My World and Welcome to It!

These are my thoughts and opinions about life in general. I also get daily prompts from DSP which inspire me to write. If I throw in some scrapbook pages I've done, photos I've taken, and stories about me, you will have an idea about my loony life!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Idaho – 8/4/11

014For more pictures, click HERE

We went to a place called Pickles for breakfast and just the name made me smile. After that we drove to the Experimental Breeder Reactor #1 (EBR-1) and took a self guided tour. It was really interesting. After that we drove through Atomic City which is an almost ghost town of 25 people but it has a brand new 3 bay fire station. When we left there, we drove to Blackfoot, ID to the World Largest Potato Museum. Then we drove to Utah!

I had hoped to visit my online friend, Jaedee, in Ogden when we stopped to see Hill AFB air museum. Unfortunately we drove for hours before we were able to find a hotel room. There was some outdoor convention of 25,000+ people so it was almost impossible to find a room. We finally found a room at the Quality Inn in Payson, ID. For dinner we went to Daltons which was wonderful. We had a dinner for two for only $20. We decided to stay tomorrow night too and go to the Salmon Supper which is an annual event here in Payson. Tomorrow morning, I will try to get us cave tour tickets to the Timpanogos Cave National Monument.

What I Learned Today:
· The EBR-1 is a great place to visit and it was free.
· Idaho is a beautiful place but we didn’t see a lot that we wanted to stop and see.
· Rush hour in Salt Lake City on I-15 is awful!
· The HOV 2+ lane was toll free.
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Idaho – 8/3/11

051For more pictures, click HERE

We had a wonderful hot breakfast at Ruby’s Inn (it came with the room) and then headed to Idaho. Most of the day was spent traveling but the scenery was beautiful. I didn’t see a lot of places to stop along the way but there were lots of opportunities for rafting and fishing if we did either of those things. Finally we ended up in Arco, ID. We stopped at the hotel we wanted to stay at but the office was closed for about 30 minutes so we headed to the Craters of the Moon National Monument and drove the 7 mile loop road. We also stopped to do the nature trail and look at all the lava which reminded us a lot of Lava Beds National Monument in northern California.

I called the DK motel and made a reservation since we didn’t think any of the other motels looked like possibilities and there were a lot of people at the national monument. The room with a queen bed was $38 and a 2 room suite was $48 so we got the 2 room suite. We were a little surprised that a 2 room suites just meant 2 bedrooms (one did not have a TV) and they both shared a bathroom. I was hoping for a sitting area but I should have asked. The room had a small dorm fridge and a microwave so it was okay for the price. We also did our laundry which was only 2 doors down from our room.
The hotel manager recommended Mello-dees for dinner and it was wonderful. My petite sirloin was $16.95 and my hubby had chicken fried steak for $14.95. Each meal included the zucchini/turkey sausage soup, a huge salad (including beets), the main dish with lots of mashed potatoes and gravy plus ice cream for dessert! The food was so tasty so I’m glad we stopped there for dinner.

What I Learned Today:
· In Idaho, there is a 21 mile scarp line caused by the 1983 earthquake.
· Astronauts trained for the early moon missions at Craters of the Moon National Monument.
· Arco, ID was the first atomic city.
· The first atomic sub sail is in Arco, ID park and has the number 666 which caused the sub to be called the Devil Sub.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Montana – 8/2/11

027For more pictures, click HERE

After breakfast in Babb again, we headed for the Going-to-the-Sun road one last time. We stopped at the 1913 Ranger Station where volunteer Sheryl Mink, the artist, invited us to participate in the painting of the mural that when finished will be hung in the St. Mary’s Visitor Center. After that we did the Sun Point trail to Baring Falls which was very pretty. Then we continued across the road and out of the park. We headed towards Missoula on the east side of Flathead Lake because we took the west side to get to Kalispell. On the side of the road were tons of cherry orchards so we had to stop and buy some. A lb. of bing cherries were 2.50 and a lb. of Rainer cherries were 3.50 so we got both. We ended up for the night at Ruby’s Inn (King room for only $89). The staff were really friendly, the rooms clean, and we walked to The Montana Club for dinner.

