GARDINER - With US Highway 89 closed for about a day, Gardiner residents and tourists found themselves isolated, but now the focus shifts to getting people out.
“They are effectively cut off from any in or out,” said Park County Sheriff Brad Bichler.
For Missoula resident, Alex Hughes his annual trip to Yellowstone has been one unlike any other.
“It just looks like a giant torrential chocolate milkshake, hundreds and hundreds of huge trees floating down yesterday,” Hughes said. “We had a whole week planned in Yellowstone and the Tetons but were not going to do that now.”
Michelle Holihan — a Gardiner resident who lives along the banks of the Yellowstone River — says Monday was filled with tense moments.
“It was scary because were watching on the opposite side of the river the bank crumbling and crumbling in,” said Holihan.
As the town went into isolation on Monday, Hughes says residents and tourists seemed to stay calm.
“The water treatment had some contamination issues and then it was turned off but it was for a very short period of time so there was a little more unease in the air when that happened,” Hughes told MTN News.
While isolated, Gardiner has stood strong.
“I’ve never seen anything like this of course with all the flooding, but the town itself has been fine,” said Hughes.
The Yellowstone River has drawn curious locals and tourists to the river as they recorded dramatic videos of houses being swallowed by the river.
“There has been a lot of people down by the river watching the Yellowstone itself,” said Hughes.
As Highway 89 opened for local access minutes before talking to Hughes started packing, "we’re going to pack up and go."
But locals like Holihan are staying put to wait and see, "I'm going to stay. We need to find out what's going to happen with work."
At the entrance of Yellowstone, what is next for Gardiner is unknown.
“The park is our livelihood and now we're not going to be able to access it for who knows how long. We don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Holihan.