Saturday, October 24, 2009

A few highlights from my day in Yellowstone with Pamela. I drove us up through Bozeman, over to Livingston, and down to Gardiner to go into the park. As we entered the park, there were two antelope right near the road. I like this first picture even though the antelope's face seems slightly out of focus, it gives the antelope a softer look, I think. I had flipped a "u" turn so that we could take pictures, and flipped another one so that the antelope were on my side of the car and took another couple of shots of them.

We rounded a couple of corners along the Gardiner River, and saw a lady with a long lense pointing up the steep hill across the road. Wow! A large herd of bighorn sheep. I continued up the road until I found a place to turn around, then drove back down the road to pull into a turnout a little down the road from the group of sheep. Pamela said she counted at least 16, and some were probably not visible as she counted.
When I took this shot, I noticed that there was a sheep on a rock beyond the bunch closest to me. The wind was blowing so hard, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get a sharp picture. I was glad I put my coat on before walking up the road to take pictures!

This little one was with the bunch closer to the road. What an adorable little sheep!

This shot catches a little bit of the acrobatics as the sheep climb up the hill. They are much braver than I am. I find that I get more afraid of heights as I age...probably due to the fact that I am more aware of my mortality!

The white fuzz in this pictures is just snow. It was cold here again today, but not as cold as it was two weeks ago. Brrr...I get cold just looking at this picture.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Yellowstone October 10, 2009

On Saturday, I needed to run to Bozeman to pick up some things from Costco. It was cold here
in Island Park (7 degrees), but the sun was shining. As I drove across the flats, I thought it might be nice to run over to Livingston and down to Gardiner and go through the park. So, that is what I did. It was freezing cold in the park, also, but I still managed to get out of the car and take some pictures.

My first stop was at Mammoth. Because it was so cold, the steam rose off the Mammoth Terrace and combined with the clouds in the sky. As I was going back to my car after taking a few pictures, a man got out of his truck. He'd been parked in the turnout when I pulled in. He asked me if I had binoculars (which, of course, I didn't) and pointed out where he was watching two black wolves. I looked through my camera lens, and sure enough, I could make out a black wolf. I snapped a picture, even though I knew the wolf would not be clear. It was too far away. In the next picture, the wolf is circled in red.

I got a surprise when I reached the Canyon area. They had changed the way you drive the north rim. It is now exactly opposite. I stopped at the path down to the lower falls and found out that you can now view the upper falls from this stop. The third picture is the upper falls from the brink of the lower falls path. My fingers really froze here, as I stopped a couple of times to look down into the canyon. I didn't bother to grab my coat, which was really stupid of me, but I didn't expect to be out of the car that long. I have no idea what the temperature was, but the wind was icy cold and froze me the minute I stepped out of the car.

Just south of the upper falls, in the deceptively calm water, I spotted two swans. There was not a good place to stop, and the park was suprisingly crowded for how cold it was, so I just grabbed a quick shot of one of the swans before moving on.

When I first entered the park, the ranger at the gate told me that I might not be able to get through to Old Faithful because there was a bad wreck between Fishing Bridge and West Thumb. Sure enough, they were still cleaning up the wreck. I hit the area just right, though, as I only had to slow down to a crawl. I never had to stop completely. BAD wreck. I took this picture of Stephenson Island before coming up on the backed up traffic.

When I got to the Madison I finally saw more elk. I only saw three at Mammoth. Plenty of buffalo along the Hayden Valley, but no elk. This spike was with about seven cows on one side of the river. Not 100 feet away, on the other side of the river was a big bull. He sure was a beauty. I hit the Madison at about 5:30, so the light was fading fast. I actually made it home before dark, so that was pretty good timing. I wanted to see how long it would take because Pamela and I are supposed to be going through the park on the 24th. I hope it warms up a little before then.

Even with how cold it was, the park was still plenty beautiful. I didn't have any problems on the icy patches, even without my snow tires. I'll be getting my snow tires put on this week. Of course, any day is beautiful in the park. I am so lucky to live this close where I can go and enjoy the beauty on a whim. : )

Monday, October 5, 2009

Last Fall Fling (October 3, 2009)

I am so blessed! On Saturday, I decided that instead of staying home and listening to conference I was going to take one last drive to see the fall colors. It was supposed to snow 4 to 6 inches
Saturday night, so I knew the Ashton Flagg Ranch Road would not be accessible for the rest of the winter. So, I packed the car, gathered up my trash, and loaded up Blew. We stopped at Elk Creek gas station, where I put some air in my front tires, then headed on over to the dump. After leaving the dump, I decided to take a picture of Sawtelle with its little skiff of snow on top. Then, I needed to pick up a few groceries, so we went down to Rexburg. I stopped at the bottom of the Ashton hill to take a couple of pictures of the fall colors. They are more vivid than seen here, but wow! they are splendid. Upon leaving Rexburg, I was annoyed by a little shimmy in my front end. I couldn't figure out what it was. That should have been my first clue! We turned out the Ashton Flagg Ranch Road, and I stopped to take a picture of the Tetons about a half mile after we hit the dirt road. What a spectacular view!

Our next stop was at Indian Lake. There were some aspen leaves right where I parked that have my favorite tint. An orange/peach color. The ones across the road were just as pretty, and with the dark green of the pine trees surrounding them, they looked especially luminous. Again, not captured very well with the camera.

After leaving Indian Lake, we drove for quite a ways, Blew hanging out the window to catch every scent. When we crossed South Boone Creek, I caught a glimpse of the Grand in the distance. So, I pulled over and walked with Blew back to take a picture. When we got back to the car I noticed that my left front tire was very low.
That scotched the idea of going clear to Flagg Ranch and then back home through Yellowstone Park. I turned around, started driving, then decided I had better put on my donut. I got everything out of the trunk--no lug wrench. I searched under the seats of my car, but couldn't find it. Saying a prayer, I drove the fourteen miles of dirt road back out on a low tire, plus twelve more miles of pavement before we reached the Shell station in Ashton where I could put more air in my tire. I then prayed all the way up the hill that I would be able to make it home. As I drove, I wondered why the Lord would bless me when I purposely set out on this trip, knowing I wouldn't be able to listen to conference. I asked myself the same question three times, and then the answer came to me. I am blessed because my Heavenly Father loves me. Even when I am doing something He wishes I wouldn't, He loves me. I made it home, although the tire was really low by the time I got there. After three searches, I found my lug wrench (under my seat) and changed the tire after the afternoon session of conference. I then watched the morning session (thank heavens for the internet) after going for a short drive with Dion that evening. I am truly blessed.