Lake Mead, Sedona and Flagstaff… Oh My

Hello friends!

Yes, it has been an incredibly busy month of October and promises to continue to be such for us.  We can’t start this entry without thanking everyone for the positive response to our videos.  We had no idea they would be such a hit!  Look for a video update from us each Sunday and Wednesday.  We will do our best to stick to a post each of those days and already have enough to keep us going for a few weeks.  Please subscribe to our channel on YouTube to stay up to date on the videos.  Sherry and Sean’s YouTube Channel We will try to answer questions that have come our way, especially about cooking and life in general in the RV.  Now, on to the blog:

We left Mesquite, Nevada and drove a few hours to get to a camp sight on Lake Mead.  The drive was pleasantly uneventful other than some rough roads and traffic through Las Vegas.  Yes, there were some shorter routes for us to take, but we decided to stick to interstates and keep it simple.

When we arrived at our spot on Lake Mead, we quickly set up, walked the pups and took off for Hoover Dam.  Sean had last visited the area with his grandparents back in the 70’s.  He commented several times how amazed  he was at the low water level.  We knew how tough the drought conditions were, but the sight of the water line marks on the lakes edge and the actual water line were stunning.

Since we only had a day, we tried to make the most of our time.  We started off by heading to the dam and, after passing through a security checkpoint, we stopped at an area were we could take a foot tour up to the new Tillman Bridge and across the bridge to get a bird’s eye view of the dam.  The bridge and dam are both amazing feats of engineering.  Sean remembered taking a tour of the inside of the dam and learning that so much concrete was poured in such a short time that cooling pipes had to be run through the dam to aid in the curing of the cement.  Otherwise, it would have taken decades to finally set.

We did drive down to the dam and park so we could walk across.  A note here.  Don’t bring your spare tanks of gas with you when visiting the dam.  You can’t park anywhere but the open sites due to security. We didn’t think of that when we left as we were rushing to get on with the site seeing.  OH, another note – Sean made too many dam jokes as we took our walking tour.. pun intended.

The day after our visit to the dam we crossed the Tillman Bridge with our home in tow and our next destination of Williams, AZ where we would stay at Railside RV.  Our original plan had us here only a few days but we upped that to a week so we could see all we wanted to see.  Sherry also had her heart set on riding the train into Grand Canyon National Park… Well, that will be the subject of a new blog AND a video!    : ).

The day after we arrived in Williams, we drove into Sedona.  This was a beautiful drive, winding down the mountains on a road that reminded us of the Going to the Sun Road, only a little wider.  We dropped several thousand feet and gained a few degrees.  It is probably worth mentioning that we went from 90 degree temps to 60 degree temps going from Lake Mead to Williams.  Brrrr.  There are several parks along HWY 89A worth stopping at.  One of them, Slide Rock State Park is the home of one of the top ten swimming holes in the country.. or so we heard.

Sedona was amazing, and we enjoyed wandering the small town and visiting many shops.  Sean even found a coffee mug like one used by his favorite ex-late night talk show host Craig Ferguson.

After Sedona, we holed up in the RV for a little R&R… Well, cleaning and laundry.  The weather had really turned on us and was wet and cold.  Perfect to catch up on chores and edit some videos.  The next day was marginally better so we decided to drive into Flagstaff to see the Lowell Observatory.  This was a religious experience for Sean.  Please don’t ask him why Pluto should still be considered a planet.  We toured the old observatory and heard about the conditions the astronomers faced when it was in use like climbing onto the roof to shovel snow and standing around at night in sub zero temps getting frostbite while waiting for a photographic plate to gather an image of the heavens.   Amazing.  We also had our first (but not last) Tarantula sighting along one of the trails at the observatory.  YIKES!!

In our next several blogs we will cover our trips into the Grand Canyon and a few videos on cooking and baking.  One of the upcoming blogs will cover some of the amazing people we have met through blogging and travel since we started this journey.

Our next entry will be a video blog about cooking.  Sherry made a delicious Butternut squash soup.  Yes, we will share the recipe. : )

Please pass along our links to anyone you think would be interested.

Signing off for now!

Click the link below to see more photos of Sedona, Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff.

Travel Photo Link

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Vegas and Sean’s Birthday!

