The 1.8-million acre Gallatin National Forest is located in South central Montana, not far from the Northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park. We set out on a day hike through the Petrified Forest area.
Above and below: I made some new friends!
In the top center is our eventual destination, at approximately 9,000 feet above sea level. The hike itself wasn’t strenuous, but I was already feeling the effects of the higher base elevation, so this 2-mile hike with its 11-13% grade made me feel like a bit of an old lady.
We kept our eyes peeled for petrified wood. I was told that this isn’t it. Bummer, since it’s quite majestic. Maybe it’s a petrified rhino?
I didn’t realize that there are petrified tree trunks in this photo until I was rooting around online and discovered that this family had taken the same hike and spotted tons of examples. Look carefully at the verticals coming out of the rock:
Getting closer to our goal:
Petrified wood? No, quartz crystals:
Once we reached our crazy rock, the usual hijinks ensued:
The view from the precipice with a bit of snow in the distance:
You can read a bit more about this hike here, and also learn about the vast Gallatin National Forest, which is truly enormous and encompasses the Gallatin, Madison, Bridger, Crazy, Absaroka, and Beartooth Ranges.