A Travellerspoint blog

Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana

15 January 2016

overcast 30 °F

large_museum_of_..es__1_of_1_.jpg
Both our guides from yesterday recommended we see the Museum of the Rockies so we had the hotel shuttles take us. Montana is apparently a great place to find fossils and the majority of the museum is fossils and bones that has been collected in this area including the largest t-rex skull in the world.
large_T_rex_skull__1_of_1_.jpglarge_skeleon_in..ck__1_of_1_.jpglarge_display_fr..ve__1_of_1_.jpglarge_dinosaur_play__1_of_1_.jpg
It is quite an interesting section and I spent way more time reading plaques than usual. There were also displays on early settlers to the area and native Americans. I believe the warner Brothers display was a traveling one but it was also pretty neat to see how these early cartoons were made.
Our guide Kevin had informed us that there was a good café right near the museum called Sola. It was a bit pricy but one of the farm to table restaurants so very tasty. From there we walked about one mile to check out some of the stores in the downtown area.
large_curtiss_street__1_of_1_.jpg
This was capped by beers in the White Dog Brewery. I was surprised to see an actual white dog running around and I thought the dog tag labels for the different beers were a nice touch. The Best Western hotel shuttle picked us up to get home and we spent the rest of the evening enjoying the hotel amenities like the hot tub and buy one get one free drinks.
large_white_dog_..gs__1_of_1_.jpglarge_dog_beers__1_of_1_.jpg

Posted by ErinDriver 13:46 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Cooke City to Bozeman

14 January 2016

overcast 28 °F

large_what_could..ng__1_of_1_.jpg
Five inches of snow fell overnight and according to the locals this is “nothing”. Snow plows got through early in the morning and we continue on our wolf watching without a hitch. Right away we see some moose in the early morning light and spend a fair amount of time watching them and some bison waking up in the background.
large_Moose_looking_at_bison.jpglarge_moose_in_the_willows.jpglarge_moose_grazing_together.jpglarge_Moose_couple__1_of_1_.jpg
After that we move on to a morning watching wolves. We see them about to cross the road coming towards our group but a snow plow turned up so they went back the way they had come. Before too long they move on to the wood line where we loose sight.
large_group_of_t..ad__1_of_1_.jpglarge_group_of_wolves__1_of_1_.jpg
The morning was otherwise still great for wildlife. We see a beaver, big horn sheep and a coyote pouncing on a mouse. Unfortunately we eventually have to head towards Mammoth Springs and lunch in the dining room there. It never occurred to me to put meat loaf in my grilled cheese but they thought of it and it was great.

large_wiley_coyote__1_of_1_.jpglarge_7CC1FD6BADB086BB15A60BCE78CEF9E5.jpg
large_dining_room__1_of_1_.jpg
large_old_military_housing.jpg
We went on to see some terraces of limestone springs just up the street then started our drive towards Bozeman.
large_rock_formations__1_of_1_.jpglarge_trees_take..ks__1_of_1_.jpg
On the way we stopped for some more big horn sheep, prong horn sheep, eagles and slowed for a coyote walking down the road ahead of us.
large_wondering_..nt__1_of_1_.jpglarge_two_sheep__1_of_1_.jpglarge_twin_bison__1_of_1_.jpglarge_sheep_chec..ut__1_of_1_.jpglarge_male_long_..ep__1_of_1_.jpglarge_longhorn_r..ow__1_of_1_.jpglarge_long_horne..ng__1_of_1_.jpglarge_funny_look..lk__1_of_1_.jpglarge_elk_with_q..ns__1_of_1_.jpglarge_eagle__1_of_1_.jpglarge_baby_bison__1_of_1_.jpglarge_bison_head__1_of_1_.jpglarge_buffalo_road_block.jpg
We make the requisite stops at the Yellowstone Sign and Roosevelt Arch.
large_us_at_the_..te__1_of_1_.jpglarge_Paul_check..ns__1_of_1_.jpglarge_our_group__1_of_1_.jpglarge_guides_at_..ne__1_of_1_.jpg
It seems strange to arrive in a city after our time in more remote areas of the park but on this Thursday night Best Western is hopping. The group meets one last time for dinner at the Best Western and we enjoy laughing at things that went on over the weekend. Much of the group must catch 0615 flights but luckily we have two more days in town.