What I Learned Today:
· The 2 bedroom cabin at the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn had more room and was worth the $10 extra if one is available.
· Singing on the trail must keep the bears away because we never did see a bear on the trail since I was always singing.
· Some mom and pop hotels are much better than chain hotels.
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Montana – 8/1/11

029For more pictures, click HERE

Our one bedroom cabin at the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn was small but cozy. The bathroom building was not too far away and they gave us 4 tokens for the shower (1 token = approx. 8.5 minutes). We got up early and did a wildflower hike around Lake Josephine. The area was abundant with wildflowers and I took lots of pictures. We saw a load of bear scat on the trail but no bears. After the wildflower hike, we had a picnic. Then we hiked to Apikuni Falls which was straight up a mountain. It was a great hike but it was tiring. After the hike we hit the restaurant for some pizza and then ice cream.

What I Learned Today:
· Beargrass was named by Lewis and Clark because it looked like grass and is found where bears live. Bears do not like to eat it unless they have to in order to survive.
· Sweet Cicely smells like licorice. You can eat the seeds that taste like licorice.
· Aspens shoot out roots underground for new growth.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Montana – 7/31/11

001For more pictures, click HERE

I woke up early because I heard the wind howling and the rain pouring down. After I got up and tried to read my Ipad in the dark, I decided to go sit outside in my lawn chair. The rain and wind stopped and the sky looked like it was on fire! I was able to sit outside and knit while I listened to podcasts. When Don woke up, we checked out of our room and drove into Babb for breakfast. On the way back we hiked around Swiftcurrent Lake and looked for wildlife. The wind picked up while we were hiking and it felt like a fall day. After our hike, we stopped and had a picnic. In the afternoon we checked into our cabin and then joined the ranger on a nature hike which was wonderful. After the hike we came back to our cabin to relax before going to the restaurant and having a pizza. After dinner we went to hear the ranger talk about bears.

What I Learned Today:
· There is 1 species of salamander in the park and 4 frog species.
· The Calliope Hummingbird nest we saw was made from lichens, moss, and spider webs.
· Talking and making noise is the best way to let a bear know you are near.
· Human mother’s milk is about 3% fat and grizzly bear mother’s milk is 33% fat.
· The bears mate in the spring and is “almost pregnant.” If the conditions are right and the mother is in good shape, she is pregnant in November and the cub(s) are born in January or February.
· Black bear cubs stay for one summer and are kicked out the next. Grizzly bear cubs stay for 3 summers.
· Black bears get pregnant every other summer and grizzly bears every 3rd year.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Montana – 7/30/11

006For more pictures, click HERE

This morning we left Glacier Park Lodge and went to Browning for breakfast. The only place we could find was at the Glacier Parks Casino and the breakfast was great! After that we headed to Two Medicine Flats area. There we hiked to 2 waterfalls: Running Eagle Falls and Appistoki Falls. Both were beautiful! Of course we were on our own so Don did a lot of singing (off key of course) to scare away any bears and we didn’t come across any. I want to see some but only through binoculars or through a car window. After that we had lunch in Babb at Thorson’s Café and it was good too.

By then it was time to head to the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn to check in. Thankfully our room was ready for us. What a difference this place was compared to the Glacier Park Lodge! Everyone was smiling and seemed happy to be there. Our room was ready even though we were about an hour earlier than scheduled check in.

Once we checked in, we drove to the Many Glacier Lodge and looked around. It was a beautiful place! How different this place was compared to the Glacier Park Lodge. The staff was welcoming and the whole place was so much cleaner even though they were going through a major renovation! At 4pm we took the historical hotel tour with the ranger and learned about the history of the hotel. After the tour we headed back to Swiftcurrent where the ranger and some volunteers had scopes set up in the parking lot. We were able to see the mountain goats high up on the mountain as well as people hiking down the mountain. I think that was a neat activity to set up for visitors.

What I Learned Today:
· I can spray bug spray on my clothing and it will have the same effect as putting it on my skin. The bugs stayed away from me. Of course I had long hiking pants and a long sleeve shirt. I also sprayed the bug spray on the brim of my hat which helped keep them away from my face.
· The Two Medicine Flats area is not as heavily visited as the other sections of the park. This made it quite enjoyable for hiking.
· The Many Glacier Lodge which was built in 1915 by the Great Northern Railway.
· I would recommend the Many Glacier Lodge and the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn to others.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Montana – 7/29/11

For more pictures, click HERE

002On the way to Glacier Park Lodge in East Glacier today, we stopped at a sale in front of an antique store called Station 8 in Columbia Falls, MT. I found my first spinning wheel – a Louet S70! I wasn’t sure if I should buy it since we were so far from home though and I called my friend Caron (who doesn’t seem to mind if I keep bugging her for advice!) and she said the price was great so I couldn’t resist. We took some parts off of it to get it in the car. Now I hope I can get it back together again when I get home. We may need to stop in Kalispell on the way to Idaho to find a long box and then take it apart more to ship it home.

