Adventures beyond time

Adventures beyond time

Friday, January 18, 2019

Adding Photos from Pam and James

On Day 1 of our trip we flew to Bozeman, Montana and walked through the downtown.
Walking in to Bozeman
Taking advantage of the street art in downtown Bozeman.

On Day 2, we took a shuttle from Bozeman to Mammoth Hot Springs and a Snow Coach from Mammoth to the Snow Lodge at Old Faithful. Each shuttle took several hours.
Note the ice-covered, yellow travertine formations behind us in these two pictures.
These are at Mammoth Hot Springs
The Snow Coach stopped at Norris Basin for our first really snowy walk.
Norris also gave us our first experience with Yellowstone's thermal features.
On Day 3 we donned our cute hats to visit the Continental Divide, Kepler Falls, and West Thumb Geyser Basin.

Kepler Falls in the background.
Snow was deep at the Continental Divide.
Snowing at West Thumb.
In awe of West Thumb, snow, cold, and all.
On Day 4, I mostly watched the snow from inside the lodge. Pam and James spent a few hours outdoors walking near the Old Faithful geyser.
Waiting for Old Faithful to erupt.
Past the closed Visitor Center, on the path marked by the posts, to Old Faithful.
Antidote to brrrrrrrr.
On Day 5, we had gorgeous weather for walking all through the Old Faithful Upper Geyser Basin in the morning. In the afternoon, we took the Snow Coach to the west side of the Park, along the Madison River.    

Old Faithful, with a sign warning us not to approach the wildlife.
Beauty and calmness
Wearing my zaktrax and using my trekking poles in the snow
Looking at the sun over the valley
 On Day 6, we descend from the Park to the real world, stopping at Firehole Basin for a final farewell to Yellowstone and watching the vegetation change as we come down into Mammoth, Paradise Valley and Bozeman.
This and the two subsequent photos show bobby sock trees at Firehole Basin. They occur when the water gets hotter because of an earthquake or other natural happening. The tress die slowly however they continue to take up minerals for a while near the roots and those minerals accumulate at the base of the trees.

This beautiful hot springs is also at Firehole.
Farewell Yellowstone
We had a great time!
Last views, from the windows of the Snow Coach

The red trees are willows. they are returning in the Park since the re-introduction of wolves. There are about 8-0 wolves in the whole Park. They have kept the size of the elk herd in check and stopped the overgrazing by elk which had eliminated all the willows. The willows will support more small mammals and more birds.
Paradise Valley from the Mammoth to Bozeman shuttle.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Our Trip to Yellowstone in Winter

The posts below chronicle the trip Pam, James, and I just made to Yellowstone. We were away 7 days. the final day was fully consumed by air travel, which is not worth of being chronicled. Therefore,  I have selected a couple of favorite videos to include in this post. The posts below follow our fun from Day 1 through Day 6. You will have to click on "Older Posts" a couple of times to see all the days.

Steam Vents

Mud pots

A Coyote on our trail

 Old Faithful, Upper Geyser Basin

Castle Geyser

Old Faithful

At Norris Geyser Basin

Ice Skating Rink at Snow Lodge

Monday, January 14, 2019

Yellowstone in Winter, Day 1

On January 4 2019, I flew out to Bozeman Mt for a week in Yellowstone's winter wonderland with Pam and James. Russ decided he had a lifetime of winter while living in star Lake and that he preferred to stay home in Florida with Stela.

I had seen pictures of snowy Yellowstone over the years and imagined how beautiful and fun it might be to visit when the roads go unplowed and you need to ride in on a snowmobile or in a 'snow coach' with huge, low-pressure wheels. In July, I got an email ad (probably because of my Grand Canyon walk two winters ago) touting the wonders of winter in Yellowstone and offering a big discount. I fell for it. Later I learned that the Christmas in July discount is not any better than the usually available Frosty Fun Package, but both are better than the rack rates.

It took a lot more planning during the fall to determine our dates and select our activities. That kept our excitement going. Finally, the day arrived.

