Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lions and Tigers and Bears….

P6300001 Well, more like deer and moose and marmots, but at least we finally got to see some wildlife along the trail. Hiked the Ptarmigan Lake trail, an 8.6 mile round trip hike, a good portion of which was uphill to get to the lake. It was another beautiful walk, and we arrived at the lake tired of the climbing but knowing our return trip was mostly downhill. Hadn’t seen anything but pretty scenery, and just as we got to the lake, noticed something moving. It was a marmot, and it quickly came up to the trail and got very close to Jim’s feet. It sniffed and licked some rocks, then scurried off across the snow by the lake. He was awfully cute, and we were excited to finally see something besides other people on a trail.


Yes, there was snow and ice still covering half the lake.


As we were heading back, Jim looked over into the woods and saw this moose just grazing on some leaves. He ignored us and went about eating, even though Jim kept trying to get him to look our way for a picture. Other than this one, the rest are great shots of his back end.


Then as we continued walking, a deer came out of the woods and onto the trail. She was very skittish, though, and ran away as we walked towards her. This was the most wildlife we’ve ever seen on a hike, and with the weather being near perfect and the scenery spectacular, made for a really enjoyable way to spend the day.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Glacier National Park, MT, Many Glacier Campground

What a beautiful place! We have been dreaming of coming to Glacier for years, and can’t believe we are actually here. Because the park is so big, we’ve decided to spend some time in different areas to minimize the driving.  We stayed at a private RV park (Johnson’s) just outside the St. Mary entrance our first night, just to get some laundry done and to be close to the park so we could get to the campground early enough on Sunday to get a site.  We had to take a short drive along Going to the Sun Road and hiked a trail to a waterfalls. It is every bit as lovely as we had expected.

P6270007  P6270002 P6270006 On Sunday morning we managed to get a site at Many Glacier Campground, on the northeast side of the park. It’s about 12 miles off the main road, but feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere. No hookups, no cell phone ,TV or internet, but we are getting a good Canadian radio station.  The campground is very wooded, and most of the sites are fairly private. We had a little trouble finding one big enough for our rig, which at 30’ is not huge, but maneuvering around the trees was a little tricky. Jim’s driving skills are excellent, though, and we only scraped a couple branches.P6290002

It is nice to be staying right in the park, as there are numerous hiking trails within walking distance. We hiked the Grinnell Lake trail yesterday, a fairly easy 7 mile round trip. Guess the beautiful scenery made the distance seem shorter. Just as we could see the lake, we came across a giant pile of snow blocking the trail. Had to climb over it and wade through some water but after hiking that far, we were determined to get to the lake. It was much colder there, guess from the icy water due to the melting snow runoff. Made for some nice waterfalls running down the mountains.





This is the Many Glacier Hotel,  on Swiftcurrent Lake, about a mile from the campground, which we could see from the trail.


Took this from the hotel parking lot when we went over to check it out. What a great location.

P6280016 Today we took a shorter hike, about 3 miles, on the Red Rock Lake and Falls trail, another beautiful walk. We met a couple who wanted to look at our Lazy Daze this morning, then we ran into them later on the trail. They had seen a moose and her baby near the water, but we didn’t see any wildlife. There are grizzly bear warning signs all along the trails, and a hiker was attacked earlier this month on a trail in a different part of the park. It was the first bear attack since 2005, though, so I think we’re pretty safe.


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Lots of people are wearing bells while hiking, to make noise and scare the bears away.   Wouldn’t it be funny if the bears figured out that they could just sit and wait for the bells to come by, and there would be dinner!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Holter Lake Campground, Wolf Creek, MT

P6260003  Just spending the night at this BLM campground a few miles off     I-15 , 30 some miles north of Helena, MT.  We were fortunate to get a site on Friday afternoon, and it filled up shortly after we got here. It’s right on Holter Lake, and there are 2 other BLM campgrounds 5 miles down the road, also full tonight. This is a big boating park, so most of the people here appear to be local. It’s only $10/night but no hookups.  We’re enjoying the warm weather and beautiful scenery.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Langohr Campground, Bozeman,MT


It was a beautiful drive north along 191 from West Yellowstone to Bozeman, Montana. It actually goes through Yellowstone NP for about 20 miles, but the scenery is just as pretty after you leave the park. The road runs along the Gallatin River most of the way, and passes Big Sky. We found this  Gallatin National Forest Campground in Hyalite Canyon, about 12 miles south of Bozeman. No hookups and $13/night.

Many of the sites had reservation tags for the weekend but we managed to get a site along the river for 2 nights.


This is the river behind our site.P6250004 P6250003

Went into Bozeman after we got here yesterday to do a little shopping and pizza eating. Ate dinner at Mackenzie River Pizza Co., right on Main St. in downtown Bozeman. We had a roasted veggie pizza on a whole grain crust (with no cheese, of course), and it was excellent.

Did a little hiking today. These are from the short campground trail.

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Then we drove along Hyalite Canyon Rd, where there are numerous other forest service campgrounds and hiking trails.

