Floating down the Snake River

It took three cars!

After hiking we decided to take a kayak float down the Snake River.  Jane and Ron each had their own kayak and John and I were going in John’s kayak.  We were all getting in a the Dam at Jackson Lake.  The plan was for John and I to float down to Pacific Creek and get out there.  Jane and Ron who are more experienced kayakers would then continue on down to Deadman’s and exit the river there.

That’s where the confusion starts.  Jane and Ron drove their car with their kayaks down to the dam where they unloaded them.  Ron stayed there to watch the kayaks.  John and I both drove our cars to Dead Man’s.  Then Jane drove from the dam to Dead Man’s where she left her car.  She hopped in John’s car and I followed him to Pacific Creek where I left my car.  Then off in John’s car to the dam where we started our float.

Here we are at the dam.

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All these pics were taken by Jane as she has a waterproof camera.  I didn’t want to take the chance of ruining mine.  I guess a waterproof camera is on my wish list when I get to Amazon this winter.

You hardly have to paddle at all since the current carries you downstream.  You don’t even realize how fast you are going until you look at the bank.  Very cool!

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Spotted a bald eagle!

We were really fortunate to spot a bald eagle.  It caught a fish and took it back to it’s nest just next to the river.  Then it proceeded to feed it’s young.  We couldn’t see the babies but we could tell it was feeding them.  That was really an amazing experience.

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This is a pic of John and I watching the bald eagle in it’s nest.

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Ron brought his fishing pole with him and did some fishing while floating downstream.  He did catch a small fish but threw it back in.

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We estimated we floated about 5 miles and then got out at Pacific Creek.  What a great time we had.  Jane and Ron floated further down to Dead Man’s which took another 2 hours.  It was a perfect day to float down this beautiful river.

On the way back to the campground we took the inner road through Grand Teton NP.  It had spectacular views of the mountains.

 

Hiking to Inspiration Point

Took the ferry across Jenny Lake

Jane suggested we hike up to Inspiration Point, so Jane, Linda, Tony and myself left early to head on over to Jenny Lake.  We hopped on the ferry there which took us to the trailhead.  It is a steep trail for the first .7 of a mile as it has an elevation gain of 417 feet.

We saw this waterfall going up the trail.

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We stopped for a break before hitting the top where I took this pic of my hiking companions Jane, Linda and Tony.

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No wildlife but lots of beautiful scenery

This next pic shows the trail we have come up thus far.  However we are still not at Inspiration Point.

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In this next pic you can see the ferry landing at the boat dock.  We will end the trail at the same boat dock to go back across the lake.

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Now we are on the Cascade Canyon trail that leads way back into a canyon between the beautiful mountains.

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This is a pic of the trail.  It was mostly flat and not difficult at this point.

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We ran across a large pond and were hopping to see some moose drinking.  There were a lot of people on the trail at different times and it must have scared all the wildlife away.  Luckily we did not come upon a bear, but we were all equipped with bear spray just in case.

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Jane and Tony are much faster hikers so they decided to go ahead down the trail while Linda and I set our own pace.  We did run into several hikers with large backpacks that had spent the night way up on the mountain.  We could see many different waterfalls all along the trail.

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There were also several pics of the creek that we followed.

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This was a great experience.  Of course we had to hike back and down the same elevation gain that we came up.  It was almost more difficult climbing done then it was going up as there were many people making the climb up.  We then got on the ferry for the ride back across Jenny Lake.  Then Linda and I went to Dornans at Moose Junction for a much needed pitcher of water and a pizza and sandwich.  It turned out to be a great day.  We hiked 8.6 miles over hill and dale (HA!) and saw some great scenery.  Not too shabby for an old fart like me.

 

 

Pawdicure on the way to Gros Ventre, WY

Chica’s Pawdicure

After leaving Riverside campground we headed to Idaho Falls, ID for a couple of things.  I had to stop in Walmart to pick up a prescription and supplies and Chica needed a pawdicure.  She last had her nails trimmed in Mesa, AZ shortly after we found each other.

They were getting too long so we headed to a Petsmart where you didn’t need an appointment.  I also mentioned in my last post that she was going to get her teeth cleaned.  That was wrong.  She was only going to get a breath freshener.  Here she is waiting to get her nails down.