We have been very busy the past few weeks. After we left the Yellowstone area, we travelled to Provo, UT for a couple of days.  They have a really nice Paleontology museum on the campus of BYU and a gorgeous trail to Bridal Veil Falls.  We took the opportunity to visit both of these spots while we were in the area.  The RV park, Lakeside RV, was nice with a dog park and walking trails.  It was also close to the Provo State Park and lake.

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50?!? That can’t be right!

We headed out on September 15, the day before Sean’s BIG birthday – the BIG 5-0!  We made our way to the Arizona/Nevada border and set up at a nice RV resort with a pool and LOTS of luxury amenities.  We spent the day of his birthday lounging by the pool and eating whatever he wanted.  (NORMALLY we eat vegetarian meals, but Sean wanted bacon for breakfast, so bacon we ate!)  Sherry made a cake (if by made you mean bought); Sean’s favorite is German Chocolate.  Sherry also made a favorite for dinner – tofu stuffed pasta shells and asparagus.  Nom Nom!

 

On September 21 we headed to Vegas to celebrate even more!low res-2224  We boarded our furbabies at the Animal Inn in Vegas and we stayed at New York New York.  Sherry had never been to Vegas and Sean had not been there since he was a teenager with his grandparents.  Our room was great and the atmosphere at New York New York was fun.  We joked that for the last several months we have been in quiet, forested, park areas, Vegas was a shock to our senses.  The lights, noise, and sea of humanity was overwhelming at times.  We enjoyed spending time touring the inside of New York New York.  low res-2627They have “streets” indoors that are similar to those in NYC (Greenwich, Times Square, Broadway, etc).  Vegas has the feel of a theme park like Disney – it is designed to be visually appealing and make you spend money.  lol.  This whole trip has been about decompressing and decluttering our lives, so maybe Vegas was not the obvious choice for a getaway.  We felt the whole place was a little anti-climactic.  Sherry wanted to see the Gondolas at the Venetian, but was disappointed that they weren’t as grand as they were on TV and photographs.  We both enjoyed the fountain show at the Bellagio – they played “All That Jazz” from Chicago, one of Sherry’s favorites.    Sean wanted to see some of the old hotels that were there when his grandparents took him there, so we trekked down to Circus Circus (on the monorail that Sherry thought would be a good idea – it wasn’t…) and it was not the fun, bright hotel of yesteryear.  It was a little “house of horror” looking.  It looked run down and tired.  We think the appeal of Las Vegas that is shown on TV did not come across while we visited.  Maybe we just aren’t Vegas people…

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An “old school” selfie – taken with our good camera propped up on the ironing board in the room.

However, the big excitement was the show that we booked!  We saw Zumanity, a Cirque Du Soleil show at the New York New York.  It was a sensual, funny, heart-stopping type of show.  There was a little person who did a stunning aerial silk act that we couldn’t believe!  It is only for 18+ though, so don’t think about going with kiddos – or if you tend to be offended by sexuality and language.  We had a great time.  😉  Sherry was disappointed, however, that people didn’t seem to dress up as much as she thought they would in Vegas.  Being involved in theater, she always follows the rule that you dress for a show.  Sherry wore a nice dress and heels and Sean wore a suit.  low res-2659The ticket person at the door commented that he loved to see attractive people dressed up for the show, and no offense to Sherry, but he prefers a nice looking man in a suit (wink wink).  Sherry felt pretty lucky to have such attractive arm candy.  It was odd to see many people show up in what they probably wore all day – shorts, tees, and athletic shoes.  Maybe a different show or hotel draws a different crowd.  It was also disappointing to see not many people dressing to go out at all.  low res-2652We spent two nights visiting the dueling piano bar in the hotel and other restaurants around town, and people were dressed casual or less than casual.  Sherry assumed Vegas would have more pizazz and stylish people roaming around in the evenings – it understandable during the day because of the heat and amount of walking, but at night it’s supposed to be glamorous and sexy time! Lol.  We guessed we just weren’t visiting the right places.  We sure didn’t want to spend the money for that kind of style either.  We did have a little luxury by the pool one day when we rented two cabana chairs.  They came with cushions, iced drinks, and a pool raft.  Even though we weren’t gambling at the tables or shopping at overpriced stores, we still had fun eating, drinking, and people watching.  Sherry thought the food was the best part of the whole Vegas experience.  We didn’t have one bad meal!  We also visited the aquarium at Mandalay Bay.  We realized as we were visiting hotels that many of them have selfie booths that take your picture and send it to you through email.  Sherry decided that it was a mission to find as many as possible and get a picture.  These are from all the ones we could find (minus the one from Linq because their machine had a window directly behind us that whited out the picture…):

