Sunday, September 29, 2013

Wyoming - the Grand Tetons and Beyond

John D. Rockefeller, Jr. was so taken with the setting between Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, he bought up much of the surrounding lands to protect the area – and well understood!


It is so magnificent, it seems surreal . . . a concert in watercolours . . . oh, I wish I could paint!


The more we travel through the various regions: the more I become fascinated with the geology, like how these mountains erupted out of cracks in faults as the earth shifted between 60 and 70 million years ago and reach 13,770 feet above sea level.

In the Jackson Hole valley, glacial outwashes have left huge dimples (potholes) in the landscape believed to be cause by huge chunks of melted glacial ice.

Because of the way the mountains were formed, there are no foothills: the peaks rise right out of the sage covered plains. (



clip_image010 And the river runs through it! The Snake River that we always thought of as a Idaho river actually runs through the Grand Teton Park as well. This was a sign leading down to a boat ramp we just couldn’t ignore.

And the wild-life!


And the Lodges! This is a smaller, more intimate lodge at Jenny Lake.


This trip was partially about visiting friends and what could be better than the opportunity to visit friends of my folks as well as ours. Lorraine and Sandy lived in Lethbridge for a good number of years and their kids called my Mom and Dad Grandma and Grandpa.


They have a beautiful place in Pinedale, WY and hosted us for a few days. Thanks, you two!


The View from their back deck!

Sandy and me on the back deck!


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Old Faithful is Old Faithful is Old Faithful is Old Faithful!

It’s spectacular . . . it’s dependable . . . it’s predictable!

Old Faithful is a geothermal showcase of Yellowstone.

Old Faithful is not the biggest or even the most predictable geyser in Yellowstone, but the eruption happens about every 50 to 120 minutes.

We were lucky; we had about a 5 minute wait to observe this amazing event. On the way over, we were surprised when the road was enveloped in fog and mist.


It cleared just as we approached Old Faithful.



is built over a geological hydrothermal phenomenon characterized by Geysers, Fumaroles, Hot Springs, and Mudpots.

Yellowstone Lake sits over the Yellowstone Caldera, a large active supervolcano that lies about 3-8 miles below the surface. Surface water from rain and snow seeps down to a layer of molten rock or magna. The resulting hot water and steam come to the surface as hot springs; fumaroles; and geysers.

A Hot Spring is a spring that is produced by the emergence of geothermally heated groundwater from the Earth's crust. (Wikipedia – Hot Springs -

Fumaroles (steam vents) are plumes of steam that come through the rocks to release pressure from the underground activity.

Mudpots are bubbling muddy clay spots that are formed through the action of micro-organisms converting hydro sulphide into sulphuric acid.

Geysers also originate as hot springs but because of constrictions, water is prevented from freely rising to the surface – thus the eruptions to clear the channels and allow the heat to dissipate.





Geyser – Old Faithful

Here are a few of the over 70 shots we took around the Old Faithful area.




Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Oh, The Challenges of Change!

We just couldn’t wait until September 15th so we ended up leaving a week early (and the weather in Lethbridge looks like it has been terrific ever since). It has been so strange to pack up for this trip. First off, we’re only going to be gone for about a month BUT the Motor Home has to be packed for the late-winter-into-spring months and we had to make sure we didn’t have more than we could carry back in the car. Oh, the Challenges of Change! The Plan?!

First destination was Yellowstone National Park!

September – kids back in school; summer crowds thinned out; not so much traffic – perfect conditions for these crowd-phobic travellers.

NOT! The vacationers have now been replaced by others like ourselves wanting to avoid the summer rush PLUS an incredible number of rental RV units manned mostly by Europeans and Asians unfamiliar with the machines as well as the roads. This made for an exasperating but none the less awe-inspiring expedition.

clip_image002Our first night was spent along side the Canyon Ferry Lake just outside Townsend, MT at the Silos CG.

