Saturday, September 13, 2014

Hot Springs Heaven

We scooted out of Cody with new tags for Bessie -- street legal again!

Then on to Bozeman for a taste of a college town; fun place.  Through Missoula with lunch stops at Big Dip Ice Cream and Bernice's Bakery.

But we were searching for hot springs and that took us up to Lolo Pass and down into Idaho.  We tryed out the Jerry Johnson Hot Springs:  ok; busy; a mile from the road.  A wee bit cold at night so on down the Lochsa River Valley we drove to Wilderness Gateway campground.  Gateway to the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness.  And the Stanley Hot Springs.

Darn cold night.  Left on the 5 mile hike in long underwear; fleece; hats and gloves.  Slowly up the hill we hiked -- shedding layers and getting warm, even before the hot springs.  We crossed boulder creek (on the boulders) and then up along Huckleberry Creek.  WOW!

Along the hillside in a series of pools was a lovely wilderness hot springs.  Surrounded by tall conifers, blue skies, and pools of varying coolness.  A great afternoon.

Until the 5 mile hike back.  And darn cold temps at night.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Cody, Wyoming

We scooted from the Grand Tetons to Cody -- looking at the "wintery mix" and "snow patches".  Um, could it be winter already?

But our goal was Cody--and a long overdue visit with my sister Alisa & her husband Joe.  A week of adventure and hanging out and talking and hiking and exploring.

Fun every day.

Alan has the best trees.  Alisa has the best fire.  Joe has the best moon.  I have the best tent.
We all the best time together!

Sip n Paint -- what fun!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Grand Tetons National Park

Time to drive west.  Look towards the setting sun.  Try and sneak in a last bit of summer (though the morning temps in the high 30s are chilling our resolve!!) to one of our favorite spots -- Grand Tetons National Park.  The Park has a bit of everything we enjoy:  alpine lakes, hikes, birds, wildflowers, bike paths, scenery.  All in a compact geographic area.  This year we are camping at Signal Mountain -- happy to splurge on the electric connection to run that space heater in the morning.

PLUS...the weather seems to have cleared up for a few days.  It has been a cool and wet August here so we are glad for the sunshine.

I will let the pictures tell our story.

Our first moose this season...along the Gros Ventre River as we rode our bikes!
Calf was in field behind the River

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Wind Cave National Park

The forecast was for rain:  what a great time to go caving!!  At Wind Cave National Park, one of the oldest National Parks (1903) and first to protect underground resources.  The Park features both above ground prairie lands (where tall grass prairie meets the Black Hills) and below miles of below ground features, formations, and tangled web of passages (142 miles in 1 square mile.)  Imagine a bowl of spaghetti for the passages above, below, around...where does that passage way go!

Wind Cave is unique among the world's caves:  it have less active water flow thus fewer dripstones --stalactites and stalagmites.  And not so much color.  What does it have???  It contains 95% of the known boxwork worldwide; and boxwork is formed BEFORE a cave so it dates to 320+ million years ago.

We signed up for a tour -- and like all our National Park experiences this summer -- incredible.  The guide was articulate, knowledgeable, and had a great sense of humor.  The tour lasted about an hour and half; up and down paths (paved by those CCC boys in the 1930s); looking at boxwork, popcorn, frostwork, and other cave formations.  The rooms were smaller but every view was amazing.

The name given Wind Cave is from the one small opening that "blows a wind" based on barometric pressure (inside vs outside).  Standing by the opening the grasses were blowing and the cave was "singing."  The Lakota consider the Cave actually the spot of their creation story and the spot where they were led to the light.

Mica is common throughout the Black Hills.  Sparkles and twinkles...

Finally, a tall grass prairie walk at Wind Cave


Popcorn and frostwork

The one known opening to Wind Cave.  

Leaving South Dakota...Happy Trails!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Harney Peak -- Custer State Park

Time to stretch those legs after miles & miles of scenic drives!  And where better than a ramble up to the top of Harney Peak, the highest mountain east of the Rockies, measuring in at 7,242 feet.  Among the trail options we went for the "moderate" approach of about a 6.5 mile round trip.  Along with MANY others we made our way up the mountain!

It felt so great to be back HIKING -- rocks, trees, streams, vistas.  Slowly we wound our way up the trail.  It was the type trail where you have an early view of the peak and then -- until the final climb -- it is hidden behind trees or rocks.

The reward...360 degrees of view.   Miles and miles of hills.  Time to sit and smile!

Our goal -- the tiny box on Harney Peak

Stairs for the final push UP

Come around the corner....WOW...the trail goes up to the CCC Lookout!

Prayer Flags show a continuing relationship to the Place for the Lakota

Down We go....