I flew from Gainesville to Atlanta to Minneapolis to Bozeman. Pam and James from Richmond to Minneapolis to Bozeman. We arrived together on the final flight, checked in to our Bozeman hotel and walked through the city's quaint downtown before dinner back to the hotel. It was a smooth first day ending with a nice walk and good dinner.

First view of the mountains, from the ground, was at the airport.
Pam in Bozeman. The ornate brick buildings were mostly built by Irish laborers in the 1800s.
Bozeman has many restaurants, pubs, and shops in these old brick buildings. This pub's murals were notable.

Outside a brick pub
Downtown Bozeman
The original Ted's Montana Grill
The sidewalk cafe called to us only as a photo opp on this snowy Friday afternoon

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Yellowstone in Winter, Day 2

The second day of our adventure involved two shuttle rides to get us to the Old Faithful section of the Park. The first was a large bus that drove us from Bozeman, through Paradise Valley, to Mammoth Hot Springs, the Park's north entrance. We had about an hour there to walk to the travertine terraces that are the highlight of the spot. We then boarded our 15-passenger Snow Coach to ride on the unplowed, snow packed roads to the Snow Lodge at Old Faithful.

Because President Trump's government shutdown includes the Department of Interior, we were unsure until the last minute whether the National Parks would be closed and our trip would be cancelled. However, he allowed the concessioners who operate the lodges, shuttles, and tours to continue to use the National Parks, although all federal employees were furloughed.

There were no rangers taking entrance fees or monitoring the north entrance when we drove through. Most noticeable to us was the large number of snowmobiles on the roads. Yellowstone allows only 200 snowmobiles per day into the Park. They must enter in groups no larger than 12. Drivers must be 18 and have a drivers license. The concessioners must provide  training to the machine drivers and must have a licensed guide with each group to keep them on allowed roads and assure safety. The machines must be of the most up-to-date technology to minimize pollution. Rangers assure the rules are followed, but there are no rangers now and rules were clearly not being followed. We saw many young teens, but hopefully they were not the drivers.

The Visitor Center at Mammoth was closed as was the one at Old Faithful while we were there. The roads in the interior are not plowed in winter; they are groomed by Park employees. The concessioner that runs the Snow Lodge hired groomers to assure safety. We saw one snowmobiler overturn his or her machine on soft snow at the edge of the road. We heard of another who fell, with her machine, into a river. The folks who told us about it had been in a Snow Coach right behind her. She was not with a sanctioned group. The Snow Coach passengers called 911 and a helicopter landed on the groomed road to take the woman to a hospital.

We had a totally delightful ride on our Snow Coach. The driver-guide stopped foe about an hour at one of her favorite places in the Park, Norris Geyser Basin. It was our first really snow view. Most of the trees are lodgepole pines. The snow was piled on their branches. The earth was boiling up from the volcano beneath us. It was the first of many breathtaking walks in the Park.

It was almost dark when we arrived at the Snow Lodge. It did not disappoint. The lobby is beautiful. In front of the huge fireplace, chairs are arranged around tables with puzzles and board games, and people working them. Our comfortable second floor rooms were just off a loft overlooking the lobby. My hand soap was shaped like a teddy bear. There are no televisions.  The dining room was efficient and relatively quiet. The staff were great. It was hard to turn in on such a day, but we had a trip to the Great Continental Divide at 7:45 the next day, so we had to give up before too late.
Roosevelt Arch leading into the Park
Buildings at Mammoth appearing on our horizon
Travertine cone

travertine terraces
Boarding the Snow Coach for the several-hour ride to Old Faithful

Early view from the Snow Coach
Obsidian rock that has been found traded by the Native Americans as far east as Ohio
We walked way down there at Norris Geyser Basin, our stop along the route into the interior of the Park

Lodgepole pines in the snow
Pines and geysers

hot, blue earth

rivers of green

Stay on the walkway!
Walking back up to the bus

What an introduction!
Snow Lodge lobby from our loft lobby perspective

View out my window right over the entrance to Snow Lodge