Then we arrived at the Glacier Park Lodge. It was supposed to be a grand hotel and we were pretty disappointed. First we got there at 2:15 and this snooty desk clerk told me that check in wasn’t until 3pm and our room wasn’t ready yet. I can understand that but I was surprised that no rooms were cleaned at this time and there was no one else checking in. I went to use the restroom and it was filthy. There was toilet paper and empty rolls on the floor. The trash can was overflowing with dirty paper towels. The paper towel dispenser was empty and a roll was on top. You had to get it with your wet hands to unroll some to dry your hands. In the lobby, the radiators must have had dust an inch thick because we could write our names in it! I was shocked that a “nice” hotel would look like this! I went back at 3pm and they told me that there were still no rooms ready for us and that we needed to come back in 20 minutes. By this time the train arrived and a ton of people came in to check in and there were no rooms ready so the lobby was full of people milling around. I went back at 3:20 and they told me that my room still wasn’t ready. Finally at 3:30, I was able to check in. (Now would they let me check out 30 minutes later since my check in was 30 minutes later? No.) When we got to our room (307), the room had 2 double beds and a small bathroom. It wasn’t anything fancy at all and it cost almost $200! I’m glad we are only staying here for one night.

After check in, we walked around East Glacier and checked out the shops. At 4:45 we got in line outside of Serranos (a Mexican restaurant) waiting for it to open at 5pm. The food was outstanding! We each had 3 large chili rellenos ($14.95) that came with black beans and rice and a pitcher of margaritas ($24). I would definitely go here again! I want to thank @GlacierMTGuy on plurk for recommending this to us!

After dinner we walked around the train station and back to the lodge. We met a really nice couple from Denver and visited with them for awhile. Then we sat out on the porch to enjoy the sunset which was lovely.

What I Learned Today:
· It takes about 2 hours to drive from Kalispell to East Glacier.
· Huckleberry ice cream tastes like blueberry to me.
· Serranos is a wonderful place to eat!!
· I would not recommend the Glacier Lodge to anyone.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Montana – 7/28/11

072For more pictures, click HERE

We had a lovely day today especially since the sun was out!
We got to Logan’s Pass to do the Hidden Lake Trail. The ranger said it was under snow but if we had hiking boots and hiking sticks, we could do it so away we went. The views were beautiful but it was very challenging to walk up the mountain in the snow especially when we came to steep ledges. The trail was very slippery! When we got to the lake overlook, we came across a bunch of wild mountain goats and they were beautiful! I even got some fiber from one of them (No, I didn’t attack the goat! It shed its hair and I rescued the fiber as a souvenir!) On the way back down the mountain, we did a lot of slipping, sliding, and skiing with our boots.

When we drove out of the parking lot, we heard a scraping sound so we parked the car and looked under it. But we didn’t see anything making that awful metal sound. The teen in the truck next to us even got on the ground to look under our car and said that it was probably just a rock in our brake shoe. So, away we go again. But this time it sounds even worse so we stop and I jump out again to look. I expect to find a brake shoe dragging on the ground. A couple nearby (from Florence, SC) told us that it was probably a rock in the brake shoe and the man suggested Don put the car in reverse. After this gosh-awful screech and scrape, the noise went away (I guess the rock came out) and all was well again so we left. What a relief that it wasn’t anything more major! I could just picture us coming down that mountain with no brakes!

On the drive down the mountain, we stopped at a few overlooks. One had a trail to a bridge over the raging river and that was exciting.

It was a lovely day!

What I Learned Today:
· Hiking in the snow in July is magical but it can wear you out!
· Mountain goats are very lively (or restless) animals and move around quickly rather than staying in one place.
· Hidden Lake was still frozen over!
· Rocks in brake shoes sound awful like the car is falling apart!

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Montana – 7/27/11

031For more pictures, click HERE

We got up early so we could do some hikes before the crowds hit the park but when we got in the car, our tire pressure was low. We noticed this last night and Don checked the tires and added air with our air pump so we were worried when it was even lower this morning. So, we found a Les Schwab store to check on our tires. (We like Les Schwab stores! Last time we were out west, we had to buy chains because the law said so and the fine was outrageous. This guy in Idaho opened his store on a Sunday and sold us the chains at no extra charge for Sunday. So, we felt like we could trust Les Schwab to check our tires). Unfortunately the metal was showing in both back tires so we had to get new ones and we were back on the road in an hour.

