Monday, September 17, 2012

Day 16

Montana Saga - Final Day

Mimi writes:

We took advantage of The Pollard Hotel's wonderful breakfast before heading out to catch our flight out of Billings. We arrived in Atlanta at 11:00 p.m. and drove to the lake house to spend the night. We were pleasantly surprised to find the lights on and were warmly welcomed by Mike, Megan, Clancy and Holly (who had all been on a hike together earlier in the day.) Home sweet home. We praise God for every minute of the trip and for a safe return.

Day 15

Montana Saga - Day 15

Mimi says:

Our last day of sight-seeing before we head back to Billings to turn in our little gray Corolla and jump on the plane for SC. We began this day in Jackson Hole and headed up the road through Grand Teton National Park for a last peek (or peak)...except that the smoke from the 3 neighboring forest fires was covering those beautiful mountains and we could barely see them. Then up through the east side of Yellowstone National Park for a last look at the buffalo and antelope. Next on the list was the scenic Beartooth Hwy. That took us up a winding path to an elevation of about 9000 ft to what folks call "the top of the world"... and the view was fabulous! Our pictures cannot show the height and depth of what we were seeing. Once again...layers and layers of mountains. We made it to Red Lodge and decided to stay in that cute little town for our last evening. We had a steak dinner at the Carbon County Steakhouse and snagged a room at The Pollard Hotel.  It will only take an hour to drive to Billings tomorrow.

Neat moss.

Free range cattle.

Day 14

Montana Saga - Day 14

Alan writes:

We came on the trip to get our large game stamps validated.  Today we got our chipmunk and field mouse ones covered but still no bears.  We came up with nicknames for the bears when we ultimately saw them, names like grizlo, grizzle and griz-lon but we'll have to save them until the next time we come west or a circus comes to town.  Still it was a fun and beautiful trip with Mimi.

Mimi says:

Today was another fun day of exploring gravel roads in the park ... and off the map! We should have seen tons of grizzly bears ... gave them EVERY opportunity to show up ... and I think we were in their habitat (for sure.) But alas, we only spotted swans, a ptarmigan, and a coyote.

Beautiful lane with gorgeous fall color!
We were served dinner by the cast and then got to see the play.

another ptarmigan 
YUM...sugar-raised doughnuts!

Yet another coyote, but no  grizzly.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Day 13

Montana Saga - Day 13

Alan writes:

Today we drove into Teton National Park.  The mountains in the park, the plains and prairie are stunning.  However, there are no animals- None!  They list animals in their park literature.  At every crossroads there is a sign telling you to drive slowly to save the life of a wild animal.  The only problem is that all the animals have moved to another park or totally out of the parks altogether.  For me, that is no great big deal.  I get to see sweet animals every day at work.  Mimi, the wildlife seeker, however, is not impressed.  We drove the Teton park loop and then drove 7-8 miles down a gravel road outside the park.  We never saw a thing.  Mimi may have a differing opinion but this is mine.

Mimi says:

My favorite part of today was not Teton National Park (even though the scenery was beautiful.) Seeing the moose on the way to the park, and finding our little dinner place in Jackson at the end of the day were my highlights.

Beautiful moose on the way to Teton National Park.
Grand Teton Mountains.

The variation in color is so gorgeous!
Aspen trees.
Layers of mountains... everywhere!
Fires everywhere... some "planned burns",  others partially contained 'real' fires.
Our favorite dinner spot in Jackson, WY.  Cafe Genevieve.
Great cow pictures at Cafe Genevieve. Alan loves cows.
I love bacon!
This is Alan's "You've taken enough pictures" face.
Hotel Terra in Jackson Hole.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Day 12

Montana Saga- Day 12

Alan writes:

OK, I’m just going to begin with two old examples.  The first is Sergeant Joe Friday in Dragnet.  He is famous for the saying, “Just the facts ma’am.”  That’s what I’m giving you today.  No frills, no editorializing.  We left the 320 Ranch headed for Yellowstone.  About 20 minutes on the road and we saw our first “clear” moose- a beautiful bull in a small copse of trees and alders.  Once we entered Yellowstone we saw our first bison bull also within about 20 minutes.  Later we saw a cool small herd of elk with numerous cows and babies but also one awesome bull.  During the trip through the park we ran into three or four delays for road repair.  During one of these we saw a coyote who was so focused on whatever prey he was looking for that he barely noticed us.  We finished Yellowstone late in the day and headed straight through a dark Teton National Park, complete with elk in the road for the second time during our trip.  We arrived at our hotel (a neat place Mimi got for us in Teton Village) late in the night having traveled down a nine mile road with overhanging trees, encroaching bushes and lapping water from a beaver-dammed stream and, though we personally avoided this, an angry grizzly sow with cubs that would charge cars.

I said two old examples.  The second is old S&H Green stamps.  You used to get S&H stamps every time you went through a check out line at the local supermarket.  When you filled up your book you could then redeem them for something valuable, e.g.-knives, flatware, etc.  Today we went a long way toward filling up our book.  We got the coveted Moose stamp, the elusive Elk stamp, the massive Bison stamp and the seldom-seen Coyote stamp.  All that remains is the Mountain Lion, Lynx, Wolverine and Grizzly bear stamps and we are done, finito!

Mimi says:

What can I say? What an awesome ANIMAL day! I’m a happy camper.


Another Coyote!
Beautiful sunset.

Buffalo patty ;o/
Thank goodness for hand sanitizer!

Geothermic vents at Yellowstone
More buffalo.
This marmot was up so high that our zoom lens almost didn't pick him up!  Alan's zoom eye spotted him.
Find the chipmunk in this picture.
We had this picnic lunch (snack) in the car while we watched this industrious little squirrel run back and forth across the street picking up nuts. He must have run 10 miles while we watched him! Really cute. He had a fun pattern where he would run across the street,  hop up on a log,  look around & scratch,  jump down & run the length of a fallen tree,  pick up a nut and follow his same path in reverse...then start over again.

Cute, huh!

Not snow, SALT!

More elk!