All in all, Sean had a fun birthday and we added another experience to our adventure.  We still think that we prefer what mother nature has to offer over the man made stuff.  We are still considering going back to Vegas one more time before we leave the area to see another show.  We would both really like to see Book of Mormon while it is there.

Many (but not ALL) of our pictures from this trip were taken with our phones.  We really didn’t want to lug the good camera around while we trekked the streets of Vegas, so if you would like to see what we got, visit the gallery on our website:

Las Vegas and Sean’s Birthday Photo Gallery

 

Yellowstone STINKS….

… if you are standing downwind from some of the Sulphur smelling geysers, fumaroles, mudpots or hot springs that is.  🙂  Gotcha.

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Yellowstone is one of the world’s largest ‘Super Volcanos’ and according to park literature, one of the more violent and active.  The bulk of the park is actually inside the volcanic caldera.  It is mind-blowing to look at a park map and realize how huge the ‘volcano’ truly is.  It is even more impressive to drive the miles and miles of the loop seeing evidence of how seismically active this region is in the form of the geysers, fumaroles and hot springs scattered through the park.  Sean loves the science behind Yellowstone and was eager to see as much of the activity as possible.  He would also be the first to admit that despite reading and seeing several specials about Yellowstone’s super volcano, he was unprepared for the reality.

Elevations were as high or higher than most places in Glacier but seemed much more accessible due to the excellent system of roads and trails through the park.  Craig Pass is at an elevation of 8262 ft, about 2000 ft higher than Logan Pass in Glacier, but if you miss the sign, you might never know you had reached that height.  In fact, one of the biggest differences we noted was how easy it was to see some of the highlights of the park from the car or just a short hike.   Another thing that struck us, as we entered the region, was how different it looked from Glacier.  Where Glacier was jagged and raw, Yellowstone was ’roundier’: a word Sherry coined to describe the lay of the land.  : )low res-1486

We only took two days to see as much as possible, and two days was just barely enough to scratch the surface.  There are multiple entrances to the park, but because of where we are staying, we chose the West entrance for convenience and access to the grand loop which would allow us to see most of the notable sites in the park.  Despite the fact that we were visiting ‘off season’, we were still impressed by the numbers of park visitors.  We would later learn that this was a record breaking year for tourists in the park.  We once described Glacier as a theme park, and we think that Yellowstone might have even more of that large tourist attraction feel.  It was hard to get parking spots at some of the more popular attractions.  We’re sure if we had longer we would have tried more of the ‘off the beaten path’ attractions, but we followed all the other sheep to the easy to access sights.  The park is set up really well to allow for easy access to beautiful scenery.  The difference in Glacier is that most of the best views are a 1/2 day – whole day hike away.  The most we travelled on foot in Yellowstone was a mile or less at one time.  We probably missed many amazing locations, but we didn’t book as much time here as we did Glacier, so we did what we could in the time we had.

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This guy was one of the first things we saw after entering the park. He was meandering down the road right next to the cars.

Entering the park on our first day, we drove just under 15 miles to Madison along the Madison River.  This is a gorgeous drive with the river running parallel to the road, in many places opening up to flat grasslands where we almost immediately sited Elk and Bison.  We had decided to see Old Faithful, but also wanted to stop at some sites along the way.  After turning south at Madison, it wasn’t long before we saw steam off to our right as we approached the Lower Geyser Basin.  We had been guilty, as many other visitors, of not really considering that Old Faithful was just one of the signs of seismic activity in the park.  Sean acted like a kid on Christmas morning, so of course we stopped.

