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

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

National Park Service Centennial

It's time to catch up on my blogs! Last week was crazy and we have finished with the special events, People and clean up.

The NPS celebrated last week with it's 100th birthday. We had Board and Society Members (people with money) stay in our cabins and a caterer and helper as well. We ran ourselves ragged keeping everything cleaned and flowing and are glad to be back to normal guests and such this week.

Above Bob is standing to the side of the field where we joined a few thousand of our closest friends to watch the speakers on one of two large screens. It was in the 30's and although we dressed warmly, we didn't know to bring chairs or a blanket so sat on the ground. I was shaking by the time it was over!

To the side of the screen you see 2 Rangers on horseback for security.

Isn't this great? Umm, I'm eating a hotdog. Bob had to have a picture since it's been 20 years. And it was a veggie dog, tough and tasteless. I can wait another 20 years before trying another.

One of our speakers...well actually President Obama was cued up, not really here. I'm afraid that would have been a nightmare!

Sally Jewell, US Secretary of the Interior was in attendance and Jonathan Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service (NPS) (pictured here) spoke. The program was about 1 1/2 hours long. The 'important people' were by the arch in chairs and the stage was covered.

Here is the famous Arch that Roosevelt placed the cornerstone for.

The most fun for us was meeting "Teddy Roosevelt" who entertained the Board and Society members at our cabins. The man playing the part does this all over the US for various events and he was very good.

I recorded a small part of his speech. His name is Joe Wiegand and although his wife doesn't dress the part of Mrs. Roosevelt, she was interesting to talk with also.

For a quick break and get away Bob and I went back to West Yellowstone to see the play Singing In The Rain. On the way we stopped at a Ranger Museum. Look, we're Rangers, ha!

Here is a look at a typical bare bones cabin and accommodations for Rangers in the field.

And here's the 3 main actors for the cast. The guy on the right played Cosmo and he and the lead actor tap danced up a storm. Those 2 should have good futures on Broadway!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

West Yellowstone


Soo, our former roomie, Marie, told us about a little playhouse in West Yellowstone.

For clarification, West Yellowstone (WYS) is the name of the town outside of the West entrance/exit.

A group of college students throughout the US gather in WYS to learn 3 new plays and they perform all summer to September 3 when they leave to go back to college. And it's been a tradition for just short of 50 years.

This year's plays were Singing In The Rain, Mary Poppins, and 7 Brides For 7 Brothers. We have a limited amount of days where no one is on our campus so that we could go and spend the night and last Friday/Saturday were 2 of those days.

We drove thru the smoke and arrived in time to walk around the little town and eat dinner. Then we walked around to the different shops and finished in time to get in line for our seats at the Playmill. Our play was 7 Brides, which I've seen on tv but Bob has not.

It's not a large performing arts theatre with just a little over 200 seats, but the kids did a great job and it was very entertaining.

In fact, we enjoyed it so much we made reservations for next Saturday to go to the matinee and see Singing In The Rain, our all time favorite movie.

Also in town, is a former Union Pacific RR station converted into a museum of former transportation vehicles used in YS.

We saw the original blue prints for the building, and a complete serving of the dishes used on the trains. It was well worth the $5 admission cost.

This was the original 'yellow bus' a person would hire to take them around the park. It was pulled by horses and the journey took 5 days/nights to make. As tough as some of the paved roads are today, I can't imagine such a trip being fun...but I bet it was quite the adventure!

Supplies had to be brought in. These two wagons are hooked together, were piled high and pulled by horses. I guess this is the precursor for the double semi-trucks we see on the roads today.

How cool is it that we not only have a mountain with our last name, but there was a wagon also, that was used to carry people to the top of (dare I say it...) our mountain!

Would this not be fun to drive around town in? Unless it's raining, cold, or hot of course :)

And here's main street of WYS. We were impressed by how wide the streets are. All of the side and back streets have ample room to move around on and plenty of parking. At night, I suppose due to the Playmill, the town comes to life and was quite crowded.

No miles hiked but we played some Pokémon and picked up balls at several PokeStops.

Fire update: South entrance from Tetons closed today due to fire and smoke. As for us on the northern end, the winds came in from the north and carried the smoke away for today. Beautiful, pleasant day in north YS!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Fire In Yellowstone!

This is by far the smokiest year we've seen while residing in Yellowstone. The smoke is dangerous, not so much the fires.

There are a minimum of 8 fires burning in the park that we know of but 5 of those are in the same geographic location so managed as one large fire area to allow fire resources to be moved to the needed areas.

