RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life


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Feline Friday – #114 – that cat is toast

That cat is toast! Hey don’t blame me. Would I put my beloved cat in a toaster… well, sometimes I feel like it with Frankie as he is SO naughty. Disclaimer before I get mail: I do NOT in any way condone this behavior. And the toaster is not plugged in.

I know, as usual, I am behind on responding to my followers and commenting on your posts. The days and weeks are not long enough for everything I do. I get up early and go to bed late. My days are full. I need an unpaid assistant!

Frankie has gone berserk lately. He lives in different areas of the house for about a month at a time. On the toilet tank. In a box by the front door. On the window sill. On a chair in the living room. Then he moves on to the next place. He craves having me pick him up to cuddle. Then he jumps out of my arms to wherever his current residence may be. I have no idea what is going on!

Right now I’m pissed off because I can’t use my toaster oven! Can’t wait for him to move to his next living space.

 


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Old Faithful – Yellowstone

Established in 1872, Yellowstone became the first national park in the world. Now over 90 countries have national parks. This 2,219,766 acre park contains almost 300 geysers and over 10,000 hot springs, fumaroles and mud pots. Moose, elk, bison, bears and wolves roam the area. (From the Caravan itinerary.)

We stayed two nights at Old Faithful Inn. I could have stayed a week. Elevation here is 7300 feet.

Old Faithful Inn is a massive building within a short viewing distance of Old Faithful Geyser, the most famous geyser in the United States. The building is an exposed log and wood-frame structure of rustic design and gigantic proportions: nearly 700 feet in length and a central core seven stories high. The building was constructed in three major phases: the 1903 original section (known as the Old House) with the imposing gable roof, dining room and kitchen wings to the south, and small guest-room wings to the east and west; the 1913-14 east wing; and the 1927 west wing. The building faces north, oriented toward the old “circuit road” rather that toward the geyser. The building was designed by architect Robert Reamer.

 

Old Faithful Inn undoubtedly is the queen of rustic hotels in the national parks. Its use of natural materials, allusions to pioneer building techniques, and strong ties with its site through the use of onsite materials are three key principles of rustic design with which National Park Service architects worked through World War II.


 

It was fabulous to watch Old Faithful as evening settled in.

From Wikipedia: On the afternoon of September 18, 1870, the members of the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition traveled down the Firehole River from the Kepler Cascades and entered the Upper Geyser Basin. The first geyser that they saw was Old Faithful. Nathaniel P. Langford wrote in his 1871 Scribner’s account of the expedition:

In the early days of the park, Old Faithful was often used as a laundry:

Oh, I wish I could be there right now!


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Mammoth Hot Springs at Yellowstone

Three years ago my same traveling companions and I took a Sierra Club trip to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons. It was an in depth look at these areas with plenty of hikes and walks. This trip with Caravan only touched on the places at those two areas. But we got to visit some other places we didn’t see on the previous trip. You lose some, you win some. And in general I was very happy with what we saw on this trip.

I have to admit that the stop at Mammoth Hot Springs was pretty disappointing. It is such a spectacular area. On the Sierra Club trip we started at the top and walked all the way down to the bottom with plenty of time to stop for photo ops. On this tour we were dropped off at the bottom and we had only a short time to view the springs on the lower level.

I felt sorry for the people who had never seen Mammoth Hot Springs before and would never come again… but on the other hand, what they don’t know, they probably wouldn’t miss! I counted my blessings I was able to see the whole of the Springs on my previous trip.

 

You can see my photos of the previous trip to Mammoth Hot Springs at my former blog, One Good Life Travels.

Mammoth Hot Springs is a large complex of hot springs on a hill of travertine in Yellowstone National Park adjacent to Fort Yellowstone and the Mammoth Hot Springs Historic District.[3] It was created over thousands of years as hot water from the spring cooled and deposited calcium carbonate (over two tons flow into Mammoth each day in a solution). Because of the huge amount of geothermal vents, travertine flourishes.[4] Although these springs lie outside the caldera boundary, their energy has been attributed to the same magmatic system that fuels other Yellowstone geothermal areas. – Wikipedia

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Feline Friday – #113 – recycling

We are conscientious recyclers at our house and that includes the cats. But Frankie got a little carried away.