The trails through this area are well maintained boardwalks.  As the signs at the entrance indicate, walking on the bare ground wasn’t healthy for many reasons, including melted shoes.  LOL  The various hot springs along the walk were quite beautiful, varying in color… but not smell.  Yes, this is one of the stinky parts of Yellowstone.  low res-1522Several times we walked through steamy clouds of sulfurous… yuck.  Again, well worth it for the views.low res-1513  After low res-1548leaving the lower basin, we continued our drive, stopping frequently to photograph wildlife and various geysers and hot springs.  When we arrived at Old Faithful we were impressed by the excellent parking opportunities as well as the visitors center.  There are several museums and education centers in the park.  This and the one at Canyon Village were the two we were able to see and were well worth the time.

Anyway, we arrive with 45 minutes to spare to see the eruption, so after a quick run through the visitor center and a walk along the trail circling Old Faithful, and stops at several small springs, we went to the benches surrounding the geyser and waited.  Sean was eager to take shots of the eruption and played with camera settings as we waited.  He wanted to have the shutter and focus set so that some shots would ‘stop action’ the eruption, others he wanted to give more of a blurred effect while capturing the sky and background.   The biggest issue with this was the changing light conditions.  When we sat down we had nearly cloudless blue skies.  That quickly transitioned to a mostly cloudy sky.  The eruption was all it was cracked up to be.  Very impressive and worth the wait.  It was funny to hear the applause from the crowd that had gathered.

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After seeing Old Faithful we decided to continue our drive to West Thumb, which is on Yellowstone Lake.  This was another area with steampots.  At that point, we called it the end of a long day and drove back to our RV.

Day 2:  Once again, we entered the park from the West entrance, but this time we turned North at Madison.  We had decided to take the Northern part of the loop and complete the circle, seeing Old Faithful one more time.  This meant missing some areas of the park such as Mammoth.  The northern route took us through forested regions and into vast rolling grassy plains.  On this drive Sean saw a wolf, no photos as he or she had moved on before we could take any shots.   We also saw many bison and elk and other wildlife in the plains and along the rivers.  The drive also had a number of interesting stops such as the Artists Paintpots, Sean’s favorite – the Mud Volcano, and Sherry’s favorite – the Dragon’s Mouth.

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Bates, obviously entranced with Old Faithful… not.

We had our dogs with us on the second day because, after visiting the first day, we realized that we weren’t going to venture out into the backcountry, so they could travel in the truck with us to see the sights.  They are allowed on some of the developed areas, so we were able to get out and walk with them.  low res-1990Bates really enjoyed the area around Old Faithful.  Maggie is anxious and doesn’t enjoy crowds, so we left her to snooze in the truck while we walked up with Bates to the area around Old Faithful. (Don’t worry, it was in the 50s that day and the truck was nice and cool while we were gone.  We do not take them unless we know conditions are going to be good for them.  We love our furbabies and would never do anything to injure them).  Dogs are allowed around the grounds except close to the geysers.  There are signs indicating where you can and cannot walk.  There are MANY people who apparently do not pay attention to any signs.  A ranger had to go out and make an announcement to “all people with dogs” that they had to stay back from the geyser viewing area.  We were already in the designated area, so Bates felt smarter than all the other dogs there.  Lol.  He received tons of attention while we were there too.  He is a very good boy to take into large crowds.  His training has definitely paid off, and he is very obedient.

We are glad we had the chance to see Yellowstone, if we have any regrets, it is that we didn’t get to hike into the backcountry.  We are sure there are many more things to see than those to which you can drive, but we are happy with what we were able to see in such a short amount of time.

We have many more stunning photos of Yellowstone.  Just click the link below to go to our Travel Photography page and click the Yellowstone and Old Faithful gallery.

http://www.loveyphotography.com/Traveling-Photography

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The Adventures of Maggie and Bates

Hi, human friends!

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The dog run in Odessa, MO at Country Garden RV Park

Mommy and Daddy said we could write a post about how much we enjoy traveling the country in an R.V.  We have seen (and smelled) SO much in the past three months!  We especially enjoy when there is a dog park at the R.V. park or in the area where we are staying.  There was a small dog run at the R.V. park in Odessa, MO, and an even better one in Wall, SD at a park called Sleepy Hollow.  It smelled like horses, so it must have had them fenced there a long time ago.  It was SO big for us to run and play.  It made it easier on Mommy and Daddy too.  They could give us (and them) a break from the leashes for a while!

