Friday, August 24, 2012

About That DuBois, Wyoming (August 19 - September 24)

Dear Family and Friends,

Howdy from DuBois, Wyoming! We are now outside a small town of 1,000 people in the winter months, that swells in the summertime (for the fishing), where "cowboying" is a major, local interest.

 Our final Sunday in Yellowstone was spent on a bike ride in the Yellowstone Park and getting ready for Monday's early morning departure from Grizzly RV Park.

What a beautiful ride in the park along the Madison River. We will miss Yellowstone.

We left Yellowstone early Monday morning, hoping to beat the traffic across the park. Our route to DuBois, Wyoming took us roughly 70 miles through Yellowstone. With a 6:30 entrance at the West Yellowstone gate, we did very well until we met a huge herd of bison moving along a major road in the park. There were roughly 50 in the herd, including many calves. This challenge (you had to go very slowly because the bison meandered from one side of the road to the other) took us an additional hour. What an opportunity to see these animals!

We finally made it through the herd of bison and continued on the road to the east exit of Yellowstone.

Finally we reach the East Entrance to Yellowstone!
That was a three hour drive because of the bison herd.

Our drive outside of the park (roughly four hours) to Dubois was beautiful with majestic rock formations. We drove through the Wind River Canyon, and basically followed the Wind River to DuBois. The pics below were taken out our front window.

Our first morning (Tuesday) at the Wind River RV resort revealed a magical surprise. Across the river from our site was a Bald Eagle looking for his breakfast. Searching for Bald Eagles has been one of our  hobbies since we began touring the Pacific Northwest. Though we had been in some eagle areas, we had not spotted one. Finally:

On Wednesday, Roger and I toured several museums in DuBois. The first was the historical museum where we learned about the history of the area.

A display of the animals in the area.

I am so glad that I never had to teach many grades in a one room school house.

 The teacher began the day with Latin, then History, English, Geometry and Algebra. School was out by 1:30.

Roger is standing in front of the tie-hack cottage. We learned that tie-hack is the name given to the men who cut the middle ties for the train tracks out of trees. These tie-hacks helped to establish DuBois.

Our next stop was The National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Museum. The Dubois area is home to the largest concentrated herd of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep in the country. The Center offered information about the history, as well as management and research of these beautiful animals.

This area is a mecca for geologists interested in studying the "painted rocks" in the area. The view below is seen from the entrance to Big Horn RV resort and our site for the next two weeks. The green Cottonwood trees line the Wind River.

On Thursday we headed off to Grand Teton National Park, located 50 miles from Dubois. The park was dedicated in 1929. After seeing some of the sights in the park, we headed to Jackson Hole for lunch. This was our second time in the area and it is still incredibly gorgeous. Jenny Lake remains my favorite lake.

 Mt. Moran supports several glaciers. You can see one in this pic.

Grand Teton Mountain

One of my favorite lakes, Jenny Lake. It is as beautiful as any seen in Europe.

Thank you for taking the time to look at our blog. We appreciate your interest in our travels. Next week will find us remaining in DuBois at Wind River RV. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

About That Yellowstone (August 12 - 18)

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello from the first national park (established March 1, 1872), Yellowstone! Our trip from Missoula to West Yellowstone was uneventful and we arrived at Grizzly RV on Monday afternoon. We stayed there because it was only a mile to the West Yellowstone entrance. Covering 2.2 million square miles, the park is massive to explore, so we had to pick and choose the sights. Our first trip to Yellowstone was in 1997, when we got to see Old Faithful. This time we were quite anxious to explore more of this beautiful park.

 As you can tell from the picture below, the drive to West Yellowstone was beautiful.

Upon arriving in West Yellowstone, Roger got rid of those pesky bugs from the windshield.

Tuesday and Wednesday were two full days in Yellowstone. We left the Tour in the morning and returned in the late afternoon. If you are familiar with Yellowstone, we covered the two grand loops. Pictures can never do something as wonderful as Yellowstone justice, but the ones below will give you an idea of what we saw during those two days.

Tuesday - South Grand Loop

Because Yellowstone sits in the middle of a caldera (an inversion formed by three hot spots erupting
 thousands of years ago),  it wasn't long before we saw our first geysers in the distance.
Lower Geyser Basin

An example of a hot spring



"these boots are made for hiking"

Old Faithful

Lake Yellowstone

Finally, an animal up close.

Nothing says slow down like a 2,000 pound male bison.

We breathed a sigh of relief when we passed him.
They do charge cars when angry. We saw the results to a car when we were in Polson.

Lower Falls of Yellowstone

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

A herd of elk in the distance

Wednesday - North Grand Loop

First stop of the day

Steamboat Geyser, taller but not as faithful as Old Faithful. Last eruption was in May, 2005.

Walkways located throughout the park protect humans from the very hot geological formations.

Mammoth Springs Terraces
Interactions of water, carbon dioxide and limestone created these chalk-white travertine rocks.

The beautiful valleys of Northern Yellowstone.

This picture gives you an idea of the damage caused by fire and the rebirth of the pine trees. Yellowstone had a devastating fire in 1988 that burned almost 700,000 thousand acres. 


Thursday was our day to tour the town of West Yellowstone. We began with a visit to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center. It was there that we got to see our first grizzly bears and wolves. Although it would be wonderful to see them in their natural habitat of Yellowstone, this was the next best thing. The animals were beautiful and we were thrilled to see them. All nine bears were rescued for various reasons..

 Isis is the 30 year old Bald Eagle. In addition they have Golden Eagles and owls that live in the raptor center.

 Sam weighs 1,000 pounds and was busy eating when this picture was snapped. He was rescued in Alaska. Yellowstone Grizzlies do not weigh as much as Sam.

After the Grizzly Center, we saw the IMAX production of "Yellowstone," and visited the Historical Museum. It was at the museum where we learned about the devastating fire of 1988 that occurred in most of the park. Since our first visit in 1997, we were able to see how much the new pine trees have grown.

In the early evening, we returned to the Grizzly Center to watch the wolves feeding. The Center has two wolf packs. We were thrilled to get to see these wolves in a habitat similar to the one they would have in Yellowstone. Like the bears, the wolves were rescued.

Friday was our day to hike in the Gallatin National Forest. We wanted to see Lake Hebgen and were able to locate a trailhead near the lake. This is truly one of the most beautiful lakes that we have seen because the shoreline is generally undeveloped.

Kirkwood Trailhead was located off the Lake Hebgen road from Yellowstone.

 Roger and Bear were ready to go.

 Bear paused to pose with me in front of the lake.

After a picnic at the lake, we decided we still had time to drive into Yellowstone and checkout some sights along the Madison River. This big fellow's pic was snapped just a few miles into Yellowstone.

We will be in West Yellowstone until Monday, when we go back into the park and drive through it to Cody and then up to DuBois, Wyoming. Thank you for reading the blog, we appreciate your interest in our lives.