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Monday, July 20, 2015

BOZEMAN

We decided to take a week and relax around Bozeman on our return journey.      We made several trips to Yellowstone and spent the rest of the time relaxing and exploring the area around town.

Driving in one of the canyons, I was drawn to this barn.     I loved that they still had their Christmas wreath hanging.      This barn has something for everyone - metal roof, red paint, log cabin finish and the wreath.




At the end of the canyon was a nice hike to this waterfall.     It didn't have the most water in its fall, but that just  gave it more character as it broke over the rocks.



This dog loved to walk back and forth along the little pond at the base of the waterfalls.



This look of the water breaking over the rocks was my favorite part of this hike.  



Some one left their backpack along the trail.    This little guy seems pretty curious.



This is a shot from Yellowstone.      I love the colors and the reflections.


Our Alaska adventure has come to an end.      We are back visiting our son and many friends in and around our old home in Onalaska.      Posts will be few and far between as we enjoy our time here.

The fall months will be spent in the Carolinas.     It's time to start making reservations............



Friday, July 17, 2015

YELLOWSTONE 2

This beautiful falls is called Lower Falls.     Not a very special name for such an incredible place.    It is in an area of Yellowstone called the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.



You get a much better perspective of the size of the falls in this photo.     The full grown trees look like blades of grass.    Every second an average of 37,417 gallons of water plunge over these falls.     Yes, every second!       The water then plunges 308 feet to the river below.





The colors of rocks in this canyon are beautiful.          The area is 20 miles long and is more than 1,000 feet deep.  












Yes, we have animal pictures again.    




I seem to have caught the buffalo during their potty break!



The rain has been threatening all day.      We stopped for lunch along this lakefront and we could see the rain approaching.







Our final stop of the day was Old Faithful.      As you can see, by this time is is very overcast and raining.     Not the best atmosphere for a good photo, but I tried.








Okay, I cheated and stayed inside out of the rain.      We got there early and I secured a spot right against the glass.      Worked for me..............







Saturday, July 11, 2015

Yellowstone

We are spending a week in Bozeman, MT.      Our first adventure is a return trip to Yellowstone NP.

These trees are an attempt at an artistic photo - no bears or waterfalls.    Enjoy!








The North entrance to the park is my favorite, maybe because this is where I caught the two elk fighting during rut season a few years ago.     It is still my favorite wildlife moment.     If I had the external hard drive with me, I would share those photos.     Maybe after we get back.......

Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces.    These hot springs are reshaping the mountain.     What you are seeing  here is the dissolving calcium carbonate from the springs, building travertine terraces.













This is the Liberty Cap, a dormant hot spring cone.      No further comments from me, but, Ron, this one is for you!




Of course, I found a waterfall.......................






Throughout this part of the park, the hills were covered in daisies.




On to the animals.    I loved the rack on this guy.




This antelope surprised me as we rounded a corner.



A trip to Yellowstone would not be complete without a large herd of buffalo crossing the road.     I think we sat and waited for nearly half an hour for them to meander from the left side of the road to the right.








We will return to Yellowstone two more times before our time in Bozeman is finished.




Friday, July 10, 2015

Waterton - Our Final Day

Today we decided to drive to some of the outlying areas of Waterton Park.

Our first stop on the Akamina Parkway was Cameron Lake.      This is a sub alpine lake that reaches depths of more than 130 feet.     Most of the lakes we have seen on this trip have lots of glacier and snow run off and are too cold to be enjoyed.     Cameron Lake, however, is a fun family lake, much like we would see back in the midwest.       There is also a nice gentle hike for one mile along the west shore.      It was a beautiful walk - I especially appreciated a break from the mountain inclines we usually have on our walks.





If you look carefully in the background you can see all the people on the beach.








Our next spot was at the end of the Red Rock Canyon Parkway.       What a fun place for families. This canyon is a water carved gorge where the bedrock contains a high concentration of iron.    The iron oxidizes and turns red when exposed to air.     The rock literally rusts.

As you can see, it is a very popular place for entire families to hike up the gorge over the rocks and shallow water.







I had to give you one final bear picture from Canada.     I had never seen a bear sleeping high up in a tree, but now I have.



This family of mountain goats came down out of the mountains, crossed the parkway and stopped right by our car.     There were close to 20 in the group.



Karen, can you explain what is happening to his coat?






We are off to Bozeman, Montana with visits to Yellowstone.     Because of the July 4th holiday we were unable to get any rooms around Glacier NP like we had hoped.    (Yes, I am behind on my posts, we entered the U.S.A. on July 4th)


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Waterton NP



Our next stop is in Waterton National Park.     It's our last stop in Alberta, Canada before returning to the U.S.A.

This is also home to the landmark hotel, Prince of Wales.     It is a 7 story gabled structure built in 1927 on a hill overlooking Upper Waterton Lake.    It was another grand mountain resort financed by the railway, except, unlike those in Banff and Jasper, it had no rail link and has always been U.S. owned.    It was built as part of a chain of first-class hotels in Glacier National Park and is still owned by the company that controls those in the U.S.




This is Upper Waterton Lake.       We decided to take advantage of this beautiful day to do another boat trip.




This trip would take us from Waterton, Alberta, Canada into Montana and back into Waterton.     These markers were for the international border.






International law requires that there be a clearly marked border between the two countries so they cut out a swath of trees along the border.       We spent some "land time" at the end of the lake, which is in Montana, but you only had to pass customs if you were not immediately returning on the same boat.   (some people like to hike this remote forest and return on a later boat)     The customs agents came over on the boat with us since we were the first boat of the day.



Our captain has been doing this for a couple decades, but the first time I saw him I thought perhaps he was homeless.      He was barefoot, shirtless, ponytail, etc.      At one time he literally jumped into the lake and swam around.

He then proceeded to put on a shirt and shoes, and his persona changed into the captain.      Shows you should not judge by appearance!        To be totally fair, he was a great captain, gave us lots of information about the trip and kept us totally safe.










Yes, we saw this bear on the shoreline.       I have been amazed at the number of bear we have seen on this adventure.     This is a black bear, despite it's brown coloring.     I've learned to look at ears, rears and humps to differentiate between black bear and grizzlys.    

The best indicators are the size of the shoulders, the profile of the face and the length of the claws. The grizzly bear has a pronounced shoulder hump, which the black bear lacks. It also has a concave or “dished” facial profile, smaller ears and much larger claws than the black bear. Black bears have a flatter, “Roman-nose” profile, larger ears, no visible shoulder hump and smaller claws.

This knowledge could save your life if you get caught in a potential bear attack situation.        If you are attacked by a grizzly you should play dead.    However, if you are attacked by a black bear, playing dead will be like wearing a sign that says "This is your dinner".      Fortunately, I never had to test these recommendations!








On the return trip we saw another bear at a different location.







I love the color and design of this rock wall.        To me it looked like an abstract painting.




These colorful rocks were in the lake.



The Village of Waterton is charming.       It has only a handful of year round residents  (single digits) but is vibrant with hotels, restaurants and shops during the summer months.

We fell in love with this town and park and will probably return in the future.