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Lounging in our favorite couch in front of the TV. Perry Mason must be on because we were sleepy…

As much as we love the dog parks, we love lying around inside even more! Maggie says that she really doesn’t like Bates, but she sure seems to like him when she needs a cuddle.  Our favorite thing to do inside is sit on the couch and watch MeTV.  There are shows about the old west, old wars, and silly shipwrecks.  We really like Daniel Boone!  He’s a great woodsman!  We may be a little spoiled, they leave the TV on for us whenever they do their hiking.  Sometimes, if they are going on a long hike they have a nice person come to let us out and play.

The best dog park we’ve ever seen is in a place called Whitefish, Montana.  We haven’t seen any fish yet, but there are a lot of dog friends we like to meet.  Bates likes to run and run and run when he is there, then he falls down and can’t run any more.  There is a separate area for “little” dogs like Maggie, but she doesn’t ever want to stay in there.  She thinks she’s a big dog too!  There’s a pond where dogs can swim, but mommy and daddy say that Bates is embarrassing when they let him in there.  He likes to pee in the water.  Maybe when he is older he will understand he can’t do that in his pool.  We both enjoy meeting other doggy friends and playing on the playground there.  We are SO tired after we play.

Well, we have to go eat, or sleep, or go outside now, so thank you for letting us tell you how much we have enjoyed our time so far on the road!  We love our mommy and daddy and being on the road with them.  They let us have morning “puppy piles” where we all lie on the bed and snuggle.  That’s the best time of the day!  We are two lucky pups!

Bark at you later, human friends!

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Maggie and Bates

Moose, Massage and Fire

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The Spa – Whitefish, MT

We don’t want to turn our posts into advertisements, but we will pass on the names and locations of businesses we find on our travels that we enjoyed.  Basically, we wont say anything bad, but we do want to comment on the good. 🙂  As educators, we so often heard negative comments and cherished the positives when they would come along.  Sean often had parents tell him at the end of the year ceremony, ‘Mrs. ____ is such a wonderful teacher.  We should have said something to her sooner…”  Anyway, we believe in passing on good whenever we can.

We decided to treat ourselves today to a massage.  This is actually our second since arriving in the Glacier area nearly two months ago.  All the hiking, walking and carrying backpacks does take a toll, so it is nice to pamper ourselves every so often.  The place we found is called The Spa at Grouse Mountain Lodge in Whitefish.  It was well worth it and our tired, sore bodies appreciated the hour long session.  Many of you probably heard the long deep sighs around noon.  🙂

Since arriving in Montana, we have found so many great people and businesses.  It has been a real pleasure sitting and talking to people or standing in a line at a store and having a local just strike up a conversation.  This area has quickly moved up our list of places to live… If they only had a beach and good places to dive… that weren’t near freezing.

Since hitting this part of the country, Sherry has wanted to get a wood carved animal and sign for our RV site.  We have passed dozens of places and gone into dozens of places to check on work and prices.  So far, we haven’t found a place that didn’t have incredible pieces of functional art.  We love the carved wood furniture from beds to benches, each unique and beautiful.  Sean has even commented about getting a coffee table for the RV…  Nope, not yet.  On one of our explorations a few weeks ago, we stopped in a place called Log Furniture Chainsaw Carving ‘Anything else is just firewood’.  OK, we love the slogan!  We also enjoyed talking to the owner/artist and ordered a Moose with a sign for our RV lot.  We haven’t stopped with ‘Moose and Squirrel’ comments since ordering Bullwinkle.  If you don’t get the references you are probably too young or have lacked a well balanced education. 🙂

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Moose

Fire:  Another fire broke in the park, but this time it was south of the Two Medicine area on the east side of the park.  Driving back to our RV park we could see huge clouds of smoke pouring up over the mountains.  It is fascinating to see.  The fire caused a huge ‘thunderhead’ type cloud to form, white and towering, over the dirty brown smoke.

View from our truck.

View from our truck.

Sherry took a photo using her iPhone from the truck.  The shot from the truck and again from the RV park don’t do it justice.  Hopefully, this 1900 acre fire is contained soon.

From the entrance to our RV park.

From the entrance to our RV park.

