Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Time to Go!

All good things must come to an end...tomorrow Bill and I will be back on the road!  What a great summer we've had in Yellowstone, but we are both excited to move on to other adventures.

Here we are back in April, the first rig in the RV park.

 And here we are today, one of the last rigs in the RV Park.  There will be one other employee still here after we leave tomorrow.
We are heading back to Benson, AZ where we will take care of a couple of appointments, before heading east.  I promised my mama we would be home for Thanksgiving, and since we haven't seen Bill's brother and sister in a few years, we will head to south Florida too.  We also have some nice stops planned to visit Yellowstone friends, some we haven't seen in a few years, so it should be a great trip!

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Play Date

Knowing that I'm a "lady of leisure," friends Gene and Joyce invited me on a leisurely hike in the Paradise Valley, a major river valley of the Yellowstone River just north of Yellowstone National Park.

Today's destination was Pine Creek Falls, a short hike that begins at the Pine Creek Trailhead.

After a short easy climb, we reached Pine Creek Falls.  With this much water at this time of year, I had to wonder what it looks like during the spring runoff. 
And here's a picture of our friends, Gene and Joyce.  We are fortunate to have "local" friends who enjoy sharing their local knowledge with us.
After the hike, we enjoyed lunch at Chico Hot Springs, a Montana landmark.  We didn't soak in the hot spring pool today, but my interest was piqued enough so that Bill and I may have to plan an overnight visit.  It was a fun day with good friends.

This morning as Bill walked out to go to work, this is what greeted him.  Beautiful sunrise in Gardiner, MT.
Our RV park is emptying.  I hear that most folks will be leaving this week, so we may have the place to ourselves by the time we leave next Thursday.  We were the first ones here back in April, so it would be fitting for us to be the last to leave.  We are looking forward to getting back on the road!

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Yellowstone Kind of Weekend

Bill and I had a great weekend, playing in our backyard.  We hiked, enjoyed wildlife and even spent an afternoon geyser gazing.  The beautiful weather (and lack of crowds) really make this a great time to get out and enjoy the park.

Our hike was Lava Creek Trail, a 8.5 mile round trip hike that took us out to Undine Falls.  We've seen this waterfall from the roadside pullout, but it was cool seeing it from the other side of the river.

 We always carry bear spray while hiking, and although we have never had to use it, at times we do see evidence that a bear was on the trail.  Check out this bear footprint..and that's my size 8 next to it, to give it some perspective.
There are a few suspension bridges in Yellowstone, here is one crossing the Gardner River.
 We were surrounded by beautiful scenery.
 We spooked a herd of elk and watched them as they ran up the mountain.
 We saw more cool tracks.  It was exciting to know wolves walk along this same trail.
Again, to give perspective, here is Bill's foot alongside the wolf track.
And we saw something we rarely elk antler.  We've always wondered where elk shed their antlers, and it is amazing how heavy these things are.
And we saw more wildlife...this time, a herd of mule deer.
After 4.4 miles, and a pretty good climb, we made it to Undine Falls. 
 As we were enjoying the view, another couple walked up.  Immediately, I knew they didn't come the way we did.  They looked too fresh and weren't sweating a bit.  Turns out, there is a short walk from the Lava Creek Picnic Area.  They said it was about a 10 minute walk.  My first reaction was "dang!"  But I quickly realized, these folks did not see any wildlife or any of the tracks, and that's just some if things that make hiking in Yellowstone so rewarding.

 As Bill and I were enjoying our snack, this raven entertained us with lots of squawking and screeching.

 After a nice break, we headed back towards the trail head.  We were walking along, minding our own business, when we came upon this fellow.  He was hidden by tall grass, and we didn't see him until we were almost on top of him.  Glad he wasn't in a bad mood!
Since Mr. Bison was right along the trail, we had to take a detour off trail.  And we were rewarded for this detour.  Look at this...a complete elk rack.  Again, I can not believe how heavy these things are.  I tried to pick up this one and could get it about 6 inches off the ground.
 Sunday afternoon, we headed to the Upper Geyser Basin, hoping to catch Riverside Geyser and Grand Geyser.  Before leaving the house, we called the "geyser prediction" recording, so we could plan accordingly.  I know sometimes plans don't come together.  Today, however, the geyser gods smiled upon us.

After we waited for about 45 minutes, Riverside Geyser put on a great show, including a rainbow!
After enjoying Riverside, we walked to Grand Geyser.  Here is a nice pool we passed along the way.
Grand was predicted to erupt at 3:15, give or take 1 hour.  This is what it looked like when we got there.  Not too much happening, just a good bit of water flowing from the geyser.
 Close to 4:00, Grand did its thing!  This is my favorite geyser.  It shoots water up to 200 feet in the air, and the eruption lasts 10-12 minutes.

As the eruption was coming to an end, Bill and I started to walk away.  Another geyser gazer told us not to leave yet, so we stopped and watched a little longer.  Who knew a geyser could have two consecutive eruptions?  We had no idea.  So, we watched Grand for a few more minutes.  After this second eruption, we waited a few more minutes, just be sure there wouldn't be a third.

What a fun weekend!  It's hard to believe we have just two weekends remaining, before we'll be on the road again.  Like they say, "Time flies when you're having fun!"


