Monday, August 12, 2013

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

I was searching for my blog on google this morning and came across this blog.   I poked around and found it to be in line with what I see at work and what I feel when I am outside.  Check it out, if you feel so inclined.

I ordered two of their books,  Last Child in the Woods,

and I Love Dirt!:52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature by Jennifer Ward.  I ordered both used from Amazon.

I will report back later what I find.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunday Morning Breakfast Menu, AKA, Time to Clean Out the Fridge!

This morning I made breakfast for everyone.  Dan and Lorraine were still here and Alex, Sarah's friend, had spent the night with Sarah.

Then Brian made my breakfast.

The menu included orange juice, hash browns, bacon, scrambled eggs, and toast with peanut butter and jam.  Shortly after that, Dan and Lorraine packed a lunch and left for the park and then home.  The rest of us left for church.  My sister and I had a wonderful time together.  Hopefully the next time they come the rest of Lorraine's family can come, too.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Dan and Lorraine Come to Relax

Friday night after a long hard couple of weeks at work, Lorraine and Dan drove up to the cabin arriving very late.  The next day we floated the river down past the Flat Rock Club, my Alma Mater. 

We saw some great things along the way and got some nice sun.
The night heron,
a large, healthy duck family,

and a crane.

Flat Rock looks better than ever.  Some of the buildings I don't even recognize anymore and my paint job has been covered with brown.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Short Hikes for Little Tykes

When the grandchildren grow up, I would like them to have nice memories of visiting Yellowstone, not memories of sitting in their car seats for hours on end while the adults 'ooow' and 'ahhh' over things the children couldn't even see from their perspectives.  So. We have been keeping our eyes out for things for the kids to do.  This list will be added to, in months and years to come, I hope.

We set out to find hikes we could take the kids on.  Here are three we decided would work.

The first we took was to Harlequin Lake.  It is found on the road from West to Madison Junction, almost to the junction.  It is on the north side of the road.  There is a parking area on the south side of the road, so you will have to cross the road without a crosswalk.  Once there, it is about a half mile in through thick, young, short trees.  The trail is well maintained with a slight incline in elevation.  The lake is lovely, with lots of lily pads in August.

There are a few areas to spread out a blanket and picnic, and some rocks for little boys and girls to throw into the water.  A family of ducks were the only animals we saw.  We ran into a few other hikers, though.

The second hike we took was to Ice Lake.

This lake is found on the road from Norris to Canyon on the north side of the road again.  The parking area is on the same side of the road as the trail head.  There were two trails, one went to the lake and the other to the campsite.

We took the campsite trail, as we already had been on the other and figured it would be too much for 5 year-olds and younger (3 mile loop).  The campsite was a short 0.1 mile in.

The entire lake can be seen from the trail.

Tent site

Fire pit

Wash room!
There was a tent site, fire pit, and even a pit toilet at the end of a spur trail.  Bring your own toilet paper and umbrella!

The last hike was to the falls on the Wolf Lake trail.  Wolf Lake is just a little further toward Canyon on the same road.  The parking area is on the opposite side of the road and a short walk from the trail head.  The lake is on the north side of the road and the trail connects to the Ice Lake trail.  The falls are about a mile in and before the lake.  There is a little elevation change at the end getting up to the falls.

Above the falls there is a place the kids can put their feet in the water and a small grassy area to sit on.  The bridge to the other side where the trail continues on is a fallen log.

Along the trail back to the car we discovered large strawberry patches.  The strawberries were wonderful and sweet, but Brian thought it was way too much work for what you get. Still, it is a fun sideline to all the walking for kids.  I could see 8 - 10 year-olds enjoying this one.

When we were on the trail a few years ago the meadow area was ankle deep with water, so the trail sort of disappears.  Be prepared for mosquitoes and bring a bear bell. :)

Happy Anniversary Day in the Park

Brian and I never get to spend much of a traditional anniversary it seems.  School always starts about that time and things are just crazy this time of year.  So yesterday we decided to call it our anniversary and go to the park, just us two.  We took a picnic and set off.

First we had to make a stop at the KIWI restaurant in West Yellowstone for some famous meat pies, which we put in the cooler to keep for later.  The nice lady who owns the store, makes homemade meat pies every morning, but they are usually sold out by the time we get there.  She is from New Zealand and can hardly wait to get back. Her shop is for sale, in case anyone is interested. 

Once inside the park we scouted out short hikes for the grandchildren and found three.  Look for a separate post on them following this one.

We then went in search of animals.  We knew bison rut was in full swing so we headed to Hayden Valley.  On the way we saw a white wolf in Gibbon Meadow who was walking away from an elk kill that the rangers obviously knew about, because they had barricaded walkers from getting off the road in that area.  I did not get any pictures of it as we could only see it with binoculars.

The Museum of the Park Ranger has never been open when we have driven past it, so that was also a priority.

There are some very nice static displays and a theater room with two movie choices.  One is the history of the park ranger (30 minutes).  The second is a nice 8 minute slide show to Kenny Loggins' song 'Conviction of the Heart'.  Nicely done.  It would make a nice stop for restless legs.  There is even a very nice public wash room with a spigot outside to rinse off your feet or refill water bottles.

The playbill for the two movies shown in the theater.
Add caption

On the way to Hayden we stopped and watched a medium sized grizzly foraging in the grassy area on the other side of the Yellowstone River.

In Hayden Valley we saw several large herds of bison all chasing, dusting, pawing the dirt, and the various other things they do when in rut.  The grunting and bellowing noises they make could be heard loudly from the road.  We also saw several herds of elk.  Two very impressive bull elk with amazing racks were stopping traffic in the Canyon area.  I missed taking pictures of these two because of the crush of cars and people.  The bullhorn of the ranger ordering people away discouraged us also.

After two of our exploratory hikes, we headed back to Gibbon Meadow to discover that there were now two different wolves on the elk kill - a beautiful silver and black one and a grey and white one. The first white one was not seen in the afternoon.  We stayed until they were finished eating and wandered off to rest in the trees.

Dinner was late and light when we got home, as it was near 9 pm.  I had a half a meat pie and Brian had toast.  It proved a great day to be in the park and celebrate 33 years together, watching the animals.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

ATV Trip to the Continental Divide trail in the Centennials

Tonight Scott, Brian and I went on the ATVs up to the Centennials to find the Continental Divide trail.  What amazing views!  We got pretty dusty, as it has not rained in a while.  We searched for bear and berries, but no luck on either.  Thanks, Scott, for showing us the way there.

My Honey and I

My Honey

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Granddaughters' visit

Today Aimee treated us to a visit from her and the girls.  First, not to be outdone by the boys, Papa and the girls had to push over some trees.
Picking a tree

Push hard, girls!

So proud of a job well done.
Then the girls played the piano for Papa.

Then we had lunch.  Papa and the girls made cookies.  

Next we went canoeing on the Buffalo River. The girls wanted to get out and walk so we did.

Then we went back to the cabin for a dinner of hot dogs and salad.
When we said goodbye no one wanted them to leave.  On their way out I got a phone call from Helen telling us that they just saw two deer!  Nice ending to a nice day.

Her smile says it all...