Am I next Dad?

Am I next Dad?

It took quite a while and two people to complete the job.  I don’t think she was too happy at the time.

I thought this was a pawdicure not a two-on-one wrestling match

I thought this was a pawdicure not a two-on-one wrestling match

On to Gros Ventre

After the pawdicure and the stop at Walmart we made the drive to Gros Ventre campgrounds.  It is northeast of Jackson, WY.  I figured I may be able to fill up with propane there.  No way Jose!  Jackson was slammed with lots of traffic, both cars and campers.  I decided to head on out to the campground as I had enough propane to last me a few days.

John and Linda had talked to the camp hosts and they were reserving a spot right next to them.  The cost of camping here is $21 per night, but only $10.50 with the geezer card.  This is a bit more then I have been paying, but they have the beautiful mountains and lots to do as well.  It is really a great bargain.

The next day John and I drove into town to fill up my 5 gal. tank with propane.  On the way we saw this herd of bison crossing the road.  They had been down to the river and were no heading up to graze.  Needless to say it stopped traffic.

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Kayaking on the Snake River

The following day seven of us decided to go kayaking.  It was a long drive to where we started and we had several cars.  It was really great fun even though I started off facing the wrong way in my kayak.  DUH!!

This is where we put into the water.

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John and Linda with all the inflatable kayaks blown up and ready to go.

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This is John and Linda on the water.

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It was a great time and it gave me a chance to practice my kayaking skills. ???

Farmer’s Market in Jackson

The next day was spent checking out the fabulous farmer’s market in Jackson.  John and Linda drove me around Jackson and we walked around the downtown area.  The farmer’s market was held in a park downtown.

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The entrance to the park was made entirely of antlers.  How cool!

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Let’s Party!!

On Friday everyone got together for a party with lots of great food and conversation.  We invited the camp hosts in our campground as well as Shannon, who is another camp host at Jenny Lake.  She and I worked together at Amazon last winter and saw each other at Apache Junction last spring while she was camped there.  It was really good to see her again and we had a lot of catching up to do.

After dinner, we all sat around the campfire and Ally roasted marshmallows and made us all Samores.   It was a great time.  I also saw Tony who I had also worked with at Amazon.

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I plan to stay at Gros Ventre until after Labor Day.  There is lots of great things to do here and terrific friends to do them with.

 

Glacier National Park (continued)

Moved to a new site

I had to change sites from Loop A to Loop B as A sites were all reserved for the next few days.  I decided to stay an additional 2 days to get to see more of Glacier’s beauty.  I had to wait until the people in the site I had reserved had left before I could move over there.  I then drove the car over and walked back to the rig, then drove the rig over and got all settled in.

Later on I drove over to the Discovery Cabin across from the Apgar Visitors Center just inside the West Glacier entrance.  It was a small cabin that contained a lot of interesting items.  They had many of the skulls of different animals within the park.  I found this display showing a variety of antlers of many animals.

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They also had a full coat of both the black bear and the grizzly bear to show you the difference between the two.  You could see the claws up close.  What a difference!  The grizzly claws were huge compared to the black bear.  I sure would not want to run into one of those guys.

I also heard a very educational talk on Glaciers by the ranger outside of the Discovery Cabin.  What I found very interesting was that there were 150 glaciers when Glacier became a national park back in 1910.  Today there are only 26 glaciers in the park and the ranger said that in 7 years there would be 0 glaciers.  Whether you believe in “Global Warming” or not it is hard to justify what is occurring in Glacier National Park.

Lake MacDonald Lodge and Falls

The next day I traveled to the other end of Lake MacDonald to the Lake MacDonald Lodge.  It was really a beautiful setting.

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The lobby was fantastically beautiful.

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This was taken standing on the pier in front of the lodge.

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Then I traveled further to the Lake MacDonald Falls.  What a mass of rushing water.

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Avalanche Creek Campground

Then my adventure took me to the Avalanche Creek Campground.  This was the end of the trail as the park was closed off at this point until they get the snow plowed.  The campground was closed for camping but actually became a big parking lot for all the hikers.

