Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Our kitten has been under the weather these last few days.  She has spent some time at the vet's office and at a cat hospital overnight, but she is, thankfully, getting better. 

I haven't seen Penny since June 1st when Tim drove south with her to Pennsylvania and eventually to Virginia (he's interning in D.C.).  They've never been apart since we adopted her in Austria, but I currently must settle for emailed photos and the occasional meow over the phone.  Really missing her, especially knowing she is unwell and in some pain.  This loco katze is our heart.  

Sunday, August 23, 2015

pretty views, smokey evenings, red sunsets

Shoshone Lake

mallards on the Firehole

lovely colors

a smokey evening on Fountain Flats

graduated colors of grey and purple - smoke coming in from Montana & Idaho creates an almost surreal landscape

sunset on the Firehole River

can you spot the bald eagle who scared off a colony of avocets I was watching?

sunset over Pocket Basin

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

morning in the Upper Geyser Basin

a cold, steamy start to the day

fall is coming!

a rather vocal and photogenic Osprey

Daisy Geyser

this spot felt a bit magical

loving the dappled light on the water

fringed gentian

Thursday, August 13, 2015

mountains and mammals

the view from a stop along the road to Signal Mountain
Took a trip to Grand Teton National Park yesterday.  I think I had forgotten just how stunning these mountains are.  Having lived so close to the Absarokas, Bridgers, Gallatins and Crazies in Montana, those in Wyoming were floating somewhere in the back yard of my memory, not so much front and center.  Glad to have refreshed my recollection.

Mount Moran
evening light on the Tetons with the Snake River aglow below

Aside from the mountains and overall gorgeous view of the Snake River Valley, we also saw a black bear from the car, very close to the road.  We could hear its footsteps and see pine needles stuck in its fur!  We made a stop at the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center in Moose, WY where we were allowed to handle full-sized animal pelts - black bear (very soft ears), grizzly bear (thick, coarse fur), fox (wouldn't ever do it or support it, but I understand why people have worn them around their neck), mountain lion (good gravy, what a long tail), coyote (feels just like a pet dog) and wolf (big feet and a great, deep coat of fur).  Inside, we watched a simulation of how the mountains and valley were created over millennia.  We also got to touch swatches of fur from many critters such as moose, pronghorn, lynx, bobcat, mule deer, bison and elk.  

I may have said more than once in the past that I would love to pet a bison, but I wouldn't ever actually do it.  I've imagined sticking my fingers in the halo of brown that surrounds their head and poofs out between their horns.  But I value my life more than my desire to do so, and thankfully the National Park Service provides opportunity for people like me to  touch things.  I like tangible. 

trees and sky reflected in the Lewis River

En route to the Tetons, we made a stop and were treated to pretty scenery, a pika sighting, and a golden-mantled ground squirrel perched on a rock.

a pika

I read a lovely children's book yesterday about a pika who wanted a tail just like marmots and pine martens have.  This photo makes me think of the story.  Look at those ears and little round bum!  The book is titled A Pika's Tail: A Children's Story About Mountain Wildlife, written by Sally Plumb.

As a former tour guide / driver in Yellowstone, I know I shouldn't anthropomorphise animals.  But doesn't it look as though these flowers could have been picked for purposes other than sustenance or nest building?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sometimes it pays to be the early bird

Lone Star Geyser.  Looks a bit otherworldly to me in this shot.

check out the rainbow in the mist to the left

Ahh....the Firehole.  I've spent many an hour sitting by this river.

Woke up this morning at 5:30 - way too early for a day off.  I went with it and got a lot done before breakfast and a ride to Lone Star geyser.  It is one of my favorites in Yellowstone.  It's an easy bike ride or walk on an old road which is still in pretty good shape.  It follows alongside the Firehole River and comes out to a clearing where the geyser's cone is the prominent feature against rolling hills and pine trees.  I had the place to myself for a bit and then had the pleasure of meeting a family of four who waited with me for the eruption.  I just love it when kids are excited by the park itself - not so much the gift shops or the ice cream cones but the thermal features and the wildlife.  These were two such kids.  So, an enjoyable bike ride, an hour spent with friendly strangers, and a geyser eruption to boot.  Oh, I saw a heron and a snake while on the trail as well.  

 What more could the day have in store?

Old Faithful eruption at sunset on August 10th

Thursday, August 6, 2015

A nice weekend away

My friend, Sheri, and I left the park this past weekend for some shopping and respite from busy park life.  We went to town - well, two towns actually - and spent the night at a guest ranch deep in Paradise Valley with another good friend and her doggie.  We ate at a few restaurants, bought some much-needed supplies, saw grizzly bears, received some Portuguese Water Dog love, had some lovely girl time, got haircuts, spent time in the small Montana town I used to call home and then took our time returning to Old Faithful.  

Lots of of conversation and laughter along with singing and dancing in the car.  What more could two ladies want?  I mean, aren't friends the best?  Sheri and I spent a few summers and a winter together at the South Pole, and I persuaded her to come to Yellowstone.  So glad she's here!  I'm also very grateful that I got to catch up with my friend Trina.  We spent several summers and winters in Yellowstone together, and I have had many of my best, most fun adventures with her.  Plus, she makes the best pancakes I've ever tasted, she taught this Yankee how to make good Southern-style sweet tea, and she served me my first ever Brussels sprout.  How blessed I have been!

Me, Nate and Sheri hanging at the Pole, nearing the end of winter 2010

Ori girl relaxing on the porch

the ranch where we spent the night - it is as peaceful as it looks

Electric Peak just after a storm