the wandering chick
...Three days on the 287
through Texas, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana

Highway 287 starts in Port Arthur, Texas and runs almost 1800 miles, southeast to northwest, ending in Choteau, Montana. I picked it up just outside Forth Worth, Texas, on a trip to Seattle. The journey took five days by car, the first three days on the 287.

Despite the relentless rain that kept me from even getting my camera out of the bag on the first day, it was an incredible trek and one I'd recommend for those who like to avoid the sometimes tedious interstates.

The highlight of the 287 is through the Grand Teton and Yellowstone. Even though the speed limit drops to 45 mph, it's worth the time to enjoy the scenery of these two outstanding national parks.

I was fortunate that the weather, which had been nothing but rain the first day and half the second, held on Day Three, the day I traveled from Dubois, Wyoming to Missoula, Montana. To get to Seattle, I was sad to depart from the 287 in Missoula and head west.

Highway 287 is partly four-lane divided and sometimes two-lane undivided. The road is in excellent condition, and even on a holiday weekend, the traffic was light.

Rockies from a distance
I was on Day 2 and in Colorado when I finally was able to get the camera out and get some shots. Heading north toward Denver, I took this shot and the one to the left.
closeup of snow-covered mountain peak
barn scene
clouds of all colors
The morning of Day 3, north of Denver, on Oxford Road. Looking west toward the Rocky Mountain National Park
There are no mountain peaks in this shot; I was just impressed with the various colors of the clouds. Taken south of Denver
church along side the road
barn and mountains in the distance
Virginia Dale is a community of around 1500 people on the 287 in Colorado, just a few miles from the Wyoming border. Its history began in the 1860s as a stage station. A few buildings, including the one in the picture below, still remain from the old days. Church services are held each Sunday in the community church.
Heading north on the 287 in Colorado, looking west toward the Rocky Mountain NP mountains
abandoned cafe and post office, Virginia Dale, CO
foothills under gray skies
The post office/cafe in Virginia Dale is one of only a handful of structures left from its heyday.
It's not long on Day 3 before the rains start up again. During a break, I'd try to capture some of the Wyoming landscape. Even with gray skies, the beauty is evident. This and the next two shots were taken along the section of 287 referred to as Split Rock.
Wyoming landscape in the rain
Wyoming landscape
Wyoming landscape in the rain
Wyoming landscape in the rain
The next few shots were taken along the Highway 287 in Wyoming between Rawlins and Dubois.
landscape entering Grand Teton NP
Wyoming landscape in the rain
Wyoming landscape in the rain
Wyoming landscape in the rain
Wyoming landscape in the rain
Wyoming landscape in the rain
moose closeup
I was ecstatic to wake up the morning of Day 3 in Dubois and see sunshine. It held all day, my best picture-taking day. This shot was taken on the 287 just outside the Dubois city limits headed north.
the Tetons in the distance
The Togwotee Pass offers the first glimpse of the Teton Mountains.
the Teton Mountain range
The Grand Teton Mountain
Once inside the Grand Teton National Park, a wonderful view of the range can be seen reflected in the water at the Oxbow Bend turnout.
Teton mountain
The Tetons with ranch in foreground
the Teton Mountain Range
It's hard to admit that I zoomed through Yellowstone faster than a raging buffalo, but I did stop to eat an avocado and watch a herd graze along the riverbank. Had I not been here before, I would have definitely had to add many, many days to this trip.
bison closeup
bison in river water
bison in water
landslide results at Hebgen Lake
landslide results at Hebgen Lake
On August 17, 1959 after a few hundred campers had just settled in in several campgrounds along the Hebgen Lake and Madison River in Gallatin County, Montana, a devestating 7.3 earthquake created landslides and destruction that would take the lives of 28 people. A new lake, as a result of the disaster, was formed and appropriately named Earthquake Lake, seen in these photos.The ruin is still evident today, but the portion of the 287 that had been completely wiped out has since been repaired. A visitor center just off the Highway 287 captures the horrific scene through videos, pictures and exhibits.
Earthquake Lake
Earthquake Lake
cattle herders on the job
cattle herders on the job
Cattle herders and long narrow roads into the hills make up the beauty of the Montana landscape.
Montana landscape
along highway 395
along highway 395
For a short distance, maybe 15 miles, I left the Highway 287 and traveled this Montana Highway 395. It was just as scenic, and I stopped along side the road atop a hill to get these remaining shots.
along highway 395
along highway 395
along highway 395
I-90 landscape in Montana
Links to other groups of photos of Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Montana, Colorado and Wyoming can be found below.
Reluctantly, I left the beautiful backroads and hit the Interstate 90 to head west. This shot was taken outside Missoula.

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