Posted by ErinDriver 19:55 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Wolf Watching and Snow shoeing

13 January 2016

sunny 20 °F

large_wolf_on_carcass__1_of_1_.jpg
My lucky number 13 pulled through again for me today in the form of wolf sightings. We had to wake up at 0515, breakfast at 0600 and off to see the wolves by 0645. Cooke City is about 20-30 minutes away from the Lamar Valley where the wolves hang out. Our first pull-off did not produce any sightings but the second one found 8 wolves (the entire Lamar Valley pack) coming down from the mountain and across the road. I also got a good look at a coyote.
large_wolf_on_the_road__1_of_1_.jpglarge_mangy_wolf..ng__1_of_1_.jpglarge_group_of_w..ll__1_of_1_.jpglarge_coyote__1_of_1_.jpg
We were able to watch these 8 wolves all the way until lunch time. The howling was incredible and our guide reported some of the best he has heard. They are very hard to get photos of those as the naturally stay very far from people. We had a short talk about the wolves from one of their top researchers, Rick Macintyre.
large_main_stree..ty__1_of_1_.jpglarge_Hoosiers_Bar__1_of_1_.jpglarge_Curt_and_R..ty__1_of_1_.jpg
Lunch was at Buns and Beds and was really fantastic. Our expectations were not high after yesterday’s dinner but I had a fabulous burger and an amazing chocolate milk shake while Curt had the sausage special.
large_Wildlife_gallery__1_of_1_.jpg
After lunch we went to the cabin and gallery of Dan and Cindy Hartman. They are wildlife photographers and do a lot of work with national geographic. He gave us a photo presentation and then took the five of us that wanted to show shoeing around his cabin. The walking wasn’t nearly as difficult as I imagined but it was a beautiful day to take in the surrounding scenery.
large_Curt_and_Cindi__1_of_1_.jpglarge_Curt_looki..fe__1_of_1_.jpglarge_sniffing_pooh__1_of_1_.jpglarge_view_while..ng__1_of_1_.jpg
After our walk it was back to Yellowstone. Our other group that skipped the show shoeing was already animal watching and had seen the wolves again. We ended our day the same way we started, by watching these incredible creatures.
large_Two_wolves..ng__1_of_1_.jpg
We were all somewhat reluctant to go to dinner because we had no choice but to go back to the Bistro that subsequently had even less food and beer than they did last night. Our guide, Paul, gave a talk about the wolves in Yellowstone to try to draw everyone to the restaurant.
large_Alpine_Motel__1_of_1_.jpg

Posted by ErinDriver 18:32 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Anybody a snow coach repairman?