This is another beautiful area we would like to come back and spend more time at. P6250012 P6250013


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Trail Discovery

After a busy day of RV and car maintenance, cleaning, and rearranging, we decided to hike part of the Targhee Creek Trail, just a few miles down the road. It was another beautiful green, lush trail along the creek. Thought we might see some animals since we were the only ones there. Didn’t see anything living, but this is the first time we’ve run across anything like this on a trail. We aren’t sure what it was, but looked like a deer or elk skull and part of the vertebrae. If it looks familiar to anyone, let us know!P6230002


Some of you who know us and our cats have asked how they are doing.  Decided to post a couple pictures to show you how relaxing it is to be a full time RVing  cat.

After weeks of clouds and rain, we awoke to clear blue skies today.  Quincy quickly found the sunny spot on my pillow.


We have been taking Oreo outside some. He likes to get on the picnic table and roll around. This was taken at Jordanelle State Park near Park City, UT. He is such a fool.


And one more  picture of the two happy campers.


Our mail hasn’t arrived so we are hanging out here at Henry’s Lake another day. Glad the sun is shining for a change.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Island Park, ID

We spent the rest of our time here at Henry’s Lake State Park exploring the area around Island Park, west of Yellowstone. The city of Island Park was apparently incorporated by owners of the many lodges and resorts along Rte. 20  in 1947 to get around Idaho's liquor laws that prohibited the sale of liquor outside of city limits. It is only 500 feet  wide in most locations but 33 miles  long and claims to have the longest "Main Street" in the world.

It is mainly a resort area for fly fishing, camping, hiking and boating. We wanted to check out some of the Targhee National Forest campgrounds and do a little hiking. Yesterday we went to Upper Coffee Pot Campground and hiked the trail there. It is a 2.5 mile beautiful, fairly flat trail along the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River. It was one of the prettiest spots we’ve seen, and would definitely come back to camp there. This is the view from site #3. which was our favorite. No hookups, but some of the sites did have electric, and # 15 had a great view of the river, also.P6210001 [1024x768]

Here are some photos from the trail.  The river starts off so calm, but after a couple miles turns to some pretty rough rapids.P6210003 P6210004


Today we went to the Box Canyon campground. Nice area with secluded, wooded sites but no views. The trail there goes along part of the Buffalo River as it meets up with Henry’s Fork. It was interesting as there was a small dam and hydroelectric plant and they’ve built a fish “ladder” system so the rainbow trout can get downstream.

Drove a little further down Rte. 20 to the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway, which is a beautiful drive to Upper and Lower Mesa Falls. Our falls photographer didn’t do a very good job today. He blamed the camera,  but I think it was the sun, which actually came out this afternoon after our morning rain stopped. It only got in the upper 50’s today, but we heard it was near 100 in Pensacola so we aren’t complaining.

This is the Upper Falls.


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There is a nice walkway with overlooks and the restored Big Falls Inn, which is now used as an interpretive center.


This is the Lower Falls, but you can’t get close to it like the upper.



This has been a great area to spend some time. It’s off to Bozeman tomorrow. There is supposed to be great gourmet pizza restaurant there!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Yellowstone National Park


We are so glad we decided to come back here to Yellowstone. This is now our 5th national park in 2 months, and they are all spectacular in different ways. The great thing about Yellowstone is how many different and unusual things you can see, even on a short hike. We drove to the Mammoth Hot Springs area Thursday, about 60 miles from our campground. Unfortunately, Yellowstone is so big, it takes time to get to the different areas of the park. There was major road construction, during which we came to a 20 minute stop, but it was lunchtime so we just ate in the car while we waited. What was worse was the number of cars that just stop in the middle of the road to look at wildlife, while a line of cars piles up behind them. Of course by the time we got there, the animal was just a speck in the distance.  (It looked like a dog to us, but was probably a coyote or wolf.) Jim got a bit crazy after this happened several times. Now, he didn’t have a problem with cars stopping to let the elk and bison cross the road,  though, since they crossed right in front of us twice.P6180006 P6180001

We hiked a couple miles on the Howard Eaton Trail near the terraces area of Mammoth. The first part of the trail took us by some of the terraces. These pics show the variety of things we saw along the trail.P6180023 P6180010 P6180011



We stopped at Artist’s Paint Pots trail on the way back. The most interesting things there were the bubbling mud pots, but the pictures didn’t come out very good.

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Yesterday we went to the Middle Geyser Basin area, just a few miles north of Old Faithful, and hiked the Fairy Falls Trail. It was one of the flattest hikes we’ve done, but we ended up walking over 6 miles. The first mile passes the Fountain Paint Pots area.P6190005 P6190001

Then it’s 1.6 miles to the falls. Fairy Falls  is 200 feet high, so it was pretty impressive. Our waterfall pictures never seem to do them justice. We had fun watching a couple of ravens that hung out by the falls, waiting for someone to leave them some crumbs.

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Then another half mile leads to Imperial Geyser, a small but frequently erupting geyser. The surrounding water was incredibly blue and clear. We also got to see 2 more bison just off the trail near the geyser.

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As you can see by yesterdays photos, we finally had a day without rain. Well, almost, I should say, as it did get dark and cloudy and we had a little shower around 9 pm, but no hail. Today is windy, drizzly and dreary, but we needed an excuse for a down day. Getting ready to do some laundry,  my least favorite but necessary activity.  The clouds and rain do make for some pretty pictures, though. These were both taken Tuesday evening. Nice way to end a day.