RMW: the blog

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


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Floating down the Snake River

Floating down the Snake River affords some great views… and the scenery is spectacular too! Aside from being very cute, our float guide was personable and knowledgeable and made the trip even more interesting. The Snake River flows from Yellowstone National Park meandering southwards to the Grand Tetons.

Last year I survived a similar float trip down the Bow River near Banff. It’s a terrific way to get up close and personal with nature.

Floating along listening to the waves lapping at the sides of the raft and the sound of the oar dipping into the water is extremely relaxing.

Civilization seems to be a million miles away.

Sit back and enjoy a peaceful trip down the river…

We encountered several fishermen along the way.

The skyscape in this part of the country is as gorgeous as the landscape.

As I mentioned before, this was my second visit to the Grand Tetons. The area is so amazing I hope at some point I will have the opportunity to make it a third time.


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Craig Thomas Center in the Tetons

The grand expanse of the Teton Range rises above the The Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose, Wyoming, USA. Inside, interwoven themes of place, people, preservation, mountaineering and Native American Indians encourage visitors to contemplate the past, present and future of this place.

I have to admit the views from this location are why I love to come here. See my previous post on this area here.

I love the dramatic sky in this part of the country. Back home in LA we mostly get postcard blue skies. Pretty boring.

When I got home I bought some butterfly-attracting plants for my deck. I wouldn’t mind if one of these guys decided to visit.

A great place to sit and contemplate the world. But knowing me I would be up and around after a couple of minutes!

I remember being totally blown away the first time I saw the Grand Tetons a few years ago and I still have the same reaction.

A bucolic scene… I can image sheep just beyond the fence.

Time to move on.


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Colter Bay in the Tetons

Colter Bay is located in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on the North Shore of Jackson Lake. The combination of boats and magnificent scenery make it a favorite place to take photos.

This was my second visit to this location and just as beautiful as the first time!

On this trip it was just a photo op but I was fortunate to have time to hike around on a previous trip so all was good.

If you have more time a shady walk around the bay would be in order.

Nothing grander than a back drop of the Grand Tetons!

 

 

 


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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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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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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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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:

 

 


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Santa Barbara – part two – by evening’s light

After freshening up at the hotel in Montecito (stay tuned for Part Three) we drove to the beach area. To be accurate, BG did all the driving. Thanks BG. As we strolled along Cabrillo Blvd we noticed this lovely restaurant patio. The menu looked good so decision made.

We ate dinner at Due Lune Ristorante-Bar. I ordered the Garden Party salad accompanied by the house red wine which was pretty decent. BG chose a pasta dish which looked very pretty in bright green.

We could easily have been in Sorrento, Italy! There was a nice view of Stearns Wharf, the beach and people passing by.

I love taking these Southern California getaways. We have so much to do and see in our own back yard!

It was such a gorgeous evening. The few occasions over the years when I’ve been in Santa Barbara as the sun is going down I have always been struck by the golden light as the mountains are bathed in a pink and purple glow.

Click on an image below to start the slide show:

On the walk back to the car this quirky abandoned mail box on the street caught my attention… I couldn’t just leave it standing there without taking a photograph!

 


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Santa Barbara – part one – a saunter through Lotusland


A friend and I drove up to Santa Barbara last week partly to visit Lotusland, which has been on my bucket list for a while, and partly to enjoy the city. Lotusland is actually located in Montecito, an affluent unincorporated community in Santa Barbara County, California, east of the City of Santa Barbara.


I first heard of Lotusland while visiting Santa Barbara for the Summer Solstice Festival in June, 2017. That was quite a different scene with thousands of people thronging the streets. Click here to view my blog post of that event.

Lotusland sits on 37 acres and unless you are a member you must walk through it on a tour with a docent.

It is billed as one of the top ten most beautiful gardens in the entire world. Well, it is very nice and I enjoyed the visit but I’m not sure I would go that far. Maybe we are spoiled for lovely gardens in Southern California but other gardens in other parts of the world spring to mind. Top 100 might be more realistic although I haven’t traveled enough to back that up! But it was worth seeing, for sure.


I took 240 photos during the walk and it was very hard to decide which ones to display… I could easily have included 100 in this post… but I decided to spare you and cut it down to a mere 56 with as much variety as possible… which means some of my favorites hit the cutting room floor… that hurt!

This turquoise glass slag lines the pathways… a very effective and beautiful border.

Lotusland contains about 21 different garden areas with more than 3,000 different plants from around the world. Please click on an image below to begin the slide show.

I’ll be uploading a couple more posts of our trip to the Santa Barbara area so stay tuned!


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Ventura Adventure

ventura city hall

Ventura City Hall

Ten of us adventurous souls met in Ventura for another exciting day. Seven of us took Amtrak from Los Angeles Union Station. The other three met us in Ventura.

Father Junipero Serra

I was out of bed at 3:45 to meet my friend at the bus stop at 6:15. The Expo Line was down for upgrading so we were stuck with the Metro #733 bus.

Father Junipero Serra looking out on the city of Ventura

It takes me two hours to get out of the house these days. Cleaning out the cat litter boxes, making the cat’s breakfast, watering my crops of tomatoes, lettuce, herbs, parsley, etc, making coffee, cooking breakfast, getting dressed, wandering around in a fog… it all takes time.

Ventura Botanical Gardens

I was ready to walk to the bus top by 5:45. It was beautiful walking through Culver City at that hour of the morning with only a couple of people walking their dogs and barely any traffic. So peaceful.

We arrived at Union Station with time to spare. I always like to be early instead of running at the last minute. As I always say, I would rather be two hours early than two minutes too late!

The Amtrak train left at 7:50am and we arrived in Ventura about 9:30. I LOVE traveling by train and Amtrak is soooooooo comfortable. It’s lovely to see the scenery go by from the top deck.

Our first stop was the Ventura Botanical Gardens.

The area was totally burned out in the Thomas fire of December 2017. But the gardens are being replanted and coming back quickly. You can still see the extent of the burned out areas.

The gardens are built on a hill with the option of switchback trails or stairs. I opted for the switchback. Whichever you chose there are some lovely views.

Plants are resilient and manage to grow in any situation.

Click on the first image below for a slide show:

After the hike up the hill we walked back through town towards the pier and lunch, always my favorite activity!

We ate at Beach House Fish. I ordered the wild snapper with mashed potatoes. I am a potato junkie… the way it is…

I thought this image represented the beach at Ventura!

Eating!

What a view as you eat your seafood lunch. Life is good.

After my delicious lunch I took a stroll along the pier. It’s a fishing pier.

Click on an image below for photos of the pier and views from the pier:

What a beautiful day we had with great friends!

Waiting for the Amtrak train back to Los Angeles.