This picture does not really do this justice as it looks much more fantastic in person.  It is just up the road from Avalanche Creek Campground.

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Trail of the Cedars

Then I took the “Trail of the Cedars” hike.  It was a short hike (.8 mile), but takes you through a very deep cedar forest.  It is really beautiful.

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On my return trip to my campsite I took these pics of Lake MacDonald.

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It was a great day visiting just a few of the attractions of Glacier National Park.  The ranger in the Discovery Cabin told me that I should return after July 1 when all the roads are open.  She suggested the Logan Pass Trolley that takes you to many scenic spots.  You can also get off for pics and hiking and get on the next trolley.  I am not sure I will be in the area at that time, but for those of you who mentioned they were coming to the park around that time, I would highly recommend it.

No to slow Internet

It has taken me a while to upload this post.  I am in a spot where there is no Internet so I went into the town and my Millenicom WiFi was extremely slow.  So I am now in a McDonald’s using their fast WiFi.  I will be posting more in a couple of days regarding my present location.

Glacier National Park

Border Crossing

We crossed the border at a little town called Coutts, AB.  It went without a hitch as John and Linda went first and paved the way for the rest of us.  Just the usual “Do you have any fruits and vegetables?” question and I was back in the good ole USA.   Here is a pic of me crossing the border taken by Linda of adventureswithsadie blog fame.

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As much as I enjoyed this trip throughout Alberta, I am really glad to see the prices go down for gas ($3.65 vs about $4.62 per gallon) and wine ($9.99 vs $5.90 for a bottle of Yellow Tail).

The day started out beautiful but as soon as we got across the border it started to rain.  It was a huge downpour and it was difficult to even see the road for a while it was coming down so hard.  It then turned to a light rain which followed us almost into West Glacier NP.

Fish Creek Campground

I had made reservations online prior to the start of the trip for 2 days at the Fish Creek Campground.  We were all camped in Loop A for our final get together.  Everyone in the group had made reservations for 2 nights.  This is a couple of pics of Lake McDonald from the Visitor’s Center boat dock.

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Fish Creek is located on Lake McDonald on the west side of Glacier NP.  It was a beautiful setting among the trees.  I got settled in and took Chica for a walk.  We hadn’t gone 100 feet, when a large deer crossed the road in front of us.  At first both the deer and Chica stopped and just stared at each other.  Then as the deer started across the road Chica began getting braver and started to bark.  It was very funny.  Sorry but I didn’t have my camera at the time, but this is the same deer I saw later looking for food inside the campground.  It is between the two tall trees just right of center.

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I Brake for Bears too!

The  next morning I decided to take a drive north of our campground.  About 10 miles up the road I saw a bunch of cars stopped on the road.  Up here that only means one thing.  There must be something for a photo opportunity.  I stopped also and sure enough there was a black bear (only it was colored brown) foraging the area at the side of the road for food (probably berries).

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I didn’t want to get too close to this guy.  I may have come within a foot of a rattlesnake but did not want to get within a foot of this guy.

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Happy 75th Birthday

That night we all met for a 75th birthday party.  Randy found out he was not the only one celebrating this milestone birthday.  After checking with all the others in our group, he found out that there were 6 of us who have or would be celebrating their 75th birthday shortly.  So he and Suzanne bought a cake and we all celebrated with them.

Here is Randy emceeing the party.

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And the delicious cake!

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Here are the 75’ers.  Age means nothing to any of them as they were all very active.  From left to right standing, Linda, Al, Randy and Suzanne.  Sitting is Dian and Pete.  Happy 75th guys!  I hope I too will be as active at that age as you are.

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Our last night together

We had fun getting together for the celebration since it was our last night together.  We took a group picture of those camping at Fish Creek.  However it is missing John and Linda, Coy and Cynthia, as well as Tony and Michelle who departed earlier.

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Standing from left to right: Linda, Carole, yours truly, Suzanne, Al, Anna, Randy, Nikki, Steve, Pam and John.  Sitting and kneeling: Dian, Pete and Zoe.