We talked about how appreciative we are of the men and women who fight fires.  It is hard to imagine  being one of those brave people facing this massive act of nature.  Keep them in your thoughts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Months, Togetherness and TATTOOS!

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Home Sweet traveling Home.

Two months?  Where does the time go?  We have already been on the road a couple of months and have acclimated to the lifestyle quite well.  It is hard to imagine that our educator friends head back to school this week.  Sean has been retired for a couple of years and doesn’t feel the back to school rush anymore.  This is Sherry’s first year not working, and we know, “boo-hoo”, but she’s feeling a little anxiety about not getting ready for another school year, or any job for that matter.  89c45d5c84a946a757d6f9067d911c8aWe do feel guilty about having a LONG ‘break’ away from the daily grind of work.  But, then we look around and stop feeling guilty and start feeling lucky!  🙂  Truly though, we wish the best to our friends in education starting back on the amazing path of enlightening youth and changing lives!  Good luck to you all this year!  You’ll surely need it!!  🙂

Now, back to the headline…

Ah, togethernesslow res-8469-2We still love it (no kidding – we would say that even if we weren’t writing this post together).  It is funny to wonder about people’s perceptions when we get the question if we are tired of each other, or ones who are aghast at the thought of spending 24/7 with their significant other.  If you truly love someone and he/she is your best friend, why is it hard to think about spending this much time together?  We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, so we do as much as we can today.  Be a human DOING, not a human BEING.  We have not spent more than 15-20 minutes apart at a time for 60 consecutive days.   This has been the greatest part about the trip.  Our goal was to spend more time together, and we’ve definitely achieved that goal so far.  Our toughest times are when we talk about what we do after our year long adventure.  We may actually spend time apart!  Say it isn’t so!  It helps that we collaborate so well together.   For example, Sherry is the primary cook while Sean does the dishes… Most of the time.  We do occasionally switch that up, especially when Sean is baking!  This last week he made biscuits, and Sherry made vegan gravy for a nice country breakfast (the secret is using al dente lentils as the “sausage” bits in the gravy).  We cook vegetarian or vegan most of the time, but we have the occasional fish dinner (Sherry makes a killer fish taco with tequila lime sauce!).  Also out of the oven this week were some delicious blueberry scones – mostly vegan (we use real butter – no margarine or fake butter substitutes).   Despite a small galley, we have been able to coordinate cooking and cleaning.  Sherry often has to improvise while chopping vegetables or preparing food items – counter space is sparse in our little home on wheels.

Hi Res-9112-2Hi Res-8711We have also continued to do our photography business as we travel.  The magnetic signs on the truck help pass along the word.  Sean is usually the one behind the camera while Sherry directs people or edits photos.  We just completed engagement photos for a very happy and absolutely adorable couple who got engaged in Whitefish, MT.  We had so much fun with them and being together as we did that shoot.

 

 

When we aren’t out exploring, we have been playing with the dogs, reading, binge watching TV, and enjoying each other’s company.  What is the point of the first few paragraphs?  If you are going to spend a year (or more) in a 37′ RV, make sure the other person is someone you like being around.  😉  Oh, and don’t forget the other ones you love – like two furballs we call Maggie and Bates.

Maggie finding a freshly made bed and the best ray of sun on a chilly morning.

Maggie finding a freshly made bed and the best ray of sun on a chilly morning.

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Bates loves the dog park in Whitefish!

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Bates fetches (sort of) at the dog park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tattoos – One of the bucket list items was to get matching tattoos to commemorate our adventure and life together.  While in MT we found a lovely shop where the owner made us feel very comfortable.  She reminded Sherry of a Shaman she knew in Illinois named Sandy Little Lizard.  She had a very comforting aura.  We knew after an hour talking to her that she would have to be the one that helped us create our little forever piece of body artwork.  Sherry researched a design, and we both discussed the words before we met with the tattoo artist.  The sailboat represents Tadaima, our sailboat where we were married, and the words are from a song we consider ours and that sums up this adventure perfectly…”…and then when we get to the ocean, we’re gonna take a boat to the end of the world…all the way to the end of the world.”  Feel free to let loose a few “Awwww’s” and “How adorable”.