Monday, September 22, 2014

One Heck of a Hike!

Bill and I are settled in at our site in Gardiner.  Bill is working 8:00-5:00 Monday thru Friday, so we have real weekends to enjoy.  I have mentioned our friends, Gene and Joyce, several times in the past.  We met them working in Yellowstone in 2006 and have maintained the friendship, even though they no longer work in the park.

Gene and Joyce have lived in Bozeman for 35 years, so they have a wealth of local knowledge.  So, when Gene asks if we're up for a hike, we know we are in for a treat.  His hikes have never disappointed.  Joyce was unable to join us, so on Saturday, Gene, Bill and I headed out to hike to the top of Ramshorn Peak in the Gallatin National Forest, just outside the north entrance of Yellowstone.

The fall colors are at their peak in this area.  Fall is the perfect time to get out and enjoy the Yellowstone area, provided the nice weather holds.

Today's hike began just beyond this fence.

The aspen were a vibrant gold.  This hike starts out climbing...we will climb 3,000 feet in four miles.

 It wasn't long before we began to have beautiful views.

 And the trail continues to climb.  I let Gene and Bill lead the way, while I took my time following behind them.
We finally made it to the pass.  At this point, we were just beyond the half-way mark.  We took a nice, well-deserved, break before continuing the climb.
 And up we went.....

And here's Bill in the final push to the top....

 When you see a mountain goat along the trail, you know you're way up there.  This was a first for us...very exciting!  We also saw a herd of Big Horn Sheep, but they were too far away for a picture, and a Mountain Lion track along the trail, which was very cool.  (At this point, if a mountain lion came after me, he could have me without a fight...I was about worn out!)

After climbing 3,000 feet, we made it to the top, and here's the picture to prove it!  We are at 10,296 feet elevation.
 We had lunch, relaxed, and enjoyed the 360 degree views around us.  As far as we could see were mountain ranges (Gene could name ten) without one sign of civilization.


Of course, what goes up must come down.  I'm sure you've heard the saying, "you get tired going up, but you get hurt going down."  Thank goodness, we completed the hike with no injuries, although all of us were slipping and sliding on the steep and rocky terrain.

 The views going down were nice too.....
 Here we are heading back to the trailhead...


One last break before getting back to the truck.

Wow!  What a hike!  This is one of the most strenuous hikes Bill and I have done, and I must say the climb was worth it!  OK, Gene, what's up your sleeve for our next outing????

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Back Where We Started

Well, Bill and I are back in Gardiner, MT, just outside the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park.  Bill extended his contract to work with the Computer Center until October 23, so Gardiner will be our home for the next few weeks.  Me?  I'm going to be a lady of leisure...something I have never done.  Friends say I'll last a couple of weeks before going stir crazy.  We'll see....

Yes, it's been a while since I posted.  In fact, it has been exactly one month.  With such slow internet at Canyon this year, every time I tried to post, it became more and more frustrating.  So, I decided to wait until I had decent internet access.  So, let me fill you in...

After a great summer season at Canyon Campground, we closed on Sunday, September 14.  Like every season, this season presented challenges.  With a staff of 26 and lots of different personalities, having everyone get along is always a challenge.  This year was the same as previous years....most folks got along, but some didn't.  One of the beautiful things about seasonal work is it begins, and it ends each year.  Next year will have its own challenges, I'm sure.  Speaking of next year...yes, Bill and I plan to return to Yellowstone for our 9th summer. 

A big event, for me anyway, was turning the big 5-0 in August.  My crew really pulled one over on me.  In Yellowstone, the whole park celebrates Christmas on August 25.  This year, my crew planned a "Christmas in Hawaii."  We all wore Hawaiian shirts (most purchased from thrift stores in local communities).  Unbeknownst to me, this was actually a Hawaii 5-0 birthday celebration for me.  Believe me when I say, I will never forget turning 50 in Yellowstone.  They even arranged for a real "book 'em Danno" moment by having Park Rangers come and "arrest" me.
Bill and I were able to get out in the park and enjoy the beautiful September weather.  The view of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone never gets old.
We were finally able to visit the Midway Geyser Basin, home of Grand Prismatic Hot Spring, without all of the crowds.  September is such a nice time in the park.  We love it when all the kiddos are back in school.

And we paid one last visit to the Upper Geyser Basin, where we watched Old Faithful erupt.  We were hoping to catch some of the other bigger and better geysers, but our timing was off.
Our last hike of the season was Pelican Valley with friends, Lenny and Linda.  There were lots of bison to keep us entertained.

And here we are pulling out of our site at Canyon.  I'm glad to know we'll be back next year.  Plus, I'm glad we'll be in Gardiner for the next 5 weeks.  So, really, we aren't leaving...we're just changing locations.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Our Neighbor to the South

Bill and I decided to take a drive down to Grand Teton National Park.  This park lies just south of Yellowstone, and last year we never made it down there.  We were hoping to see moose, and we have had great luck in previous visits, but today it was not to be.  We still enjoyed the beautiful scenery, however.

Work life continues to go well, except for one couple giving their two weeks notice.  We have one month to go, and they give notice.  Go figure.