Grand Teton NP Backpacking Trip

d1-death-canyon-2We went into Jackson Hole to get backcountry permits for our backpacking trip into Grand Teton National Park. We had to go to the Jenny Lake Visitor Center in Moose, WY, just outside of Jackson. The Ranger was very helpful and suggested some great trips for us to go on, but we could not go above 9,500 ft because of the deep snow on the trail. Therefore, we could not do a loop, so we decided to go into Death Canyon for 2 nights and come back to our car and drive to the trailhead for Leigh Lake and Paintbrush Canyon and go in for 2 more nights. What a great idea because we only have to carry enough food for 2 days and leave the other 2 days of food in the car when we get back there. The weather looks great for the total 5 days that we will be out. Armed with 2 cans of bear spray we set out for our backpacking trip. Continue reading

Jenny Lake-Grand Teton NP

grand-teton-np-8 Today we decided to go for a bike ride along the most scenic bike trail we have ever ridden. We left Victor early and on our way to Jackson we spotted a moose right beside the road. They are as prolific as deer are in Ohio. We arrived at the Visitor Center in Moose where we parked the jeep and started our bike ride on the 8-mile long multi-use bike trail through the magnificent Grand Teton National Park that opened in 2008. We had spectacular views of the Tetons all the way to Jenny Lake. We continued to ride to Leigh Lake along the road and came back to Jenny Lake to catch the boat to Inspiration Point. Beautiful glacially-carved Jenny Lake is the second largest lake in the Grand Tetons, and the deepest at 423 feet. Continue reading

Green River Lakes, Wind River Range

GLD1-23We went to the Green River Lakes area to do some backpacking as it was one of the few places in the Wind River Range that offered a lot of hiking options below the snow line.  This is where we started our Wind River backpacking adventure yars ago in the pouring rain so it will be nice to see what the area looks like in good weather. The first nite we decided to camp in the main campground and hike around the lower lake to get our bearings.  The weather was great and after getting settled in we started hiking down the south side of the lower lake. There was still a lot of trees down across the trail so progress was slow, but the views were breathtaking.  At the east end of the lake we crossed the Green River and headed up to the upper lake and views of Square Top Mountain. We found an awesome place to camp for the next 2 days then returned to the campground along the north side of the lake for a nice dinner, great campfire and a good nights sleep.  Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Pinedale, Wyoming

Lead-Picture-Rotator

Approaching Photographers Point

After spending a few relaxing days in Heber City, where Bob bought a new camera in SLC. We sent the old camera in for warranty repair and we will get it back in 4 weeks. Good idea to buy the warranty! Then it was off to Pinedale WY to backpack in the Wind River Range. We are staying at the Highline Trail RV Park just south of Pinedale near Boulder. Again we found out that we are too early to hike into the Titcomb Basin because of the snow level. We visited the Museum of the Mountain Man in Pinedale, that exhibits western historical pieces relating to the mountain men who explored this region in the early to middle part of the 19th century. Including Jim Bridger’s rifle from 1853, exhibits of the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade between 1820 and 1840, Native American Heritage featuring clothing, tools, and weapons used by the Plains Indian tribes, and one of the highlights of the Museum is the full-scale replica of American Horse’s tipi. Bob even got to feel like a Mountain Man wearing one of their fur coats. I really think he should have lived back then as he loves reading all about their journey into the Wild West. We also visited the Boulder Lake Lodge, located NE of the tiny town of Boulder. It is surrounded by sage brush flats and willow lined snow melt creeks. Here you can stay and rent horses to pack into the Wind River Range and go Glamping for a couple weeks. We definitely want to return here and go backpacking with the horses. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Cody, Wyoming

Cody Museum

Cody Museum

We had heard so much about Cody, WY and its namesake “Buffalo Bill” Cody, that we had to take a drive there to see what it’s all about. We drove through Yellowstone NP stopping for pictures along the Yellowstone River, to the East entrance. President Theodore Roosevelt called the stretch of highway between Cody and the East entrance to the Park, “the fifty most beautiful miles in America”. The East entrance’s ranger station was built in 1934 for visitors entering the Park from Cody. The road is named the Scenic Byway of Highway 20, wedged into a valley shaped by the flow of the Shoshone River. The Buffalo Bill Reservoir Dam was well worth the drive. Cody was established in 1896 by Wild West showman, William F Cody, “Buffalo Bill” and a group of investors who realized the potential for tourism since Yellowstone was only 50 miles west. Continue reading