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We have also tried to explore more of the west side of the park while the Going to the Sun road is still closed at Logan Pass.  Several days ago we went into the park to Apgar and ran the bike trail with Bates.  He loved it, but we were saddened to see the signs telling us there was an up to three hour delay just to get to the Pass.  We are still hopeful that the fire will be contained and we will be able to hike the Highline Trail – supposedly one of the best in the park.

Since we couldn’t explore more of Glacier, we decided to look into Hungry Horse Reservoir.  We had seen signs along HWY 2 about the reservoir and dam, but despite staying nearby, we had just overlooked it.  We finally decided it was time to drive back and see what we could see.  One of the main roads, paved, led back to the dam, a 600′ monstrosity holding back a beautiful lake.  The views are incredible and it is only a few miles from where we were staying!  After spending about a half an hour driving, we decided to make a dedicated trip back to the lake.  We had seen some wonderful hiking and swimming areas, and with the weather being so hot and dry, we thought it would be a perfect excursion.

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Not being bird watchers… We think this is a peregrine falcon. Any thoughts?

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The lake wasn’t as cold as others we’d been in but it was very refreshing on a hot day. There were several campers enjoying the water up and down the shore.

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Falcon???

On our return, we drove through the small town of Martin City to see the north end of the lake.  We had noticed several boat ramps and primitive campsites on that side of the lake as well as a few trails.  The road turned to a wide, but rough, dirt road a few miles outside of town.  Traveling along the road, we took the first road to the lake.  That turned out to be a very narrow and even rougher dirt road, but the view at the end was amazing.  We hiked along the lake shore for a mile then sat and enjoyed a quick snack and watched the birds in the area fish.

Sean took several photos of the lake and fishing birds.  He joked that this crazy supermodel kept popping into his shots.  LOL  He was actually frustrated that he hadn’t brought along one of his telephoto lenses to catch the birds fishing.  We saw one dive into the lake, but too far away to see if it caught a fish.

We still have time here in this beautiful part of the country and hope to explore more of the gems hidden here!  We will be heading south soon and have already begun making our plans for stops along the way.  So many of our fellow RV’rs have offered advice and suggestions.  This morning, a neighbor talked to us about several spots in Southern Utah and Arizona.  Since they are along our ‘planned’ course, we will try to add them into our stops.

More later!  Enjoy the last of the summer.

Hidden Lake — Awesome, Inspiring, Gorgeous….

How many of you have been to Glacier?  Any favorite spots you would recommend as must see areas?

One of our hopes for this extended adventure was to be able to spend time in one area and see as many sites as possible.  Sites that most people on a ‘vacation’ wouldn’t get a chance to see.  The last few weeks in Glacier really have us wondering if we will be able to see and do all we want.  The park is the size of several states and is a true hiker’s paradise.  That is, very few roads and a lot of short (6 to longer mile) hikes to get to something ‘big’.  We’ve joked that we love this area so much we may end up living here, at least that would give us a chance to explore to our heart’s content.  We might also be able to keep up with our Blog posts. 🙂

Right now we are quite a bit behind on our posts.  Over the last few weeks we have visited Two Medicine, Lake Mary, several falls, Polebridge, Whitefish…  We have plans to get into the trails around Bowman Lake and definitely Many Glacier, as well as several other spots in the Park.  Forgive us if we run out of adjectives to describe this area.  Beautiful, awe-inspiring, breathtaking, each is appropriate and will surely be overused by us over the next several posts.

Setting Moon over Mt. Oberlin.

Setting Moon over Mt. Oberlin.

Sean has even begun trying to remember some of the positive adjectives used in his favorite TV show, BBC ‘Top Gear’.    We have often found ourselves at the end of a trail just awestruck by what we are seeing.

Sherry's new favorite photo.

Sherry’s new favorite photo.

