Friday, June 28, 2013


Howdy folks! Look what we did on one of the warmest, most beautiful evenings of this season so far!
We went-a-giddy-up!
Doesn't James especially look the part? He'd wanted to get some real cowboy boots for a while (ever since we got a Texan mailing address.... ;) and when we arrived at our neighbours, the Double P Ranch, for our (complementary!) ride he bought a pair of used ones they sell at the barn.
None in my size, unfortunately, because they were only $35!

The ride was a lot of fun (for the first half) and we were so lucky with the weather since it had rained for 3 days solid until this very morning!

We went on a trail half way up the mountain from were we had a nice view looking back at the ranch and the Lions Head Mountain behind it.

From there we split up in 2 groups, one being the 'fast' group and one the 'slow pokes'. We ended up in the former thanks to James who wanted a little more action, thank you very much dear, and from there things went (literary) downhill!
Well, lets say, I managed to stay on and not embarrass myself but it's been a week now and although I can sit again I still walk with difficulty! 
The next morning we went for a Sunday drive around Hebgen Lake and had breakfast at a highly recommended local 'hot spot'.
It's one of the smallest, coziest cabins you've ever seen and the food is very, very good!
We split some delicious french toast and a huge plate of chicken fried steak.

While eating you enjoy a nice view of Cabin Creek that flows right in front of the cabin. The very friendly owner offered to take our picture outside:

Afterwards we kept following the road around the Lake.
This is Hebgen Lake as seen from an area where in 1959 a fairly big earthquake brought down a complete mountainside and buried a small campground and everybody in it. Horrible.

We continued our drive over a small pass down into the Missouri Flats towards Henrys Lake.


The Madison River

The weather wasn't very nice this morning so the pictures are a little gloomy but it was a beautiful area.
We'll probably be back at one of these lakes to do some fishing later in the season!
Henrys Lake

James has been working steadily on the bathrooms at the park. He got a little help during the demolition and framing but has been doing most of it by himself. Not that he minds, there's very little space and most don't know much about building so it takes a lot of time to explain and show them (and correct at times).


It does slow things down though and with the busy season starting he's now scrambling to finish it up, making lots of over-hours and probably going to work through the coming weekend!

Installing the plywood (after adjusting electricty and plumbing)

Covering a niche outside to enlarge the  handicapped bathroom on the inside

We've got 2 different kinds of swallows here at the moment that are all very busy building nests and sitting on eggs.
I'm pretty sure these are Cliff Swallows:

Their gourd shape nests are build entirely out of mud and saliva.
A whole colony has made their home here under the eaves of the maintenance shed.

 And the following are Barn Swallows:

I think this is the female, the male is supposed to have a buff underside unless these are a (Eurasian) subspecies who both have white bellies.
They build their nest on top of a night light of the group-pavilion opposite of our RV.
I left some raw wool and cotton out for them on the barb wire and they quickly snatched it up to line their beautiful round little nest with it.
Earlier this spring I saw this pair of tree swallows but I haven't seen them since. 
'Nough for today, me thinks. Here's some sunsets for 'the end'.

This is actually the super-moon rising a couple of days ago!

And in contrary to the previous pics that were from the eastern sky right in front of us, this is the side at our back where the sun actually 'went under' . 
Doesn't it look like there's a forest fire?


Friday, June 21, 2013

Just when you think you've seen it all you decide to take a day trip to the Grand Teton National Park and you're blown away all over again by the beauty of this region!

Again, we picked the most gorgeous, sunny day to do this, not a cloud in that sky!

After entering Yellowstone Park via the West entrance again we drove south to the North entrance of the Tetons.

Passing the 'Moose Falls' in the Lewis River:

And our first peak of Jackson Lake with the Teton Range as a stunning background:

We took a little hike around the historic Jackson Lake Lodge. These are The Willow Flats where you can often see wildlife:

Unfortunately no animals were present but the view was incredible enough to make up for it.

         South teton, Middle Teton, Grand Teton and Tweeninot Mtn. 

Since the Tetons have no foothills there's not much that obstructs your view.    

Grand Teton, 13770 feet

Fields of lupine color the, aptly named, 'Lupine Meadows' in front of the 'Grand Teton' mountain, a beautiful blue.

At other places the Camas Lily (on the right) provides almost the same color. 
This bulb was a favorite and important food source of the Nez Perce Indians who inhabited this area.

We drove up the 5 mSignal Mountain Summit Road for a peak of the Snake River that winds it's way through the valley that's called 'Jackson Hole'.

The slopes of the top of the mountain were completely covered with arrowhead Balsamroot.

A beautiful spot for a nice lunch and to stretch our, and Sadie's, legs.  
Can you believe it, it was almost too warm to sit in the sun!

Down the mountain again we headed towards Jenny Lake and drove the small one-way scenic road that skirts the lake.

