Numbers 6: 24-26

The Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

Friday, August 29, 2014

Bunsen Peak

Bunsen Peak is the first good mountain hike south of Mammoth Hot Springs. It has an awesome view of the north end of the park when there are blue skies. We decided to tackle this on a pretty day.

Last year when we went there were so many fires burning in Idaho and even in the south end of Yellowstone that our pictures are muted and so much of the vistas were blocked. With all the rain we've had this year, fires are not an issue so the views were good. On this path, you can see the damage that still remains from the big fire of 1988.

Here I am working my way up the switchbacks. This is a really hard climb for me, but I did it easier than last year.

Bob got some super pictures that although they don't show the view are none-the-less worthy of showing off. There were 4 grouse along the path and they were not particularly afraid of us. Isn't he/she gorgeous?

 How many sections of leg does this bee have?

We made it to the top and look who was there to greet us, oh, and maybe ask for a hand-out?!

 This is looking toward the west. Hmm, still more places to hike it looks like!

This is looking south straight down the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

More wildflowers with butterflies. Good way to finish a pretty hike! After we finished running around the top and descending back to the car, we did another short hike.

Total miles hiked: 58

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hidden Lakes

Here we are still at the top of the Beartooth Highway. As we turned this corner this beautiful lake appeared. The weather was coming in so strong that the pictures don't even show any reflections. It was stark and quite beautiful up here.

Snow packs were everywhere. We didn't need to hike out to the lower one it turned out. We could have stopped the car in several places and walked right over to them. They are obviously what is feeding the lakes such as the one above.

This sign says "Beartooth Pass Summit Elevation 10,947 feet." The weather is different up there. Even when it's 'warm' it's cold, ha!

This is looking down the valley on the other side of the mountains. There are more lakes down there and no wonder with all the snow still melting.

Ahh, another look at the by-products of all the snow melt. These wild flowers are a hardy bunch indeed.

We just found out that it did snow hard enough right after we did this drive that people from Yellowstone and surrounding areas were up there skiing. Yikes!

Bob is still driving as we descend the mountains. Yep, there are still plenty of S curves to go around.

Oh look...the clouds are starting to break up! Look at all these mountain ranges. Wow, is all I could keep saying.

 It may be hard to see in this picture, but the sun is breaking through the clouds to shine right in the center. If I saw these colors in a painting I'd say no way would they be real!

I did finally relieve Bob on the last of the drive into Cooke City and then I drove us back to the cabin through Yellowstone. We spent roughly 12 hours making this drive. We were tired but it was well worth the effort.

And yes, the weather turned sweet and all sunny again down in the valley. I love the reflection in this lake. It looks like spring all over again.

 So there you have Beartooth Highway. It is indeed very scenic and quite worthy of being called the All-American Road.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I found Peter's Home!

So we're still on the Beartooth Highway. By now we're thinking these are really white rocks or that's snow pack that we can get to. We've also decided a vest with our light jackets may be a good thing. But we didn't anticipate rain, sleet and snow. It's August for goodness sake!

See those people that look like little dots near the snow pack? That will be us to those driving by and not stopping soon, ha!

It's official, it's snow and it's packed and it's cold!!

Packs a pretty good snowball too.

Above is what happens when the snow is melting. The wildflowers were beautiful.

Lakes are also formed where you wouldn't expect to see them. This would make a great ice skating rink in the winter. We didn't walk down there because it started raining and we had nooo rain gear with us.

One sign above says "Leaving Montana" and about 200 yards down the road is a sign that says "Welcome to Wyoming." In between must be Never Never Land! Now we know where Peter Pan lives.

What do these clouds tell you? It told us that rain was coming. Bob hopped out of the car to take some pictures and got chased back by heavy wind, sleet mixed with rain and as we drove we had snow hitting the windshield. I opened the car window to take a picture and the wind was so fierce that Bob across the car was getting hit by the sleet. It's hard to imagine, but we were riding along the tops of the mountains. Simply breath-taking.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Beartooth...All-American Road

The Beartooth Highway is often referred to as "the most beautiful drive in America." We weren't disappointed! The views were over-whelming and different with each turn. The road going up in elevation is an intense series of switchback loops. We saw one poor guy on a bicycle, one of the more ridiculous sites we saw all day. :)

Bob ONLY took 150 photos so I've chosen a group of the best and intend to split this up into 3 blogs. There might be someone out there that never gets to see this area, so this is for you especially!

We were advised to drive the 2 hours outside of Yellowstone to get to the northern end of the beartooth, which we did. We ate lunch at a small cafe called Regis. They grow a lot of their own veggies and have a nice menu selection. After lunch we drove to the first area where a hike was recommended. We hiked in along this beautiful river for about one mile and then back out. Time was starting to wear on us and we wanted to get back on the road.