12 January 2016

sunny 20 °F

large_snow_and_steam__1_of_1_.jpg
After a fabulous buffet breakfast at the Snow Lodge we were back in our coaches and heading to the world’s largest collection of mud pots.
large_steamy_pool__1_of_1_.jpglarge_unstable_ground__1_of_1_.jpglarge_pinecone__1_of_1_.jpglarge_our_europe..ds__1_of_1_.jpglarge_orange_features__1_of_1_.jpg
Yellowstone has 75% of the worlds geothermal features and mud pots are one of the four types. There is a boardwalk around them and we had a nice walk with plenty of time for photos.
large_kodiak_mom..ea__1_of_1_.jpglarge_ice_covere..ch__1_of_1_.jpglarge_group_phot..re__1_of_1_.jpglarge_frosty_trees__1_of_1_.jpglarge_dead_trees..es__1_of_1_.jpglarge_curt_in_the_mist__1_of_1_.jpglarge_blue_pool__1_of_1_.jpg
Along the way today we saw herds of bison and a couple of beautiful trumpeter swans we spent time photographing.
large_bison_grazing__1_of_1_.jpglarge_bison_eating__1_of_1_.jpglarge_bison_herd..nd__1_of_1_.jpglarge_mom_and_ba..on__1_of_1_.jpglarge_snowy_back__1_of_1_.jpglarge_snowy_face_bison__1_of_1_.jpglarge_yellowston..on__1_of_1_.jpglarge_0C42BE72FB2FC5F14A8974269E137A9D.jpglarge_trumpeter_swan__1_of_1_.jpg
Unfortunately at one of the rest stops we had a problem with one of the snow coaches and it wasn’t able to continue. This threw a wrench in our plans because we had to wait for a replacement coach. The guides were very professional about keeping us informed and even got out snacks to make the best of the situation. During the wait we took a walk to the river and got to see an eagle flying around.
large_monitoring..es__1_of_1_.jpglarge_eagle_on_i..ch__1_of_1_.jpglarge_eagle_look..ck__1_of_1_.jpglarge_Eagle_in_flight__1_of_1_.jpglarge_coming_in_..ng__1_of_1_.jpg
Once back in the coach we made it to Mammoth Springs where we had our box lunch and switched back to regular vehicles. On the drive to Cooke City we were treated with another amazing fox sighting and a group of buffalo walking down the side of the road. No wolves but we did now enter their home of the Lamar Valley.
large_old_fashio..ch__1_of_1_.jpglarge_fox_trying..er__1_of_1_.jpglarge_0BD39481B9D4C05163C39EB0301B8C39.jpglarge_bull_walki..ad__1_of_1_.jpg
Cooke City has 50 year round residents and our group is stretching the limits of the Alpine Motel and the bistro. Rooms are comfortable but basic and the restaurant does their best with limited supplies. Instead of TIA (this is Africa) we have TIM (this is Montana).

Posted by ErinDriver 16:31 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Grand Teton to Yellowstone

11 January 2016

sunny 21 °F

large_us_with_co..gn__1_of_1_.jpg
We finally have to leave our cozy hotel in Jackson to head towards Yellowstone. On the way we make a few stops when we see wildlife. Kevin spots a carcass and we spend a fair amount of time watching through the scopes. Coyotes seem to be very nervous around a carcass and a lot of ravens are gathered. A bald eagle sits watching in a tree and is joined by a second. Paul even spots a porcupine in a near by tree.
large_fox_with_fangs__1_of_1_.jpg
large_fox_looking_away__1_of_1_.jpg
large_standing_fox__1_of_1_.jpg
large_Richy_and_..ut__1_of_1_.jpg
Another treat was waiting for us along the road. A fox was just sitting on the snow drift and held his spot long enough for us to get photos from the roof hatch before he sauntered off in to the woods.
large_snow_coach__1_of_1_.jpg
We eventually hit Yellowstone Park and once at the end of the paved road we transfer to the snow coach. These are basically vans on tracks so we can make it through the deep snow. They are nice a roomy but a bit bumpy over the snow. A waterfall stop is beautiful and a bald eagle flies out of nowhere right at us. Unfortunately it happened so fast we didn’t get any photos.
large_trees_in_y..ne__1_of_1_.jpg
large_Demonstrat..ow__1_of_1_.jpg
large_waterfall__1_of_1_.jpg
large_yellowston..pe__1_of_1_.jpg
large_Curt_and_I..ll__1_of_1_.jpg
large_yellowstone_sign__1_of_1_.jpg
large_snowing_tree__1_of_1_.jpg
Lunch was at a warming hut but we managed to have soup, sandwiches and an assortment of other treats.
large_West_Thumb..ut__1_of_1_.jpg
large_temp_monitor__1_of_1_.jpg
Not long after this we made the rest of the drive to Old Faithful so we could see the expected 4:13 eruption.
large_Old_Faithf..gn__1_of_1_.jpg
large_before_blastoff__1_of_1_.jpg
large_Landscape_..ul__1_of_1_.jpg
large_lift_off__1_of_1_.jpg
They also led us around the boardwalk through the thermals right at sundown.
The only hotel open in Yellowstone in the winter is the Old Faithful Snow lodge and everyone here either came on snowmobile or by snow coach. The roads are not open to vehicles this time of year. The restaurant served a nice dinner and it was much faster than the previous evening.
large_field_of_g..es__1_of_1_.jpg
large_sunset_ove..ne__1_of_1_.jpg
large_Old_Faithf..ge__1_of_1_.jpg
large_sunset_hike__1_of_1_.jpg
large_geothermal..op__1_of_1_.jpg
large_mud_pot__1_of_1_.jpg
large_walking_in_steam__1_of_1_.jpg
large_walking_am..es__1_of_1_.jpg