We drove to the trailhead and hiked to Avalanche Lake. Again, the views were wonderful! There were lots of people on the trail so I didn’t feel nervous about meeting a grizzly. At first we didn’t expect the lake to be anything special but it was at the foot of Sperry Glacier. From the lake we saw 6 waterfalls coming down the mountain before it!

After the hike we hunted for lunch but by then most places stopped serving lunch so we stopped for an ice cream to tide us over to dinner. On the way back to our hotel, we stopped in Columbia Falls at the Nite Owl restaurant for dinner. My rib eye was mouthwatering!

What I Learned Today:
· It is smarter to check out tire problems rather than ignore them. It would have been bad to be in the park with a flat tire!
· Snow melting out of the mountains create beautiful waterfalls.
· The hike to Avalanche Lake is a must if you visit Glacier National Park!
· It is cheaper to eat outside the park than inside.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Montana – 7/26/11

021For more pictures, click HERE

We headed for Glacier National Park early in the morning and spent the day driving on the Going to the Sun Road. I was surprised when we got up to Logan’s Pass how cold it was. It was actually snowing and sleeting on us! The scenery was absolutely beautiful and due to the snow melting, there were waterfalls all around us. There was lots of construction on the road so we had many delays involving stopping on the road and waiting for the road to clear. I didn’t mind this because I was able to take plenty of pictures. It was funny to see people in shorts and tshirts when their lips turned blue! We didn’t stop a lot but really enjoyed the trip. We went to a café in Babb, MT for lunch and the food was good.

What I Learned Today:
· There is still snow in higher elevations in July!
· Some people just don’t know how to dress in different types of weather and insist on wearing shorts in July even if it is snowing.
· Snow melting in the mountains create magnificent waterfalls!
· Montana is a beautiful state and the people are nice here too!

crossposted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Wyoming and Montana– 7/25/11

005For more pictures, click HERE

We left early this morning and headed towards Kalispell, MT. On the way out of the park we saw elk and buffalo. One buffalo was walking right down the yellow line towards our car! When we saw the elk, we saw a baby elk run out in front of a car and narrowly was missed. We drove 400 miles to Kalispell and got there around 3:30pm. We decided to get our oil changed since we have driven about 5200 miles since the oil change right before we left home. Surprisingly, the Toyota dealership was cheaper than any of the hourly oil change places. After the oil change, we went to Wal-Mart to refill some of Don’s prescriptions and buy some supplies. Since there was a Subway shop there too, we grabbed a couple of subs for dinner. We ate our dinner at the hotel while we did laundry. We feel like we accomplished a lot today and will be ready for a fresh start in the morning. Hopefully the weather will be nice and we will drive on the Going to the Sun road through Glacier NP.

What I Learned Today:
· Early morning is the best time to spot wildlife.
· It pays to call around and price oil changes. I would never have thought that the dealership would be the cheapest.
· It wasn’t hard to transfer prescriptions to the Wal-Mart as I expected.
· I take my own washer and dryer for granted when I’m hope and I really appreciate them when I have to do laundry when traveling.

crossposted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Wyoming– 7/24/11

001For more pictures, click HERE

We had a slow lazy day today. I was pretty sore from my tumble yesterday so we didn’t go any hiking. We walked around the Old Faithful complex and I bought souvenirs. We also watched a movie at the Visitor Center. Then we ate the lunch buffet in the dining room but we didn’t like it. The food only tasted mediocre and the cost was much too high. It cost $13.95 but I didn’t think the food was great at all. After lunch we drove to Madison and then back down to West Thumb. We spent the rest of the evening in lobby people watching.

Tomorrow morning we head towards Kalispell, MT and Glacier National Park.

What I Learned Today:

· The Yellowstone Hot Spot does not move.

· The land above the Hot Spot moves an inch every year which is why there are calderas from Nevada to here.

· The Yellowstone Caldera is the largest active caldera in the world.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Wyoming– 7/23/11

005For more pictures, click HERE

Most of the day was spent hiking up to Mount Washburn. We hiked this years ago and I guess I forgot how hard it was. I would recommend this hike to everyone though because it was awesome. We had 360 degree views when we got to the fire tower.

