Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dirt + Boys = A Fun Time!

Two weekends ago we piled in the car and went searching for a waterfall we'd read about in some library book. Todd said he "thought" he knew where it was. Well we ended up driving and driving and finding no waterfall. So we ended up stopping at Palisades Reservoir so the boys could play on the beach and get dirt all over themselves! They didn't disappoint!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Going on a garbage hunt!

Ever since Arbor Day when our town had a clean-up day, Deacon has wanted to go on a garbage hunt! I figured I'd better not squash his dreams of bettering his community so I told him we would go on one soon. Today was a beautiful day so I told him after we walked Liston to school we would have our hunt. He was so excited. He told me on the way there that I had to hold his garbage bag so he wouldn't be tempted to pick any up until after we made it to the school. Well, I guess we've got a lot of garbage on our street because Deacon scored big. He stuffed his bag until he couldn't stuff any more.
Here he is so proud of his good work. Then we tossed the garbage and went promptly into the house for a good hand washing!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

More Yellowstone

This post won't be as long as the other. Here are some shots of a grizzly we saw driving in on our way to do the hike. May have to click on it to see it. He had his head down heading away from the road so nothing spectacular.

These are from my way home from my hike. There were about 50 spotting scopes and 100 people all along side the road. So of course you have to go supper slow through the traffic trying to see what they are looking at. Just before I decided I couldn't see anything worth stopping for I noticed something brown in the lake. I assumed a bear so I found a place to park and ran back to all the people. When I got back all I saw was an elk on a little island. I wondered what everyone was doing watching this elk. After a couple minuteslistening to people talk it turned out that 3 wolves had this elk trapped on the island trying to get it. People mentioned it had been going on all day long. I figured just a few hours. It was 5pm when I was there. I talked to someone the next day who was in yellowstone the same day as I was and he had seen the elk on the island at 9am. That poor elk was trapped there all day. With who knows how many people watching waiting to see the wolves attack it. I wasn't sure how I felt about waiting to see something like that plus I still had a long drive home so I shot some pictures and hung out maybe 15 min. I wondered if there was anyway for the elk to escape and having recently watched some discovery channel stuff on wolves figured it was a gonner.

First one you can see the elk in the water with a black wolf on the shore.

Elk on the island with wolf laying on the shore. There were also 2 gray wolves off to the right laying in the grass that I never could get a shot of.

Elk watching the wolf. The wolf sure looks big in these pictures to me.

The other day we were surfing some forums on the net and read a comment about people going to this lake to watch wolves feed on a carcass on an island. Don't know how long the elk lasted. But she had to stand on the island and watch the wolves while they laid along the shore and rested she didn't have much chance.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Black Canyon of theYellowstone

Last weekend my friend Carl and I went on backpack trip in Yellowstone. I'd been wanting to do this trail for awhile since it is one of the first to melt and be accessible in the spring time. Mare wouldn't let me go by myself so luckily I was able to talk Carl into going. He had never backpacked before but the trail description didn't sound to hard so I figured he could handle it. He handled it better than I did. I pulled a groin muscle about 5 miles in hopping across a marsh spring. It was the hardest thing to make it the rest of the 15+ miles to get out. Carl probably thinks I'm just old and couldn't keep up but it really hurt. We ended up going 21 miles all together. Really nice the first day with great river access the second day. It took me all week to finally upload the pictures. Nothing special just some pictures with general descriptions. hope you like them.

Firt sign at the beginning trailhead had us looking for Grizzlys since we were to walk right by the closed trail. Definetaly grizzly area but none to be seen.

First real look at were we were heading. We will drop down to the valley floor then make our way straight ahead to the Hellroaring river then head left. I'm pretty sure that is Hellroaring mountain in the middle.

Another look from the same spot. We will drop down to the valley floor then cross to the left in the picture.

There is a suspension bridge almost a mile into the trail across the yellowstone river. It is in a tight gorge where the water looked really deep.

The trail descriptions I read said the trail went through the wintering grounds of the elk and made it look like a graveyard. The description fit pretty much for antlers. We were a mile in when we saw our first one, we probably ended up seeing more than we could count before we were through.