By now, the afternoon wind was picking up so we missed out on any of the beautiful lake reflections that I had seen pictures off and had wanted to see for myself. Oh well. Maybe next time!

This elk cow actually had a very tiny newborn calf with her but it was lying down and didn't get up until we had to drive away because of traffic behind us.

 Leaving the park we came back through Jackson (a town we will leave for another time to visit) and took the, in parts very steep (10%!), Teton pass (8431') towards Victor and eventually Rexburg.

We took care of our monthly grocery shopping spree at the Rexburg Walmart.  Unfortunately this is not a 'Super' Store so we also had to go to the next door Albertsons.  I hate to go to 2 different stores!
Anyhow, it took us 2 1/2 hours! Holy cow!
It made for a very long day!

Talking about cows, while we were gone the ranch next door moved their cows into 'our' meadow for the summer season. As you can see they look right into our rig!

Very country!

Merlin (bottom right) is not too sure about them!


Thursday, June 13, 2013


They finally opened up the Dunraven Pass at the North Loop in Yellowstone so on another beautiful day we got up early and passed the West entrance at 7.30 in the morning.
We first wanted to visit the Lamar Valley in the North East of the park which is famous for seeing lots of wildlife. The earlier you can get there the better though and it would take us about 2 hours just to get there!

Since we'd seen the first part of the road already we drove straight through but I had to stop to take some pictures of the Washburn Range from the road between Norris and Mammoth Hot Springs.
Just gorgeous

A little farther down the road a small herd of bison was crossing and we finally saw the first babies.
They're so cute, it's hard to believe they grow up to be so big and bulky!

The Undine Falls, just passed Mammoth Hot Springs is a pretty little three-tiered waterfall falling about 100 feet down on Lava Creek.
Next is a view towards The Gallatin National Forrest, with the Yellowstone River down below.

See the 'fuzz' in the middle of the picture? If you look close you see it in all my pictures at the moment.
Reason being: scratches on the lens! Darn! Probably caused by some sand or so and the fact that I have to 'help' the shutter to open fully with my finger since it gets stuck every now and than.
I'll see if I can find a new lens at EBay but I'm actually also thinking of getting something with a little more zoom so maybe it's time to shop for a whole new camera! Yeah!
Just passed Tower Roosevelt we spotted some Elk. So far we've seen no young ones amongst them yet. I can see they're probably a little later than the bison, they look a lot less robust!

Around mid morning we reached the Lamar Valley.This is the winter range for the elk and bison.
It's also the spot to see wolves but but they're usually only seen from afar and most people bring huge telescope lenses and spotting scopes to catch a glimpse of them!

An interpretive sign along the road says the valley is often called the 'Eden' of the United States due to so many animal species living here together.
It reminds me of pictures of the African Serengeti I've seen, just with different animals.


Bison and pronghorn grazing together

              OK, this is very far away but it IS a wolf! Cool!

Pronghorns again. They looked very pregnant!

See what I mean?

Time for a little lunch. Nice view eh?

While we were there we drove the couple of miles  to the East entrance of the Park and turned around again. Just for fun :)

These little Uinta Ground Squirrels were all over the picnic areas. Hey, free (fast) food!

Time for some more falls. This one's the famous Tower Fall, 132 feet, named for the eroded volcanic pinnacles or 'towers' found at the top of the falls.

The famous painting of these falls by Thomas Moran played a crucial role in the establishment of Yellowstone Park in 1872.

We finally reached the Dunraven Pass (8859'). Being prime habitat for Grizzly bears we'd hoped to spot one but no such luck.

Just this big old bison (sorry for the 'fuzziness')

Our last stop of the day was 'The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone,' on the other side of the pass, just passed Canyon Village.
This canyon is approximately 24 miles long, between 800 feet (244m) and 1,200 feet (366m) deep and between one quarter of a mile (.45 km) and three quarters of a mile (1.2 km) wide. (in case you were just dying to know :)
The canyon is a classic V-shaped valley, indicative of river-type erosion rather than glaciation. Today it is still being eroded by the Yellowstone River.

The colors in the canyon are also a result of  alteration by water. The rhyolite in the canyon contains a variety of different iron compounds.  Exposure to the elements caused the rocks to change colors. The rocks are oxidizing; in effect, the canyon is rusting.
The colors indicate the presence or absence of water in the individual iron compounds.

We drove the North Rim Drive which leads to overlooks of Lower Falls, 308 feet, and walkways along the canyon's rim.
The Lower Falls is often described as being more than twice the size of Niagara, although this only refers to its height and not the volume of water flowing over it.

Most of the yellows in the canyon, as seen below, are also the result of iron present in the rock rather than, as many people think, sulfur.

Well, here's to the end of another beautiful day in Yellowstone.

This huge cloud just caught the last rays of sunshine of
a perfect day on it's top.