Along the trail we saw a buffalo. Then as we hiked the steep trail, we saw lots of people stopped way ahead. Then we realized that a coyote was heading straight towards us and away from them. I dug out the bear spray and we picked up some rocks in case it got aggressive (before we started this hike we were told to report any aggressive coyotes on the trail) but it decided to get off the trail and go a different way. Further up the trail we saw a yellow bellied marmot and an eagle. Then we came across a huge group of bighorn sheep. As we continued to hike up we found another group. There were lots of little babies and they were playing in the snow. Then on the way down, we saw a lot more sheep in two different places. I guess we saw about 40-50 sheep today and Don had to hold me back from getting any of their wool to knit! Darn!

Of course not too far from the end, I took a tumble on the loose rocks and landed on my knee, hand, and hip. Nothing major was hurt but I’m sure I will be a little sore tomorrow.

For dinner, we decided to eat in the restaurant in the Old Faithful Inn. Both of us chose the prime rib dinner buffet for $25.95 and it was delicious. First we started with the red pepper gouda soup that was so tasty. There was a Caesar salad, twice baked potatoes, wild rice, green beans almandine, and stuffed mushrooms to go with the prime rib which melted in your mouth. I’m glad we decided to do this tonight.

What I Learned Today:

· I’m not as young as I used to be and that hiking up a mountain that I did ten years ago is much different now.

· Wild animals are not as afraid of people as we think. I guess the sheep are desensitized to tourists by now because we were able to walk on the trail to get by them and they didn’t run away.

· There is still a lot of snow in the higher elevations than I expected.

· As I get older, I need to be more careful walking down the mountains on loose rock.

· The views from the top of the mountain is something that is magical.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Wyoming– 7/22/11

137For more pictures, click HERE

Today was an absolutely beautiful day! I woke up feeling so much better and everything we did was wonderful. After breakfast in our room (oatmeal and fruit and hot chocolate), we headed towards the Mammoth Hot Springs area. I was a little disappointed in the terraces because it is not how I remembered it. The last time we were here, they were glistening terraces of white, gold, and oranges but today they were white and gray. They seemed dead and inactive. After seeing this, I wondered if someday, Old Faithful might end up in the same condition and that we need to appreciate it while it is still erupting on a predictable schedule.

Then we ended up in Gardiner, MT for lunch at the Corral Drive In. Our hamburger baskets and 2 drinks cost $24 and the burgers were huge. Later we wished we had just gotten a $5 sub from Subway which would have satisfied us just as well. On the way back, we saw the Boiling River where we wanted to swim (the glacial waters join the hot springs water in the river) but it was closed because the water was too high. So, we headed towards the Tower area and saw the Tower falls (the end of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone).

When we returned to the hotel, we sat out in the lobby and enjoyed the action all around us. For dinner, we had triscuits and cheese in our room.

Today we saw black bear, buffalo, elk, ground squirrels, and a grizzly bear!

What I Learned Today:

· Change happens whether we want it or not.

· Change can happen in our lifetime even if we don’t expect it.

· Some slow drivers are just inconsiderate and won’t pull off to the side so others can pass, even if there are signs reminding them to do so.

· Woodrow Wilson created the National Park Service in 1916.

crossposted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Monday, August 08, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Wyoming– 7/21/11

001For more pictures, click HERE

It was cold again this morning but pleasant. I woke up with a sore throat and a headache so we didn’t get much hiking done today. Instead we drove to Jackson, WY (2 hour drive from Old Faithful) and did some shopping as well as getting gas. It was 50 cents cheaper there than in the park. After lunch we drove to Jenny Lake and the loop road. On the way back to Old Faithful we stopped often to take pictures. We got back around 6pm.

What I Learned Today:

· The National Elk Refuge is outside of Jackson.

· Elk shed their antlers each season.

· The Indian Arts Museum at Colter Bay was exceptional.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Wyoming– 7/20/11

006For more pictures, click HERE

It was nice and chilly this morning (43F when I got up but I heard it got down to 38F). We got up early and went to meet a ranger for a hike this morning. When we got there we found out that the original hike was changed due to bear activity in the area (this is where the hiker was killed a few weeks ago). We had a delightful hike and saw the Upper and Lower Yellowstone Falls. I didn’t find out until later from friends that three people fell over these falls yesterday!

After the hike, we drove around and did some hiking to geysers and sightseeing spots. In the late afternoon we hiked to an observation point and both of us heard what we thought was a mountain lion growl. Needless to say, we continued on the trail quickly until we got to a safe area!

