Thursday, September 27, 2012


Old Faithful was just that.  We were surprised by the crowds still visiting this time of year.  Glad we didn't come in July!  There were the usual number of bison in Hayden Valley, lots of fun to watch, as always.  We spent 4 days at Madison Campground, while Gail and Darrell stayed in West Yellowstone.  By the time we left, the air quality was pretty bad from the Idaho fires.
Darrell is "tailgating" at our campsite in Madison.
 Some of the geothermal features we visited throughout the park.  This one is right on Yellowstone Lake.  the coloring of some of the algaes growing in the different temperatures is striking.

Gail and Darrell wave from below as Darrell (yes, it's confusing) takes their picture.
Here in Mammoth Hot Springs, this bull elk is rounding up his harem.  It's that time of year, and the crowds are up here getting too close, taking pictures, and generally having a good time.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


On the way into Yellowstone from the west entrance, we came upon this lake.  The story behind it is that in 1959, there were over 200 people camping along the Madison River, which flowed through where this lake is now.  Late one evening, an earthquake measuring 7.8 Richter occurred, causing the entire south side of the mountain to break off and fly across the valley, damming the river, and killing 19 of the campers. The boulder (weighing 3000 tons) Darrell and Luna are standing by was carried by the debris across the valley and deposited on the opposite side. The quake caused simultaneous eruption of 200 geysers in Yellowstone.  Crazy what nature can do.
As we leave Yellowstone, this is the view looking across the lake.  The smoke is so bad from Idaho fires, there is no view.  We are glad to leave the smoke, but not the beautiful park.


We arrived in Cody, staying for 3 days in order to see this museum completely.  It takes at least 2 days to go through the extensive collections covering Buffalo Bill, Plains Indians, Western Art, and Firearms exhibits.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


 From Butte, we drove south along the Ruby River to Virginia City and Nevada City.  The air quality south of Whitefish, all the way down, has been super bad due to huge fires in Idaho that are still burning out of control.
Anyway, we camped here for 2 nights, and took the day to stroll up and down main street.  Virginia City is usually bustling in the summer, with all the shops and stores open, train rides, and dance hall performances. We hit the end of the season, so things were winding down....but it was nice, and they had neat museums. 
Virginia and Nevada Cities sprang up in the 1860's when gold was discovered, and the boom was on.
A Montana couple began buying the buildings and keeping them from destruction, and now the Montana Heritage Commission oversees the sites.

 Since we arrived in September, the season is winding down, and a lot of the stores were, we peeked in and got some shots.

This doesn't look like easy walking to me, but it looks to be about my size (I have big feet).
 Most of these buildings and artifacts are original to the town, kept in a sort of arrested decay. 

Boot Hill, where 5 "road agents" are buried after being hanged together on Main street, from the beam of an unfinished building.
This train depot was moved to Virginia City in 1964, as a reminder of the lack of rail connections that could have changed the city's future. 
 Passenger car
 Old steam engine, probably used as a little yard switcher.

This is the Alder Gulch train that runs in the summer from Virginia City to Nevada City

Monday, September 17, 2012


 On our way (slowly) south, we were told by Gail and Darrell to see Butte, because it is a historical mining town.  We had no idea.  This museum sits on the site of the Orphan Girl Mine, one of many mines in Butte. This mine ran from 1875 to 1956, and produced mostly silver and zinc.  The site overlooks the area of the 1864 gold strike.  Butte's population swelled to 100,000 during the heyday of precious ore mining.

The 44 acre  museum contains thousands of artifacts, including buildings brought to the site and restored as a town called Hell Roaring Gulch.
The first part of the museum contained a doll collection.  You name it, they had it.  Here is Darrell's favorite part, the Star Trek group.  Live long and prosper!
This contraption was used to repair trolley lines.
 I am standing in front of a horizontal mine shaft called an adit.  This one didn't go all the way in, but was an example of how the cars were used to bring ore and rock out.

 5 stamp ore crusher
A steam engine used to pull ore cars
This is a LaSalle armored car, used to transport the miners' pay, given in silver dollars.


 This museum in Kalispell was really interesting, housing lots of artifacts from the time the Flathead Valley was settled.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


 This is our last week at the park, so....a quick hike to Tally Lake overlook, pizza party for our group of park hosts at Whitefish S.P., then got home and ran down to the lake to catch the beautiful sunset.

Saturday, September 08, 2012



 The Halls joined us for a scenic ride up the chairlift to the top of Big Mountain.  Amber joined us; she rode her bike from Kalispell to the park, then from the park up the mountain to the lift (rode the lift with us), then hiked the 5 miles back down the Danny On trail to wait for us.  I'd say she has a little too much energy?  (just envious).


 We took a quick drive to Glacier after the Labor Day holiday.  Things were quieter, less traffic, things winding down.  The flowers are still hanging on for a bit longer, and the jammers are not as full.