Yellowstone National Park

clip_image004The second day we got to West Yellowstone and the much recommended Baker’s Hole CG about three miles north of the entrance to the Park. We were early and so wandered into the Park to see what we could see.

Yellowstone National Park is 63 miles (101 km) north to south, and 54 miles (87 km) west to east. There are 290 waterfalls of at least 15 feet.

The Park sits on the Yellowstone Caldera - the largest volcanic system in North America – considered to be "super volcano" because it was formed by exceptionally large explosive eruptions. The current caldera was created by a cataclysmic eruption more than 1,000 times larger than the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.

First impressions? People! People! People!

And we were told that this was not nearly as crowded as it is in the summer, Holy Cow!

Our first venture following the crowds was the Great Fountain Spring and the Bison that posed for us not far from there.


Then we wandered over to snap a photo of the Elk lazing in the bog and viewed our first canyon and the falls at Firehole Canyon.


We gathered our information and mapped out our second day there. Little did we know that this is the season of Road Work and along with the multitude of fellow sightseers, it turned out to be a long but spectacular day.

Hot Springs; Geysers; Canyons; Falls; Rock Formations – the natural phenomena are outstanding and endless. Comprehending the geological foundations for these stupendous formations is a life-time study.

Yellowstone has its own Grand Canyon


Emerald Springs


Mud Ponds


Steamboat Geyser- is the world's tallest currently-active geyser but does not erupt on a predictable schedule and we were just lucky to be there!


Orange Spring Mound - Bacteria and algae create the streaks of color on Orange Spring Mound. It is noticeably different from many of the other terrace formations nearby. Its large mounded shape is the result of very slow water flow and mineral deposition.


Next Posting - Old Faithful and the Grand Tetons NP

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bummer Summer

Bummer Summer: That was the Huffington Post headline the other day!
Yeh, I know what they’re talking about! But I had all the confidence that if I gave it time, this too would change!!
The weather was the pits; I hurt – I couldn’t move much; (see My Medical Rant); but all this has improved and so as August came to a close day-time temperatures rose; the nebboch/nebbish ( defines a nebboch is a perpetual loser and nebbish as "A person, esp. a man, who is pitifully ineffectual, timid, or submissive." My favorite definition I discovered online was "a sad sack.") Podiatrist did finally get the inner-soles adjusted so they don’t hurt when I wear them and we are in the midst of packing up for the first leg of our winter sojourn on September 15th. It is with great relief that we’ve made it this far! Hopefully the improvement of my ankle/foot will prevail.
I must admit there were some highlights over the summer: Chuck and Sheila (the folks we often travelled with came to visit shortly after we got home (we had really missed them this winter) and then we went up to Wetaskiwin to celebrate my Big Birthday with them.
the colour of the Canola crops was amazing
Sharon (one of our best friends from Calgary) came to visit and I think it was here she decided to make a dramatic change in her life. Since her July visit, she has put her house in Calgary up for sale and has moved to B.C.
My sister (and her daughter and friend, all from Vancouver) did a fly-by visit for a night and then RV friends from Pennsylvania spend a couple of days here. We did a cold and rainy day-trip up to Waterton. 


Our good friends from Yuma came to visit and we revisited Writing-on-Stone - our favourite nearby park – with them. 

Oh, yes, we found a little Tracker-4 wheel drive that we decided was something we just couldn’t live without.

So, all-in-all, the summer was not as quiet or as draggy as I felt it was.
Our Big Change
Well, like I said, we are in the midst of packing up to leave on September 15th. This is our Big Change!
Our plans are to tour around Yellowstone and the Tetons and visit some friends in Wyoming while the weather is still reasonable (we hope). We will head to Truth and Consequences to visit Deb and Jer and leave the Motor Home there. We will drive the car back and spend Christmas in Alberta – what a new experience for us.
Our plan is to take the Tracker down in January and stay later in the spring to see the wildflowers in bloom.
We’re thinking about touring eastward but as most of our plans – that too can change. Well, that’s it. We’ll be on the road when we add another entry to the Photo Journal.