Posted by ErinDriver 11:48 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Grand Teton and Sleigh Ride in Elk Refuge

10 January 2016

sunny 18 °F

large_Elk_Refuge_waking_up.jpg
Minature animals seems to be the theme of the morning. We start the day with a heat wave of 18 degrees and spend some time looking over the Elk Refuge and very tiny mule dear, elk and coyote. Driving through Grand Teton National Park we see miniature moose, bald eagles, big horn sheep, elk, bison and coyote.
large_Tetons_with_cloud_cover.jpg
large_moose_with_horns.jpg
large_Moose_trek.jpg
One moose has horns that we are told may be the only one we see at this time of year. We all practice trying to take photos through the spotting scopes. We all give up and give our phone to the guides to take photos for us. I learn that I spent a lot of money for a camera and renting a lens when the iphone takes better photos through the scope. Who knew.
large_swans.jpg
large_Shane_cabins.jpg
large_04AAB35800A0426CA5E0C1E23E78191C.jpg
We see some wolf tracks and hear that the Gros Ventre pack has been very active but no luck for us today. We do see Shane cabins that are famous from the western movie Shane. Django with Jamie Foxx also had parts filmed here. We pass the "hot springs" that he and his wife were sitting in during the movie. We were assured that the actors were not hot while filming.
large_Museum_of_art_statue.jpg
large_museum_of_..lf_painting.jpg
large_totem_pole.jpg
We have lunch at the cafe in the Museum of Wildlife Art and have a chance to walk through and see some wonderful paintings. Across the road is the elk refuge and the highlight of the day for me. We went in a horse drawn "sleigh" (more like a wagon really) through the elk refuge and got really close up pictures of the elk. I will let them speak for themselves.....
large_this_is_so_boring.jpg
large_our_ride.jpg
large_sleigh_ride_with_elk.jpg
large_view_of_refuge.jpglarge_young_male.jpg
large_what_do_you_want.jpg
large_two_elk.jpg
large_tetons_in_the_clouds.jpg
large_snowy_horns.jpg
large_sleigh_in_refuge.jpg
large_paying_attention.jpg
large_itchy_spot.jpg
large_HEY.jpg
large_having_a_snack.jpg
large_elk_with_mountains.jpg
large_elk_keeping_watch.jpg
large_elk_group.jpg
large_elk_feedin..an_audience.jpg
large_challenging.jpg
large_bison_herd.jpg
large_beautiful_horns.jpg
large_28ED77B7BFB0794DE15A21A178B02B74.jpg
large_Horse_and_driver.jpg
large_icy_nose.jpg
large_Curt_and_I.._our_horses.jpg
large_snowy_nose.jpg

Posted by ErinDriver 08:11 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Dog sledding in Wyoming

9 January 2015

snow 30 °F

large_holding_area.jpg
From the minute we were picked up for this adventure we were promised that dog sledding would be the highlight of our trip to Jackson Hole. We went for a half day tour with Jackson Hole Iditarod and they did not disappoint. From the very beginning you could sense their love for all of the 170 dogs in residence. It took a bit of time to get gear, people and dogs sorted but it was great once we got going.
large_waiting_to_go.jpg
large_wants_to_go_too.jpg
large_tired_of_waiting.jpg
large_are_we_leaving_or_what.jpg
large_and_they_are_off.jpg
It is quite a noisy production to get going but right off the bat Curt was doing the driving of our sled. The group leader, Mary was in front of us ith her team and then we had 6 dogs pulling us. One of them even was the leader of a team to do the Iditarod in Alaska. Shortly after we got going I was able to stand on the back of the sled with Curt and put a bit more distance between me and the dogs rear ends.
large_view_from_the_basket.jpg
large_sled_dog_trail.jpg
large_sled_dogs_up_ahead.jpg
large_coming_up__from_behind.jpg
After about 45 minutes of sledding through just pristine landscape we stopped for a "picnic" lunch of chili and hot chocolate. Here we got a chance to meet a couple of our dogs, Patsy and Poptart were our leading ladies. Poptart is 11 years old!!
large_landscape_at_picnic_spot.jpg
large_close_up_howling.jpg
large_concentration.jpg
large_Curt_bonding.jpg
large_cutie_pie.jpg
large_dogs_at_rest_break.jpg
large_A13C11DAB4E288A1B6D245766F02A726.jpg
large_me_and_the..ing_ladiess.jpg
large_out_dogs_w..g_patiently.jpg
large_why_me.jpg
large_A1912C48EB5700BCE65B8C9FB03EEA27.jpg
After lunch Curt and I were both drivers of our sleds as here was another couple who didn't want to drive so we had to break up. They also changed a few dogs and many times I had to put all my weight on the break to keep from passing our leader. But what a wonderful experience that was had by all.
large_me_driving.jpg
large_Curt_mushing.jpg
large_A1216595AF3DBC2193F7259799CB66D7.jpg
large_cozy_dog_bed.jpg
large_Us_with_a_team.jpg
Once we returned to town we spent the afternoon at the Old Town Tavern watching Kansas City beat Houston in the playoff game.
By 6:00 it was time to meet the rest of our Natural Habitat group for dinner. Our leaders Kevin and Paul have been doing this for 14 years and seem very knowledgable. There are 13 in our group and seems like it will be a great one. We had a welcome dinner at the Wort with either salmon (me) or skirt steak (Curt) and a wonderful apple crisp. We are all excited to start our wildlife viewing tomorrow!

Posted by ErinDriver 20:28 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Snowmobile Riding in Grand Teton National Park

8 January 2016

overcast

large_snowmobile_day.jpg
Scenic Safaris took us on the best snowmobile trip we have ever been on. We had a great guide in Mikey and a small enough group that made it a bit more enjoyable than those of past locatins. The morning was foggy again for the ride to Grand Teton but we were quickly off on a well groomed trail at a really descent speed.
large_serious_snowmobiler.jpg
large_silly_snowmobiler.jpg
Before long we came across big horned sheep in the road and a ram pretty close by. We were able to stop and take a few photos before moving on to one of th locations of a camp site along the river.
large_630BBB85029893A63032AC2ACF6626CD.jpg
large_digging_for_grass.jpg
large_Grand_Teton_Landscape.jpg
The next stop was at an elk head laying in the road. Mikey felt it was likely this was dragged their by wolves as he could see their prints on the road.
large_Elk_herd_in_Grand_Teton.jpg
We made it to an elk feeding ground where he again mentioned they seemed very edgy and that wolves were likely in the area. We saw a distant coyote but no wolves. After the turn around we hit the same sheep in the road on the way back.
large_scenic_overview.jpg
large_Ram_crossing.jpg
large_Bighorn_Sheep_Ram.jpg
large_snowmobili.._the_cliffs.jpg
large_snowing_in_Grand_Teton.jpg
large_snowmobiles_ready.jpg
large_Curt_after..nowmobiling.jpg
After the ride back we quickly headed to Pinky G's which had been featured at Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. They have probably the cheapest option for lunch in the town with a slice of new york style pizza and a beer for $5.
large_Pinky_G_s.jpg
Later in the afternoon we walked back to Snow King Mountain for the tubing. One hour was $20 for as many times down the hill as you could stand. As one man there reminded us as he was getting in his tube "Fun isn't only for kids!"
large_waiting_in_th_tubing_line.jpg
large_sling_shot_in_the_tubes.jpg
large_lift_restaurant.jpg
large_USA_in_license_plates.jpg
Right across the street from the tubing was a cute little restaurant called lift where we had hot chocolate and a beer before walking back in to town. They had the awesome US map made out of license plates! To cap off the day we split a burger and skinny fries at Liberty Burger. An absolutely delicious burgerand fantastic fries.

Posted by ErinDriver 20:55 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Snow King Skiing

7 January 2016

overcast 36 °F

large_ski_day.jpg
The day started a bit cloudy but that didn't stop us from walking to the slopes at Snow King. It was really a dream day of skiing. Most people go to Jackson Hole Resort to ski so Snow King was almost like we had the whole mountain to ourselves. The runs were just challenging enough and in the end the blue sky even peaked out.
large_Morning_on_Snow_King.jpg
large_345A494FB7BA5458CB832377AB1431D4.jpg
large_The_sun_wants_to_come_out.jpg
large_3480249DFFD669656F19FB14CE68A278.jpg
large_afternoon_at_Snow_King.jpg
large_Holy_Crap_I_did_it.jpg
The resort has what they call the Cowboy Coaster, basically a roller coaster down the ski mountain. This was really fun and included with our lift ticket package with the military discount!! Thanks Snow King! Curt likes to brag that he never put the brakes on and what we felt when it slowed was the ride doing it automatically because we had hit 25 mph.
large_cowboy_coaster.jpg
large_coaster_ride.jpg
large_on_the_roller_coaster.jpg
After the roller coaster we took a break for lunch at Haydens Post. We split some nachos and a chicken sandwich that came with the most tasty sweet potato fries.
The downtown was just coming alive when we walked back through a few shops on the way back to the Lexington. The town definately wants to show off its western side with everything from canoeing raccoons to moose lollipops.
large_downtown_Jackson.jpglarge_canoeing_raccoons.jpg
large_moose_pops.jpg
Curt was pretty exhausted after a half day of skiing!
large_Curt_after..y_of_skiing.jpg
Caldera thin crust pizza was the perfect way to cap off a great ski day.

Posted by ErinDriver 19:34 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Arrival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

6 January 2016

snow

large_Welcome_to_Jackson_Hole.jpg
large_Jackson_Hole.jpg
I thought this day would never come but we did in fact finally arrive in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for vacation. After a nice visit to the Corner Bakery in foggy El Paso we had a couple smooth flights bringing us to snowy Wyoming. The Lexington hotel shuttle picked us up at the airport and we saw 3 moose on the way home. In about 15 minutes we were at the cozy hotel with free cookies and coffee.
large_Lexington_Hotel.jpg
Funny enough our room number at the Lexington was the same as our address in El Paso.
large_El_Paso_address.jpg
large_Lexington_room_number.jpg
The hotel also had little Lexi the wolf waiting in the room. And for Mom it does note that if you take Lexi home with you, you will be charged $25.
large_Lexi_the_wolf.jpg
Before long we were walking to the center of town with light snow fall and Christmas decoations all around. It was all pretty magical. We did a little shopping, I did a little photographing and we both did a little beer drinking.
large_Million_Dollar_Cowboy_Bar.jpg
We were told we had to check out the cowboy bar, famous for its saddle bar stools. We had a couple beers and some cheese fries before moving on.
large_saddle_bar.jpg
large_beers_a_Mi.._Cowboy_Bar.jpg
Next up was the Old Town Tavern which was having trivia night. I think we found a local hangout where many groups come each week for silly trivia. We had a couple of bread bowls, Curt's with chili and mine with cheesy tortilla fajita.
large_antler_arch.jpg
large_antlers.jpg

At the end of trivia the guy put on his slide show this saying which I thought was pretty good one. The happiest people in the world don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.

Posted by ErinDriver 21:48 Archived in USA Comments (0)

(Entries 61 - 70 of 564) « Page .. 2 3 4 5 6 [7] 8 9 10 11 12 .. »