Friday, August 24, 2012

New Look to the Blog!!
Whaddaya think?  Comment with any feedback, good or bad.  I'm interested in what readers say.   I'm not certain yet.  I may make more changes or perhaps revert to the old look.  Stay tuned!!

We've been kinda busy and kinda lazy the past few weeks.  We've done a couple hikes, visited with friends, watched a handful of Netflix movies and did a bit of general vegging out.

We also found time to work - Sheesh - I thought we were retired!!

What a Small World...
I follow a handful of blogs.  Pete and Oscar of 'Pete and the Wonder Egg' have been traveling about this summer and finally got out here to Yellowstone.  The fun thing is, we all met when we were in Austin a couple years ago when they were attending an 'egg' rally at our long term RV park, Austin Lonestar. (Eggs are the egg shaped fiberglass campers:  Casita, Scamp and the rare and no-longer-built, Oliver)

One day last week, when we were actually working, I was called from the stock room to the front area.  Pete was there making contact!  What a pleasant surprise.

Just like when Sue of 'rv sue and her canine crew' stopped by, I was not able to linger.  BUT, this time I did get over to their site one evening and had a fun visit.  Oscar is a great little dog - the perfect lap dog.  He laid in my lap the entire time yet he never attempted to get in my face.  Perfect.  I love dogs but never have been fond of the 'in your face'rs'.

Pete and Oscar will be here until the 27th.  Perhaps we will get a chance to visit again.  If not, who knows what will happen down the road...

We've Walked a Few Miles in Our Boots...
Mt. Washburn...
We hiked up Mt. Washburn.  It is one of the highest points in the park.  We started at the parking lot at Dunraven Pass.  Altitude:  8850

We hiked up:

And up:

Toward that little Fire Tower in the Sky:

We viewed our progress from afar.  The trail that we had already covered is in the foreground.  We parked and started on the road in the background.  The trailhead is blocked by the mountain:
Yup. We went 'round and over the mountain.

We got closer:

And closer:

Almost there:


Wow! - 8850 feet at the start and 10,243 feet at the top.

We felt like we were on top of the world.  The views were fantastic in spite of the slight smoke haze from forest fires in neighboring states.

The walk down was a repeat of the walk up, but much easier.

I can't believe I didn't get any photos on the way down.  Guess it was the thin air...

A great hike with 1400 feet altitude gain and 1400 feet altitude loss.  Quite a day!

Fairy Falls...
We did another fun hike - Fairy Falls.  A 200 foot back-country waterfall.

The trailhead is a couple miles up the road from Old Faithful.  The main trail goes 2.5 miles and skirts along the Midway Geyser Basin which includes the famous Grand Prismatic Spring - the largest hot spring in the US; third largest in the world.

We went with Charlie and Karen and as always, the four of us had a lot of fun.

The trail entered a thick lodge pole pine forest after passing the geyser basin.  At places the trees were so dense we could not see more than about 40 or 50 feet off the trail.  Kind of eerie when we thought about grizzes possibly moving about.

Over the river (I did not get a pic of us going over the Fire Hole River at the beginning of the hike.  You'll have to imagine):

And through the woods:

To Fairy Falls we all go:

From Fairy Falls we headed toward Imperial Geyser, about 3/4 mile away.  We thought we had reached it but later found out we did not.  Rats!

The bubbling pool we thought was Imperial Geyser was actually Spray Geyser:

This is not my pic.  I hijacked it off the internet
We were about 3/8 mile short of Imperial Geyser but we did not see it for the trees.

We did see the runoff from some sort of thermal activity.  We could tell there was thermal activity upstream due to the brilliant yellow/gold color of the stream bed.  We just did not know how far it was to the source and did not want to venture too far off our planned route (more to come on that!)

The incredible color is the result of bacteria living in the hot water from the thermal activity:

A Change In Route...
We had planned to retrace our steps back to the originating trailhead but after we got to Spray Geyser we decided to continue on along the Imperial Geyser Trail.  This added somewhere around 4 miles to our hike.

The trail emerged from the forest and headed across expansive meadows that are sometimes very boggy, hence a trail of cut logs:

That must have been a LOT of work to build.   Sure glad we carry our trekking poles.

We moved alongside some thermal action:

The rest of the hike was rather monotonous.  No good pics to share. BUT - fun was had by all!

The Voice of Experience...
At the beginning of our hike to Fairy Falls we saw a woman walk right past a sign warning of the dangers of leaving the trail and go directly to the edge of a thermal pool.  She put her finger in and declared it HOT!

I don't recall if I've told this story before but if I did, it bears repeating

Robin and I honeymooned at Yellowstone in 1983.  At dusk on the day after we arrived we decided to take a romantic hike from our cabin at Old Faithful.  We loaded up a thermos with coffee and put some snacks in our little pack and headed up a trail.

The trail ascended pretty good for a few hundred yards.  I saw a grass covered meadow to the left.  Looked like a good spot to sit and enjoy our reverie.

Because it was so grassy I told Robin to stay on the trail while I checked to see if the meadow was boggy.

I walked out about 25 yards, turned to tell her to come on out.

And broke through the crust of the ground!!!!

I instantly sank to my thighs in mud - COOL mud, thank God.

I yelled to Robin to stay where she was (on the trail).  She had started to run to me when she saw me sink.

I did a quicksand-type crawl out to the path.  All ended well.