In the evening, we sat in the lobby of Old Faithful Inn and listened to the piano player. A fire was started and it was cozy way to spend the evening.

What I Learned Today:

· The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is 20 miles long.

· The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone only took thousands of years to form while the Grand Canyon took millions of years.

· The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is anywhere from 1500 – 4000 feet wide.

· It is a shame that people don’t follow rules like “stay behind the guard rails” and lose their lives by being swept over waterfalls.

crossposted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Wyoming– 7/19/11

004For more pictures, click HERE

We decided to eat breakfast in our room since the cost of food in the park is so outrageous. Using the coffee maker to boil water, we fixed our instant oatmeal (adding walnuts and fruit) and hot chocolate which filled us up. Then we headed for the Mystic Falls hike with the ranger.

We started out first thing seeing a snake! Then we hiked to the falls and then the ranger turned back but encouraged us to continue up the mountain to the overlook. It was pretty steep but well worth the view. By the time we got back to our car, it was lunch time. We drove to West Yellowstone, MT out of the west entrance to the park (14 miles from Madison) where we ate lunch, found a supermarket to refill some supplies and filled up with gas for 3.89 a gallon (it was 3.99 a gallon in the park.)

After lunch we headed up to Norris and did some hiking around the geysers and waterfalls. About 5pm it started to rain so we headed back to Old Faithful in time to get settled and then attend the ranger program on Yellowstone Art.

What I Learned Today:

· There are no poisonous snakes in Yellowstone.

· There are 900 geysers in the world and 500 of them are in Yellowstone.

· A 10 year old fell into one of the geysers and died one year.

· Big birds build their nests in the top of old snags.

· Mosquitoes are bad in Yellowstone this time of year.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Wyoming– 7/18/11

296For more pictures, click HERE

We got up early and decided to have breakfast at the Geyser Grille only to find out that they didn’t open until 8 and it was 7am. So we decided to have a breakfast at a picnic table. Then we found out the mosquitoes were in full force and had to gulp down our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and run for the car.

At 9am, we met a ranger for a hike around Harlequin Lake. It was a fun hike. We saw a pair of osprey and their nest, a bald eagle, a red winged blackbird, a loon, a cormorant, and ground squirrels. After the hike we had a nice picnic lunch where there were no mosquitoes. Then we stopped along the ride back to walk around scenic geysers. At 4pm, we decided to do another hike around geysers in the Old Faithful area before joining a ranger on a hike at 5:30. We hiked on our own about 7pm to the Morning Glory geyser and then back to our hotel. We were too exhausted to even go find some dinner. We walked too many miles to count today and I hope we can get out of bed tomorrow!

Tomorrow we plan to do the Mystic Falls hike with the ranger and then do some more geyser hiking. That is, if we can still walk.

What I Learned Today:

· Rain that doesn’t reach the ground is called Verga

· Ospreys have a dihedral wing pattern which looks like they have elbows.

· Beavers come out at dusk and dawn.

· Blue dragonflies are called Bluets.

· Old Faithful is not the largest geyser.

· A geyser is predictable only if it has its own water source.

crossposted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Monday, August 01, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Wyoming– 7/17/11

015For more pictures, click HERE

We left Cody and headed for Yellowstone this morning. First we stopped at the Buffalo Bill Dam which was awesome. A shuttle took us to the visitor center that had been blocked off to cars since 9/11. We were amazed how much water was being dropped from the dam.

After the dam, we drove to the park. It seemed like a long ride, maybe because we didn’t get much sleep last night. Don had bad leg cramps and I was miserably hot and too lazy to get up to turn on the air condition.

We arrived at the Old Faithful Inn and checked in. Our room was very nice but a little over priced at $170 per night. There is a bed that they claim is a Queen size but it seems like a Full size bed to us. There is no TV but it does have a private bath.

We saw Old Faithful erupt about 3 times while we checked out all the lodges, restaurants, and the visitor center. We checked out the ice cream shops at all 3 places in this area but the lines were ridiculous! They need to add more ice cream shops. We walked the geyser loop trail and it was pretty. After dinner we went to the ranger evening program. Then we sat outside on the upper porch to watch Old Faithful erupt one last time.

What I Learned Today:

· The colors of the mud pots are caused by iron sulfites, iron sulfates, and iron oxides.

· There are about 100 wolves in the park.

· The park was not as crowded as we expected.

· There are plenty of eating establishments available.

· There are plenty of ranger led activities each day all over the park.

crossposted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original Photo: Dam by Pat Hensley