided to head out to another awesome BlackSmith geyser that was on a list of ‘Top 10 things to Do in Yellowstone.’ This geyser was awesome because it allowed you to get right up to the steam and be able to put your hand (illegally) in the hot water while getting real close. After getting burnt out on geysers, we decided to head to a different lookout point for the falls from Saturday so Shivan could get his picture perfect moment. Over there, grabbed a lot more pics of the falls, with a couple of hilarious anomaly pictures mixed in. Oversaturated with nature and pictures in general, we then decided to head to back to the hotel and get changed real quick so we could come back and grab dinner in the cafeteria before it closer. Got some delicious grub in the Caf before heading out to the lobby with beer and liquor bottles we had found earlier equipped in hand, ready to do it BIG that night. Hung out with rents and played cards for an hour or two while they got buzzed and were ready to pass out, then the real fun started. As soon as the rents bounced, started taking swigs straight out of the Yellowstone Bourbon bottle we had found earlier and moved onto more fun card games like Fuck the Dealer. Got somewhat inebriated after a couple games of FTD so we decided to head out to the porch to smoke a few cigars(also picked up earlier at Old Faithful Inn). When I said, this is when the fun started earlier…the fun actually did not start till this point. Within minutes of hanging outside and smoking cigars, we were approached by Bison which apparently had no problems roaming around the lodge chock full of people. The bison got literally within 10 feet of us, and we even saw a Bison get on it’s hind legs and go full out Sandusky onto another Bison(as mentioned in the summary). As if this wasn’t crazy enough, while smoking the cigars we saw some lights flashing across Yellowstone lake where we knew there was no inhabitable, which we later found out was an SOS call that we completely ignored. Following this ridiculous run of events, we didn’t know what to do but to go pound more bourbon and knock out our initial goal of finishing the bottle before the end of the night. This did not take long and we were soon done with the bourbon and moving onto beers from the cooler. We stayed at the lodge till about 1:30 when we were kicked out by the Security guard who had to close up shop, but we weren’t done drinking yet so we headed back to the porch to continue the shenanigans. It was at this point that we found out that the lights across the lake was an SOS since we saw police lights flashing in the same point where we had seen the SOS literally 20 minutes later. This led to the night being sworn in secrecy and not shared with anyone. The night eventually ended with us hanging out on the porch shooting the shit and having general drunk convos until we got too cold and decided to go pass out. Got to our cabins and passed out right away, completing our goal of knocking out the bottle of bourbon with no problems.
Note: Omitted from Saturday –
- Boat tour in the morning before the hike
- Bison stampede before heading back to the lodge for dinner
Woke up lazily after getting pretty hammered the night before, but suprisingly not hungover at all. Went to the lodge in the morning because Shivan had lost his camera(surpise surprise) and to check out. Camera found, headed out to lookout point next to the hotel to have some PB&J breakfast sandwiches and check out the lodge hotel. Post hotel, went out to a trail we wanted to hike before heading out of Yellowstone. Trail was about 4 miles long and pretty amazing with lots of beautiful scenery, lakes and amazing lookouts over the canyon and waterfall(INSERT LOOKOUT PICTURE HERE). The hike finally ended at a stop called artist point where there was an amazing lookout of the famous waterfall where we hung out for a bit and took some more anomaly pics…Actually, took the best anomaly pic of them all (INSERT ANOMALY PIC HERE) before heading out on the road to get out to our whitewater rafting appointment. Before the whitewater tour, stopped real quick to grab some ice-cream and water refills, then headed out of yellowstone. Got to Montana Whitewater and quickly changed into swimming gear got a quick briefing before heading out onto the river and rapids. Rapids were pretty fun and whitewater tour overall was pretty awesome with a lot of level 3 & 4 rapids but nothing as intense or lifethreatening as rapids in Alaska. After 3 hour whitewater tour, got recommendations from tour guide about best restaurants around Whitewater shop and got recommendation for a cool place called LightHouse cafe. Food at lighthouse cafe was incredible with some great Steak, Lamb, and Buffalo burgers and was well deserved as first full meal that wasn’t sandwiches. After great feast that included amazing dessert as well, started the 3 hour drive back to Billings, with Aneesh driving the whole way. Drive was fun because we hooked up Donald Glover standup to AUX and set up tablet on dashboard of car so we had hater vision while driving. Post drive, the Dattas checked into their hotel and Pandes headed back to our hotel from Friday night and passed out soon after checking out some pictures. Woke up next morning to take early 6 am flight back to Dallas via Denver and that was the end of an amazing Montana weekend!