Just some shots around the Hellroaoring area

First big herd of elk we encountered. Kinda small in the shot but they are on the right with a buffalo on the left.

Some wildflowers were out

More antlers

Ranger told us we wouldn't be able to ford Hellroaring river and would have to use the stock bridge which was a 3 mile detour. We reached the river so soon into our hike we didn't even check out the rossing site figuring it would be a nice scenic detour anyways. At the end of the bridge you can see some antlers in the shadow of the rocks.

Hellroaring river would not have been to dangerous to cross and next time I would't skip it unless the water was freezing of course.

Carl was up ahead and spotted some Grizzly tracks that were hardened in the last rain storm. This is as close as I've been to a Grizzly in 100 miles of hiking backcountry trail in Yellowstone.

Not far from the tracks was the ranger patrol cabin which a couple of guys were staying at working on a cabin right behind this one.

This is looking back at the Hellroaring draingage. This was probably the coolest area of the hike for me since it was so full of wildlife and nice meadows.

When we took a break for a snack we noticed this heard of Elk across the river from us. They were looking in our direction and kept running as a herd all the way out of sight then the next minute they would come back into view as if they didn't know what they wanted to do. There were alot of them in the herd.

After lunch we came up a little rise and there was a buffalo laying right in the middle of the trail. We both thought he was dead. When Carl asked out load if he was dead the buffalo jumped up and looked right at us giving his answer. We gave him a wide bearth and went around. When we were just passed him he turned in a circle and layed back down to sleep like dogs sometimes do.

We saw alot of elk the first day. Not sure if they are in this picture or not but there was a group in the back of this litle valley when we came over the rise. We also were distracted by the elk and took the wrong trail right here we went left around the marsh instead of right and had to retrace our steps. Too many game trails around the real trail.

Elk weren't the only sheds we saw.

More elk sheds

Heading down the trail.

This one is looking back towards the park road up high.

nice photo op

We had an unexpected encounter as we came over a rise in the trail. Carl just yelled to get my camera ready because we were going to get to see something. The fox was trotting up the trail right for us. We both stopped to watch but he just kept coming closer Carl even asked what he was supposed to do for a fox. Carl moved his foot a little making some noise so the fox just veered off around us and then went back on the trail never even slowing down a bit. He was really little just some long skinny legs and a tail.

One more look before we head down to the river floor and camp.

We camped in site 1r2. Wouldn't recommend it. It was probably the least attractive one we went by all day. Best thing about it was it set right on the river but there was no chance of seeing any wildlife except maybe a deer or rabbit. Very dry sagebrush all around, a little bit of a disappointment after the great scenery we hiked in all day and I was hoping we would hear some wolves.
Heading down the dry trail.

Look closely at the tree I knew this was along the trail somewhere from reports I'd read. But after all the sheds we had seen I still walked a couple steps pass the tree before I realized what I was seeing. The antler caused the tree to split in two.

We followed some fresh wolf tracks for awhile.

Just some proof I was there.

This is looking back up the canyon we hiked through.

Just some river scenery. This was a little alcove below an avalanche shoot with some solid ice in it.

I was ready to be done by this point. Looking ahead we still have to go around the dry hill in the distance:)

Carl is in the middle of this shot ahead of me since I'm limping along. You can see a retaining wall holding up the trail on the left. Would be really interesting going through this stretch during a thunderstorm.

Almost the last corner.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Baby Steps!!!

Coleman started taking a few steps yesterday and I figured he'd probably be walking soon. Well, make that TODAY! He's been walking all over the place today! I think the boy has been holding out on me!! I'll try to get a pic of him in action soon!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Here are some pics of Liston in action at Judo class.

It looks a lot like wrestling

Here is Liston right before he takes him down, in wrestling it would be called a double leg take down I'm sure Judo has some wierd Japan name for it that I don't remember.

Liston received a promotion on Monday. Went from an orange/white belt to a blue/white belt.

Liston was proud of his promotion.
His parents are proud of him too.