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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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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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

Please support Wikipedia with a contribution.

 

 


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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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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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Feline Friday – #110 – Wild Bill

This furry feline was running through the Crazy Horse Memorial Tourist Center (South Dakota) as I was running in the opposite direction. He/she stopped in front of me for an emergency wash so I was just able to grab a quick shot, albeit out of focus. In that split second, I couldn’t decide if it was more important to aim at the cat or Wild Bill Hickok! My motto is always to grab a bad shot than no shot at all!

I am now in the process of recovering from the trip through South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Utah. We covered a lot of ground in eight days… visiting some places I had not seen before and some old favorites. The older I get, the longer it takes me to deflate after a trip…. so I’m still working on it!

As always, Frankie and Freddie texted me every day to keep me posted on their exploits while I was away. My traveling companions told me these texts were the highlight of the trip! I won’t bore you with all of them, just a small sample.

F&F in their favorite room… the bathroom. Their two permanent expressions… Frankie (in the background) looking disdainful and Freddie looking like he was caught by surprise.

Frankie decided to sleep in the ceramic bowl where I keep the postcards from some of my trips and some that other people send me… by the time I got home the bowl was empty with the postcards all over the floor.

Surprise, surprise… Freddie looking surprised again!

I’m happy to be home. I’m in the process of sorting through hundreds of photos and posting some to Facebook. Later on I’ll post my favorites to this blog.


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Santa Barbara – part three – historic estate

This was an interesting place to stay to say the least. I really enjoyed it as opposed to staying in a slick, cookie cutter hotel. F.R. Bains bought the Historic Montecito Estate (aka The Peppers) in 1913 while he was President of the Gas Company, to spend the winters away from Los Angeles.

The estate is built on 1.65 acres of land a short drive from the hot spots of the Santa Barbara coast. The 1885 buildings contain 9,000 square feet with nine bedrooms and 11 bathrooms.

The Estate provides assisted living accommodations for seniors but they are allowed to rent out a certain number of rooms for visitors.

We arrived in the Santa Barbara/Montecito area on Wednesday to visit Lotusland (see blog post) and stayed here overnight before driving back to LA. I had brought my own avocado with me (along with a banana) as I wasn’t sure what the breakfast situation would be like. They provided a continental breakfast so I made some toast, mashed up the avo, took my coffee and sat outside at this table while BG was getting up. I’m an early riser and I love that time of the morning to myself.

It was soooooooooooo peaceful sitting out there in the garden. Like all of California, the Estate suffered through an extreme drought for many years. Recently they had to deal with evacuations from fire and mudslides. Management is doing as much as they can to get the Estate back to a pristine condition. But I liked it the way I found it. Elegant ramshackle.

I ambled around the rest of the Estate looking for photo opportunities. As I’ve said many times before, walking around with my camera forces me to really SEE as well as look.

I mistakenly thought this was an abandoned building. That was before I learned the whole Estate is really an assisted living facility. I started to walk up the ramp. Then I heard the sound of a TV… uh oh… I nearly intruded into a resident’s living room!

Please click on an image below to start slide show of the grounds:

There are several shared areas in the main building:

We had a two-bedroom suite with one bathroom. The TV didn’t work (no huge loss) and BG reported there was no hot water or soap. As we were only there for one night I decided I could wait until I got home to take a shower! Despite those shortcomings I thought we got a good deal for the price.

I took the little room with a window overlooking the garden. It was very cozy and I enjoyed the breeze that wafted in all night. BG was in the main room. This worked out well for both of us.

After breakfast we headed out for Stearn’s Wharf by way of State Street and the Santa Barbara Golf Club…. in other words, all around the mulberry bush… just so we could get a lay of the land. It is indeed a beautiful city. Just one more post to come!