There was a lot of snow pack in the upper elevations. We were surprised to see it still there being that it is August, but what do we know! This was our first glimpse. Little did we know we would see much, much more as the drive continued.

This sign says it all. It was a panaramic view of the Absaroka Mountains. See how comfortable we look in our short sleeve shirts? Haa, not for long!!

We are up on the out look area. There were 2 or 3 chipmunks that are used to getting handouts, so everyone that we saw come up to this area chased after the chipmunks snapping pictures like crazy. Does anyone see another area that might deserve like attention??

Check out the wind blowing in this girl's hair. This is when we decided a jacket might be a good thing as we went higher.

If you blow up this picture you can see the road below that we started up on. Bob drove most of this area to avoid the motion sickness that can accompany this type of drive. Doesn't bother me so I got to look out the windows!

Ok, now blow this picture up and you see a parking lot below. This is where we were for the Rock Creek Vista Point! Just when we thought we were as high as we were going to be, we turned a corner and kept going up.

Cumulative hiking miles including Beartooth: 51

More to come!

Friday, August 22, 2014

StageCoach Ride

This was some serious fun, if only for about one hour. Barbara Snow, Bob and I had all said we had to go do this last year and when things slowed down in September, we started checking into it. Imagine our surprise when we discovered the horses are moved at the end of August to a warmer climate for the winter, so we missed the opportunity. Not so this year!

Right before the Lost Lake hike, we made our reservations for the StageCoach Ride. The timing was perfect for the end of the hike to get refreshed and meet next door at the Corrals to watch the horses be hooked up to our coach.

There is also the opportunity to go on a trail ride from not just this area but several more all over the park. We decided to stick with the stagecoach.

There is a dirt road specifically used for this ride and off we went.

This is the way to have traffic directed for you!

As we got to the main street to cross, a Ranger was there to meet us. She indicated she needed to drive out ahead of us but didn't want to spook the horses. There was some sort of search going on for a missing person. Our coach driver said of course and off the Ranger sped. As it turned out later, we heard on the news that 3 guys (workers from the park) had illegally tubed down the Yellowstone River and one got swept away. He was from Atlanta. His body was found down river a few days later. :(

Our big surprise was a coyote that appeared from out of the sage brush and walked right past us. We were so shocked we barely got a picture of him. He passed right by the coach. He was on a mission and never gave us a second look!

As we road along though we talked about how comfortable the seats were for a one hour drive and how uncomfortable they would be for riding from the east to the west across the U.S.! These coaches are replicas of the ones originally used in the park. The originals are in storage with the YS Transportation Dept. waiting for a museum to be built to put them on display.

For a little bit of money, this was really fun. I think we would do it again if possible when/if we come back next year!

This sight offered us a little bit of humor. These guys were busy watching traffic and working on the road as we passed. What they couldn't see right around the near corner was this very large bull bison heading right for them. We didn't get to see their reaction but still got a chuckle out of the pending scene!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Lost Lake Trail

The Lost Lake Trail starts behind Roosevelt Lodge at Tower Junction and forms a loop to walk past the Lost Lake (yeah well, it's not really Lost if we all know about it right?), the petrified tree and back down behind the Roosevelt cabins to the parking area. The hiking mileage came right out at 5 miles.

 With all the rain we've had, the lake was higher and we've heard you might be able to spot a moose along the edges, but maybe in September. We've been told they are still up in the higher mountains.

We saw a Pica which aren't endangered but they are being 'watched' to see if they can adapt to the normally warmer climate change going on. He was a busy little guy and in the weeds so deep, and fast, that the pictures aren't worthy of posting. We saw ducks and a woodpecker also. The large rock area to the left is from volcanic rock.

This is the area leaving the lake and in about 1/2 miles leads to the parking area for a large specimen of a Petrified Tree.

Word is if there wasn't a fence around it that it would be a Petrified Stump due to all the plundering through the years by tourists. I also heard from a Ranger that this whole mountainside is full of pieces of petrified trees. But the policy for Yellowstone is "Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints." 

Here's a killer view! And it looks like we're going to walk off the end of the mountain. Nice trail, hmmm.

Here we are looking down at the Tower/Roosevelt Junction. The main road is the one we came in on from Mammoth. The road leading to the left goes out to Lamar Valley and ultimately the northeast entrance and Cooke City.

We had to crawl over one large tree that fell and here's one that was cut after it fell to clear the path. There was a major fire in 1988 that burned over 60% of the forests and there are trees all over that didn't make it. We've seen several large stands of dead trees that are huge but still standing.

Here is the path going down. It's still another good mile to the parking lot. With close paths like these, it's good to have longer pants on :)

Hiking mileage total: 48