The fires are allowed to burn to promote new growth of trees and underbrush that require the intense heat to release the seeds.

The policy of the National Park Service (NPS) is to let the fires burn themselves out unless structures and people will be injured.

Bob and I drove from Gardiner to West Yellowstone (the west entrance into the park) to visit the little town there and see a play group that was recommended. (Next post :)

Along the way we took pictures of the fires in that area and of a helicopter that was dropping water above a ledge toward the town to prevent the spread in that direction.

We also saw a few 'staging' areas of firefighters to fight on the ground if needed.

On this day the wind was not bad so the water drop appeared to be helping.

I thought I'd share some of the photos.

This is the day we drove back into the park. You can see the different locations along a ridge that are burning.

And this was the full moon that night, covered in a smoke filled haze! 

 We've had about 3 clear days since we arrived August 1.

With the 100 year Anniversary Celebration on the 25th coming up, we're hoping the wind shifts away from us for at least one 24 hour period!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Observation Peak

"Hike to a high mountain peak for an outstanding view of the Yellowstone wilderness." (YNP beginning description) And that's just what we did.

Elevation gain/loss: 1,847...11 miles...6 1/2 hours. What a view it was! So I'll start at the beginning...

We hiked 2.5 miles in from the truck to Cascade Lake. We'll revisit this later in the season because it's supposed to be a good fishing lake so Bob wants to come back with his pole.

Bob took several shots of Cascade Lake from different elevations so I'll try to show them in order.

You may have noticed that these pictures aren't crystal clear. There are two fires burning in the park right now. The Park Service lets them burn out unless structures are being threatened.

There's been a haze in the air since we arrived. And we wonder why we're coughing more this year, hmmm.

Lunch at the top of the world, or at least it seems. We could see down to the Tetons and around the park pretty well if other mountains weren't in the way.

This is a Ranger Station used only in the event of a fire danger in the close area. Otherwise, it stays shuttered and unused.

We hiked with Marie and Carla. Both have been hiking since April so they pretty much left us in the dust going uphill. We stayed with them going down. I am using 2 poles again this year and Bob is using 1. They help more than I ever imagined they would.

This is a good shot of the forest of burned out trees still standing from the 1988 fire. In other shots you can see how green some areas are but in the higher elevations the new growth takes longer as the growing season is only about 2 months each year.

Here Marie and Carla turned to wave at us not too far below.

And here is the expanded view of where they are standing!

We are back to level ground now and just have the 2.5 miles back to the truck.

The flora and fauna were nicer in the upper regions. Below, due to the lack of rain and intense heat this year, everything is dried up except in the waterway areas.

Above though, the ladybugs, bees and small butterflies were working tirelessly on the flowers.

And lastly, this little squirrel came bustling down a tree and almost ran over us before he stopped to see us. He's obviously carrying a nice meal back to a secure wintering nest.

Total miles hiked: 35

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Rescue Creek Anew

We've hiked Rescue Creek every year, ahh but no, we only thought we had. This time we left our truck at the exit which is visible from our cabins, and were dropped off at Blacktail Deer Creek Trail. This meant we had to walk 8 miles to get to the truck...through back country.

And we're off!

Bob got this great shot of a wood duck. The reflection seems clearer than the duck.

This coyote was 25 yards away from us as we crested a hill. We scared each other. This is him jogging away from us.

Further on we heard a pack of either coyotes or wolves yipping and howling at the top of a nearby mountain. We were guessing there is a den up there and it was play time!


A few ospreys flew overhead and called out as we walked. They are always so majestic to watch.

The path to nowhere, ha!

And then there was the 1 or 2 mile stretch of tall weeds to walk through. We had been warned to wear pants. Thanks Marie!

Yes, there's a path there.

 If this was a foreboding, we weren't concerned. There was one section of meadow that had several bleached bones strewn about. It has mountains on 3 sides so probably a favorite winter resting place for the elk.

The hike started on the high side and we walked on level ground or downhill almost the whole way after the initial small hill to climb. Rather than the path being right in the gulley, it always hung up on the side of a hill. Much easier walking on that type of path.

In the dead center of this picture is a dot on a plateau. Those are our cabins! Now that's cool :)

This sweet herd of Pronghorn were ready to meet us. There were 10. They were mostly on the ground and got up as we walked on the path.

And then they crossed in front of us and promptly left. Nice homecoming we thought.

Last leg of the trip is across the bridge and up the hill to the truck.

This took us 4.5 hours and had an elevation gain of 521 feet and loss of 1,794 feet.

Total miles hiked after this: 24