Yeah, there are days I would like to recycle Frankie… more often than not. But he isn’t on the list of recyclables.

Of course this doesn’t stop my neighbors from throwing food, clothing and coat hangers in the recycling bins!


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Battle of the Little Big Horn… or Custer’s Last Stand

Until I graduated from high school and my parents finally settled in Los Angeles (buying a house), I lived the life of a nomad moving here, there and everywhere… and back again! My schooling was spotty to say the least so I never had a continuous grasp of American history. And what I did know was from the perspective of the White European Settler. My knowledge of the Battle of Little Big Horn had to do with the bravery of the white “American” soldiers.

As I am admittedly not very big on American history, my interest in visiting the Little Big Horn Battlefield was limited. But after seeing the area and learning about what really took place here, I have to say I am grateful for the opportunity to see it first hand. This is certainly one of the values of traveling. You can watch documentaries on TV or read books forever but it doesn’t have the same impact as actually being there!

Memorial to Custer and his soldiers who died during the battle

“The Battle of the Little Bighorn, known to the Lakota and other Plains Indians as the Battle of the Greasy Grass[10] and also commonly referred to as Custer’s Last Stand, was an armed engagement between combined forces of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes and the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army. The battle, which resulted in the defeat of U.S. forces, was the most significant action of the Great Sioux War of 1876. It took place on June 25–26, 1876, along the Little Bighorn River in the Crow Indian Reservation in southeastern Montana Territory….” Wikipedia.

As with all battles and wars, the tombstones are the reminders of the costs.

“The fight was an overwhelming victory for the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho, who were led by several major war leaders, including Crazy Horse and Chief Gall, and had been inspired by the visions of Sitting Bull (Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake). The U.S. 7th Cavalry, a force of 700 men, suffered a major defeat while under the command of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer (formerly a brevetted major general during the American Civil War). Five of the 7th Cavalry’s twelve companies were annihilated and Custer was killed, as were two of his brothers, a nephew and a brother-in-law. The total U.S. casualty count included 268 dead and 55 severely wounded (six died later from their wounds),[12] including four Crow Indian scouts and at least two Arikara Indian scouts…” Wikipedia.

During this trip there was a lot of emphasis on the Native American. I wonder if in years past (say ten years ago) there was the same awareness

 

Indian Memorial by Colleen Cutschall

Public response to the Great Sioux War varied in the immediate aftermath of the battle. Libbie Custer, Custer’s widow, soon worked to burnish her husband’s memory, and during the following decades Custer and his troops came to be considered iconic, even heroic, figures in American history. The battle, and Custer’s actions in particular, have been studied extensively by historians.[13] Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument honors those who fought on both sides… Wikipedia.


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Devil’s Tower

I was very excited that we were making an unscheduled photo op stop at Devil’s Tower National Monument made famous by the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Aside from its Hollywood connections, I’ve always been fascinated by its formation.

Rising 1,267 feet above the Belle Fourche River, Devils Tower has long been a beacon, attracting people and capturing their imaginations since prehistoric times. Today, it continues to hold many meanings for people including American Indians, local ranchers, rock climbers, and thousands of visitors.

Using the authority of the newly created Antiquities Act, President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Devils Tower America’s first national monument on September 24, 1906.

I always love to take photos of chairs and benches and this one seemed particularly “Welcoming.”

 

 


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Mount Rushmore

Ever since I saw the movie North by Northwest with Cary Grant and the wonderful James Mason I have wanted to tread in Mr. Grant’s footsteps at Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln.

While it wasn’t quite possible to trace his footsteps… especially as he really walked on a mockup in the MGM studios in Culver City… I was quite pleased to see the monument in real life.

I knew there was construction at the site beforehand and we weren’t able to take the hiking trail all the way up because of it. But it was my one opportunity to take the trip with friends… and who knows if I would get that chance again. I wasn’t disappointed.

Looking out on to the beautiful scenery of South Dakota. And another magnet for my refrigerator. It doesn’t get any better than that!