On our second trip to Logan’s Pass, we decided to leave much earlier in the hopes of finding a spot in the parking lot or at least in the smaller pull off area about a half mile from the west side of the pass.  We entered the park, from the West Entrance near Apgar at about 8:30 AM.  There was already a fairly long line at the check in station and we were concerned about finding a spot.  Regardless, it was a gorgeous day, a little cooler than the last several and relatively cloud free.  For this trip, we planned pretty well and had our backpacks loaded with some hiking snacks, water and a change of clothes, if needed.  We also planned out two trails we wanted to explore.  The first was the Hidden Lake Trail, the other was the High Line.  Our priority was Hidden Lake, with a thought that we could do a little of the High Line depending on time,  Sean was looking forward to getting some great photos of waterfalls and mountain vistas.  He was bringing along two lenses and a tripod to get really steady photos.  Unfortunately, he forgot the tripod and had to stand very, very still for some shots. : )

Our drive up the Going to the Sun Road was gorgeous.  This time around, we decided to skip the turnoffs and try to make good time to the pass.  We found ourselves in a long line of cars weaving up the road. Many bicyclists made the going rather sporadic and a bit scary as we reached the narrowest parts of the road.  Still, a fun and scenic drive up to the pass.  As we got closer, we realized our chances of finding a parking spot in the lot were going to be very slim, so we did use the lower area and spent some time photographing Bighorn Sheep at the trailhead before hiking to the pass.

Big Horn Sheep near the entrance to Logan Pass

Big Horn Sheep near the entrance to Logan Pass

The park rangers at the Visitors Center were very helpful with all the visitors, answering questions and also giving ranger talks on a variety of topics.  One of the things we both have commented on is how helpful all the rangers have been.  On an earlier hike, we had one walk with us for a stretch, talking about the park, places to see and being very personable.  I wish we had gotten her name so we could have passed on a positive comment to her bosses.  Anyway, the visitors center was very crowded and we only took a short time to look around before hitting the a Hidden Lake Trail.

low res-8289The trail starts behind the visitor center and is another very well traveled trail.  In fact, most of the trail, to the lake overlook, is a wooden board walk.

low res-8282From what we gathered, this helped to protect the delicate ecosystem at the pass from tramping feet.  Periodic signs along the trail asking visitors to stay on the path helped reinforce our thought. : ).  The start of the hike we were greeted with tremendous views of ‘Alpine Flowers’, and wildlife from Marmots to Prarie Dogs and Sherry’s other favorite, Mountain Goats!

Marmot under part of the boardwalk.

Marmot under part of the boardwalk.

We first saw several goats standing on a snow field along the side of the Mountain.

Big Horn on the snow field on Mt. Oberlin.

Big Horn on the snow field on Mt. Oberlin.

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This little one started bleating for mommy just a few seconds after we took the photo.

It was amazing to see them walk along the steep rocky face!  It was even more amazing when we rounded a bend to see one munching on some food just a few feet away.  Fortunately, there was a family between where we were standing and the goat.  They were trying to get their children in close for a great photo opportunity.  OK, yes, that was sarcasm. : ).  It was this hike that gave us some great examples for our future ‘snarky’ post about some of our fellow tourists.  But, later for that.  This hike was just too beautiful.

As I said, most of the trail was a boardwalk.  There were several places where we walked over stoney ground and even some snow!  Crazy, snow on the ground in the middle of July!  Beautiful little ponds created from snow runoff, waterfalls and tremendous views.  low res--14

Small waterfall and snow field along the hike to Hidden Lake.

Small waterfall and snow field along the hike to Hidden Lake.

When we arrived at the lake overlook we learned the rest of the trail was closed.   The Grizzlies were feeding near the lake and doing other bear stuff that made it dangerous to hike near them.  So, we stopped at the overlook for some photos of the lake and surrounding mountains.

Hidden Lake

Hidden Lake

It was well worth the hike.  Our hope is that the Bears settle down enough for us to do the complete hike before we have to leave the area.

Gunsight MTN and Sperry Glacier in the distance.

Gunsight MTN and Sperry Glacier in the distance.

After lingering for a while, and eating a light snack, we headed back for the Visitors station.  Along the way, we decided to check out the first mile or two of the High Line Trail.

Another angle on Hidden Lake

Another angle on Hidden Lake

We didn’t go far this trip.  Just far enough to know we needed to come back prepared for a long day on the 6 mile, one way, hike.  Another must do hike for us.

For more photos from this post, go to the following link:

http://www.loveyphotography.com/Traveling-Photography/Hidden-Lake-and-Logan-Pass/

At the Trailhead for the Highline Trail.

At the Trailhead for the Highline Trail.