Beartooth Scenic Highway

Redlodge_Beartooth-29

The Beartooth Scenic Highway opened to automobile travel in 1937, and is a National Scenic Byway, 68 miles in length winding through southwest Montana and northeast Wyoming. We left West Yellowstone early to avoid the traffic in Yellowstone and drove through the Park to the northeast entrance at Silver Gate where we stopped at the Log Cabin Café for a fabulous lunch. Then on to Cooke City where we went through the Cooke City Montana Museum that opened in July, 2014. It presents permanent exhibits on the history of the three communities of Colter Pass, named after the famous mountain man John Colter, Cooke City, and Silver Gate as well as exhibits on the Beartooth Highway. Not much else to see in Cooke City so we drove on over Colter Pass where we happened upon a black bear by the side of the road. Then we came to the sign marking the beginning of Beartooth Highway, it has been called “the most beautiful drive in America”, and the pass is usually open each year only from mid May through mid October, because of heavy snowfall at the top. Continue reading

Heart Lake Loop Trail, Yellowstone NP

We were able to get our backcountry permits ahead of time for a small fee but at least we didn’t have to wake up early and stand in line, not knowing if we would be able to get the permits that we wanted. We did purchase 3 nights hiking around the Heart Lake area located in southeast region of Yellowstone. We drove 2 hours before we reached the Trailhead and began our hike around 10 am.

Day1

Now that’s a rack

The first 4 miles of the Heart Lake Trail,  we passed through dense lodgepole forests and small wetland meadows, and it was a gradual uphill to a high vantage point on Factory Hill with views across Heart Lake toward Big Game Ridge and Mount Hancock. The massive summit of Mount Sheridan rises along the western edge of the lake to a height of 10,305 feet, we were hoping to climb it if we arrived in camp early. Then we descended into the Heart Lake Geyser Basin where we enjoyed the thermal features along Witch Creek, taking time to dab our feet into the warm water of the creek. Along Witch Creek are numerous sulfur vents, these small vents, are called fumaroles, and do possess enough water in their craters to become hot springs or geysers, but below the surface, water boils. As the trail nears the lake we passed directly in front of the Heart Lake Patrol Cabin which was originally built in 1924. The cabin was locked as the Rangers had left the area for the season. Heart Lake is the fourth largest body of water in Yellowstone and lies within the Snake River drainage. It was named by Captain John W Barlow, one of the first men to lead an expedition to this area in 1871, believed it was the shape of the lake that should determine the spelling (heart) and this became its official name. Continue reading

Quake Lake, Montana

Quake Lake-5“it was a beautiful moonlit night, August 17, 1959, when one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded in the Rocky Mountains struck the Madison River Canyon.”

We drove to the Earthquake Lake Visitor Center, not far from West Yellowstone, to learn about the earthquake, see the landslide from the Vista Room and take a short walk to the Memorial Boulder and upper overlook. The earthquake, which measured 7.5 on the Richter scale, triggered a massive landslide, which sent over 80 million tons of rock crashing down into the canyon, blocking the Madison River. The water backed up behind the slide, forming the new Earthquake Lake. At the overlook we had a panoramic view of the lake and ghost trees. It was a Night of Terror for campers at Rock Creek Campground, when it started flooding and was completely under water the following morning. Three sections of HWY 287 fell into the lake, and as a result of the night’s disaster, hundreds of people vacationing in the area were trapped. A total of 28 lives were lost. Today, this tranquil setting is misleading – geologic tensions are still active underground. In 1960, 37,800 acres were federally designated to interpret the 1959 Hebgen Lake Earthquake. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Yellowstone NP


Grizzly Park-2We are staying at a beautiful park in West Yellowstone, the Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park, for three weeks while we explore all what Yellowstone NP has to offer for hiking and sightseeing. We visited Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces where mineral-laden hot water from deep beneath the Earth’s crust finds its way to the surface and builds tier upon tier of cascading, terraced stone. The sculpting of the terraces continues as thousands of gallons of water well up and deposit large amounts of travertine daily. We walked along the boardwalks viewing all of the deep colorful pools. The Grand Prismatic Spring was a bit of a let down because we couldn’t get high enough to view all the deep blue color of the pool and the rings of yellow and orange colored thermophiles surrounding it which combine to produce a beautiful prism effect. We just walked around the boardwalk trying to get some interesting photos.
Continue reading

Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area

Sunday, Aug. 24th, we left the AB Campground RV Park in Cheyenne, WY, and headed toward Rock Springs, WY. We arrived early in the afternoon at the KOA Campground and decided to do some sight seeing in the area. We were told that The Flaming Gorge Recreational Area, “fishing hot spot” of America, comprises 201,000 acres of scenic land, was a must see near Rock Springs. So we drove to Green River to start the Loop Road, 160 miles, on HWY 530 and drove south through desert scenery for along way, and we could see the reservoir in the distance. Then we took the Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Area following the Sheep Creek into the mountains east of Flaming Gorge Reservoir. We followed the visually dramatic Uinta Fault with unique rock formations, including towering monoliths next to the road. Continue reading