 


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Crazy Horse Memorial

Korczak Ziolkowski began work on Crazy Horse Memorial in 1948. Once complete, this tribute to the Lakota leader will be the largest mountain carving in South Dakota, and the world.

The Crazy Horse Memorial is a mountain monument under construction on privately held land in the Black Hills, in Custer County, South Dakota, United States. The sculpture’s final dimensions are planned to be 641 feet (195 m) long and 563 feet (172 m) high. The arm of Crazy Horse will be 263 feet (80 m) long and the head 87 feet (27 m) high; by comparison, the heads of the four U.S. Presidents at Mount Rushmore are each 60 feet (18 m) high.

Model for final sculpture  The monument is being carved out of Thunderhead Mountain, on land considered sacred by some Oglala Lakota, between Custer and Hill City, roughly 17 miles (27 km) from Mount Rushmore.

Schematic for final mountain sculpture.

Cat fitting the color scheme stopped to wash itself, not caring about the bust of Wild Bill Hickock.

Henry Standing Bear (“Mato Naji”), an Oglala Lakota chief, and well-known statesman and elder in the Native American community, recruited and commissioned Polish-American sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski to build the Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota. In October 1931.

These 46 feet long & 8 to 10 high steel gates with 270 brass silhouettes of animals were created by famous Polish-American sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski.

The memorial is a non-profit undertaking, and does not accept federal or state funding. The Memorial Foundation finances the project by charging fees for its visitor centers, earning revenue from its gift shops and receiving contributions. Ziolkowski reportedly was offered US$10 million for the project from the federal government on two occasions, but he turned the offers down. He felt the project was more than just a mountain carving, and he feared that his plans for the broader educational and cultural goals of the memorial would be overturned by federal involvement.[11]

After Ziolkowski died in 1982 at age 74, his widow Ruth Ziolkowski, took charge of the sculpture, overseeing work on the project as CEO from the 1980s to the 2010s.[12][13] Ruth Ziolkowski decided to focus on the completion of Crazy Horse’s face first, instead of the horse as her husband had originally planned. She believed that Crazy Horse’s face, once completed, would increase the sculpture’s draw as a tourist attraction, which would provide additional funding.[12] She also oversaw the staff, which included seven of her children.[13]

Sixteen years later, in 1998, the face of Crazy Horse was completed and dedicated; Crazy Horse’s eyes are 17 feet (5 m) wide.[14] Ruth Ziolkowski and seven of the Ziolkowskis’ 10 children carried on work at the memorial.[15] Ruth’s daughter, Monique Ziolkowski, herself a sculptor, modified some of her father’s plans to ensure that the weight of the outstretched arm was supported sufficiently.[16] The foundation commissioned reports from two engineering firms in 2009 to help guide completion of the project.[16] Work commenced on the horse after two years of careful planning and measurements.[12]

Ruth Ziolkowski died 21 May 2014, aged 87.[17] Monique Ziolkowski, Ruth’s daughter, became CEO and three of her siblings continue to work on the project, as well as three of Monique’s nephews.[18]

Credit to Wikipedia (which I support annually) for info.

 


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Rapid City, South Dakota

Theodore Roosevelt

We arrived in Rapid City, South Dakota to start our journey through that state, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Utah. Statues of all the US presidents are erected on every street corner.

Bicycles at the ready.

Our restaurant the second night. I generally don’t eat four legged animals for all kinds of reasons but I enjoyed this bison burger for all kinds of reasons…

Lyndon Johnson. A very under-appreciated president who did a lot of good for the country… just my opinion.

Rapid City has a  very cute little downtown area.

Downtown plaza area.

John Adams

We sat in the plaza eating ice cream as the sun went down.

A glorious start to a wonderful trip. Stay tuned for more posts!


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Japanese garden reopens

The Japanese Garden at the Huntington Library and Gardens reopened recently after a year-long renovation so a friend and I paid a visit.

And I always enjoy sauntering around the gardens finding little miscellaneous scenes to photograph.

Another brilliant day at the Huntington ends with an equally brilliant lunch… the Mexican chop salad: