Friday, January 20, 2017

Part III: Grand Tetons

Howdy Stranger!  The approach to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Our first view of the Grand Tetons.

This is pretty much what I wanted Wyoming to look like...

We had lunch here. We had the entire lake to ourselves!

Entering the Park.

A firefighting helicopter.

A posted map of places to avoid due to fires. The Park Service did a great job getting information out to the public.

What a wonderful color palette.

A view across the valley.

A sight which cannot been done justice by a mere photograph. Felt really, really small at that moment.

And this.

Baby bear!

And mom.

The mountains, the sky, the clear, crisp air...

Jenny Lake, where I hiked a mile and Kathy hiked 10.

These are the views I enjoyed hiking up the other side of Jenny Lake in order to reach the overlook.

The overlook.

The path down from the overlook.

Look closely. There are people climbing down that wall.

An osprey in its nest, as seen from a boat out on the lake.

The gondola we rode up the mountain.

Me, on top of the mountain.

What a view! And a path to follow...

Kathy on top of the mountain. Looks like her part of the mountain was cold.

Looking out over the valley from the mountain top.

Where they serve waffles,

One last look.

Then down we went...

What a wonderful outdoor adventure, exploring such magnificent National Parks!

Part I: Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

Last August, to celebrate Kathy's birthday (a big one), we went west to explore some of our country's beautiful national parks. This was, after all, the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.  We flew out to Montana, landing in Kalispell, and visited Glacier National Park first. Glacier is part of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, with Glacier on in U.S. and Waterton Lakes in Canada. While there, we learned that the glaciers in Glacier National Park will be gone by about 2030. I think even more about my own carbon footprint, knowing that...

We began our exploration of Glacier with a hike to Hidden Lake.

We met some mountain goats along the way.  We also spotted some longhorn sheep, but they were too far away to get a good picture.

Upon hiking down to Hidden Lake, we discovered how clear the water was. This became one of the themes of this trip - clear water. How good the air smelled was another.

We encountered a bit of traffic on the hiking path as we made our way back out.

We were taken by the beautiful wildflowers all along the path.

Wherever we went, we found beauty.



And the color of the water!

Apparently, the green is "glacier dust", or minerals ground to a fine powder by the glaciers which ends in the lakes.

Wish we had had a geologist with us, as the rock formations and colors were magnificent.

On our first visit to Many Lake, we caught our first glimpse of a bear - in this case, a black bear. Yes, black bears can be brown.

 Many Lake.

On our out of Glacier, we stayed in a lovely little cabin just near the Many Lake entrance.

We soon made our way toward Alberta, crossing the border not far from this butte, with the moon hovering nearby.

Our first view of Alberta was breathtaking.

At one end of Waterton Lake stands the Prince of Wales hotel. We did not stay there, but we did have lunch there one day.

From the hotel, one can look out over the lake, and the small town on its shore, where we stayed in a B&B as we explored the park.

Taking in views like this.

Hiking along the water in pristine, peaceful spots like this.

Admiring the sky, the mountains and the cloud shadows that danced across them, and of course the trees.

Not to mention the red rocks in Red Rock Canyon.

Some trails provided a a glimpse of lake, and the mountains that ring it.

In town, the occasional deer would look at us as the interlopers we were.

Strolling along the lake shore was like walking in a dream.

We took part of one day to visit the northeast corner of Waterton Park, to see the bison.

And to admire the colors in the mountains.

We set out to hike a trail up next to the lake, but had to wait a bit before we could get started, as it was already in use.

The view from the trail was well worth the wait!

And it seemed each spot we found to explore along the way was perfect. All we could hear was the wind and the water. All we could smell was the trees.

And the water, so cool and clean!

We found great spots to sit and relax all along the way.

And of course, Kathy hiked up a mountain just because it was there.

On the way down, the lake came into view again.

As did a fawn.

Late one afternoon, we took a boat tour out on the lake.

Where we saw how the earth can be folded, and wished again for a geologist.

As we traveled about Alberta and Montana, we were forced to conclude that the sky really is bigger out there.

And even the young birds are bigger, too.

The mountains and glaciers took our breath away so many times it was a wonder we lived to tell the tale.

After crossing back over from Alberta, we visited the Many Lake area of Glacier again, but did some more extensive exploring the second time. 

Again, the colors of the rocks, with water so clear...

And trails that pleaded poetically to be followed.

And a wife who waited patiently, again and again...

Small beauty as well as grand caught our eyes.

At times, I felt more like I was walking in Middle Earth than on our earth.

During one of our forays in Glacier, we even saw two moose!

And sat for a while on the shore of Many Lake. Because.

Wandering about near Many Lake, we found someone else was there before us.

We went for a row on the lake. And by that I mean Kathy rowed us across and back!

And who can forget the World's Largest Purple Spoon?

Or the rest stop signs?

Or the bison roaming in the wide open spaces?