It was without a doubt the scariest thing I have ever experienced.  It came right on the heels of the second scariest thing I've ever done - getting married the day before.

To this day, I cringe whenever I think about it:
    Why did I stop sinking at my thighs?
    Why was it not thermal and I did not get boiled alive?
    Why did I do something so STUPID?
            (Inexperience I guess - I was not an experienced outdoorsman
             and had never been to a thermal laden area)
There were no signs anywhere near where we were walking so at least I did not bypass a posted warning.  We were a long way from any visible thermal activity.

All I can say is God was sending me a BIG message - I got it.

So, I cringe when I think of it or watch someone bypass warning signs.

My Stars They Were Beautiful...
We went to the boat ramp at Yellowstone Lake at 2:30am on August 12 and watched the Perseid Meteor Shower.  Pretty neat.  No ambient light and high altitude.  Magnificent.

Here is a link to some photos of the shooting stars.  I don't know how to shoot good night time pics.  Rats!

I Think It's Waning Out There...
The number of people in the park is on the wane.  The season is drawing to a close.  Pretty soon it will be as if we have the park to ourselves.  We are having a grand time here and look forward to the next month of lesser crowds while we pursue more "Chasin' Our Dreams!"

Friday, August 3, 2012

Another Early Morning...

Third Morning Rising Early...
Remember my last post?  I said we got up three times.  I described two.  Well, the third was not as neat as the first two.  No pics for this one.

Truck Concerns...
Monday, we got up at 4:00am to drive 100 miles to Cody.  We had a 7:30 appointment at the Dodge dealer.  The "Check Engine" light came on about 10 days ago.  The Dodge dealer had blocked 5 hours to see what was going on.  $eemed a little exce$$ive to me but it wa$ a warranty job...

A beautiful morning.  Too bad we could not stop to smell the flowers and sulphur springs.

Did you know that the bison move about the park on the roadways at night?  We did not see a single bison, but they left a BUNCH of evidence of their passing on the road.

When we got to Cody we had to stop at the car wash to clean off the bison poop.  I could not make the mechanic work in it.

We got to my sister, Demity's, house at 7:15 all sparkly clean.  We quickly lifted the camper off and zoomed over to the Dealer.

In the five minutes between Demity's house and the Dodge dealer ----  the "Check Engine" light turned off!!!!

What th....??  Did the truck know it was going to the doctor and suddenly feel all better?

Prior to going to Cody I did some research and found out that these Cummins engines like to be driven hard.  They are work horses.  We have been puttering about the park at low RPMs.  That clogs up the pollution stuff and other techy things resulting in the "Check Engine" light glaring from the dash.

Considering all the bells and whistles on this truck you'd think it could have shouted "Hey, can you put your foot in it a little?  I'm choking to death here."

I have been running the past week at higher RPMs.  The Dodge guy said the system cleaned itself out by driving it hard.  Sheesh.

Oh well, let's get a couple other things done since we had 5 hours blocked out.  Rotate the tires, fix the little overhead light that has a loose connection .  On/off, on/off.  No clapping required.

Tires were rotated - $20 even tho we bought the truck from them  --  Kinda hoped they'd comp that.

Light - Wellllll, they couldn't get to it because the 5 hours were blocked for a different technician.

Grrrr.  I'll fix it myself.

We drove 100 miles through all kinds of crap just to get more when we got to town.

At least the issue causing the 'Check Engine' light cleared itself up.  I now know how to drive appropriately to keep the system cleaned out.  AND - the tire$ have been rotated.

We spent the rest of the day and night camped in my sister's driveway in Cody.  We sure do enjoy our visits with Demity and John.

Tuesday - Billings, MT...
Tuesday we went to Billings, MT; 100 miles from Cody; 200 from our place in the park.  It is the closest Sam's Club and Cabela's from Cody.  We needed some things from both plus it's fun just to get away for a few days.  It is kind of strange to realize just how remote Yellowstone and all of Wyoming are.  Towns are small and things are a LONG way away.

An interesting fact - Wyoming is a little over 1/3 the size of Texas, yet it has a population of less than 600,000.  That is sparse with a capital arse.  Traveling 100 miles to shop is routine.

Anyway, we camped, for the first time, in a KOA.  Believe it or not, it was the cheapest place to park for the night.  A nice RV park.

We Like Arctic Foxes...
Wednesday found us doing our shopping and looking at some Arctic Fox campers.  We've heard a lot of good things about them and want to get a bit educated.  Someday we will have to replace our motorhome and we are learning as much as we can about good quality rigs.  We have no plans to make a move any time soon, but it is fun to research.

The other day in Cody, we saw an Arctic Fox 5th wheel in front of a house.  I decided to stop and see if they were of a mind to visit.

Lois was a bit skeptical when she answered the door.  I explained that we saw their trailer and had never looked at an Arctic Fox before.  A couple minutes later we were inside it and learning all about its features.

To say she was enthusiastic about her RV is an understatement.

We were impressed with the quality of Arctic Fox.  They are now on our short list for possible future purchase.

Back to Cody...
We returned to Cody and had a fun evening with Demity - Pizza, adult beverages and a movie that kept us laughing - Wanderlust. (Disclaimer:  Some of the content is really not appropriate for young'uns!)

Days Off Are Over...
We're back in the park and ready for work.  Great days off with lots of time spent "Chasin' Our Dreams!"