Pete from the Lazy Daze Northwest group was the wagon master for this wonderful trip.  I only knew a few people prior to starting this adventure, but got to know everyone before it ended,  I had a fabulous time and it is an adventure I will never forget.  I had never been in Alberta before but certainly enjoyed all it’s beauty and the congeniality of it’s people.

Many thanks to Pete for organizing such a wonderful trip and to John and Linda who suggested it to me back in January at Quartzsite.  Plus to all the wonderful people who went on this trip who I can now call my friends.  I know we will all meet up at other times throughout our adventures.

Taos Sightseeing

Taos Pueblo

I awoke to dark skies and the threat of rain.  However the sun would break through now and then so since I was leaving tomorrow I thought it best to get out and see what I could.

My first stop was the Taos Pueblo north of town.  It is considered to be the oldest continually inhabited community in the US. Some of the structures are over 1000 years old, but they are re-plastered with adobe annually because of exposure to the climate.    There were spots in the pueblo where you were not allowed.  This is the Hlaauma or North House that is 1000 years old.

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There were many small shops located here and there where you could purchase Indian jewelry, blankets, artwork as well as bread and cookies.  This is a few pics of the San Geronimo Church built in 1850 and is now  a Registered National Historic Landmark.

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They offered a free walking tour of the Pueblo which started at 1:00, but it started to rain so decided against it.

Kit Carson Home and Museum

I drove from the Taos Pueblo to the Kit Carson home and Museum.  He lived in the home with his wife and children for over 25 years.  Admission price for seniors was only $4 and it was well worth it.  They gave a talk on how Kit Carson had settled in Taos and then there was a 20 minute video that was very interesting.  His home was rather small with only four rooms.  The shotgun (top rifle) in this next pic was one he was known to use.

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This room was the family bedroom.  All the rooms had fireplaces in them to keep the place warm during the winter.

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This is the kitchen.

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This last room was the parlor and possibly used by overnight guests.

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I really enjoyed the home and museum with all the many pictures of Kit Carson and his family.

Lots of shops and galleries

Once you are in the downtown area you can wander all over and visit the many shops and art galleries as well as really nice restaurants and coffee shops.  This shop had all kinds of western boots on display.

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I saw this wooden Indian standing outside another shop.

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Some of the shops had beautiful murals on their walls.

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Springtime was also showing up in many places.

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Started pouring rain…

The weather took a turn for the worse and the rain started coming down in buckets.  I ducked into a coffee shop and took a break until the rain stopped.

Here are some other fascinating pics I got from several spots in town.

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I have really enjoyed my stay here and would highly recommend it to others.  There is lots to see and many more things to do.

Met up with old friends…

Bruce and Jan from J and B and Lady Blue fame wrote me an email and mentioned they might be coming to Taos from Chama, NM.  They showed up late Sunday and we got together for wine and cookies this past evening.  I first met them in Quartzsite this past January.  It sure was fun seeing them again and talking about what we had been doing since we departed Quartzsite.

They have just started blogging about their travels so I hope you can hop over there to check them out.

Weather conditions improving (I hope)…

I have been closely watching the weather since there are so many storms in the area.  It is supposed to be clear tomorrow so I will be leaving Taos and heading into Colorado to the Great Sand Dunes National Monument.  It will be a short drive of only 124 miles so I should get there rather quickly.  I plan on spending a few days there checking out the sand dunes.

Visiting the Gila Cliff Dwellings

Guard the rig Chica!

I left Chica in charge of guarding the rig while I made a visit to the Gila Cliff Dwellings.  It is only 26 miles from our campsite, but it was all mountain driving.  I stopped along the way at an overlook and took the following pics.  The area is really beautiful.

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I stopped at the Visitor’s Center before heading up to the cave dwellings.  I always like to get the history of the area first and see the many displays they have.  They had a show film on the history which is a must see.  The Visitor Center is rather small but very nice.  I took a couple of pics of their displays.

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Then off to see the cave dwellings.

The Gila Cave Dwellings were free to those like me that have the Geezer card (America The Beautiful Senior Pass).  That card sure has saved me a lot of money!

You cross a bridge over the Gila River and head up a canyon that leads to the caves.  You will cross many of these small bridges as you continue to go up in elevation.  Then you reach a rather steep spot, but it is still easy going and then you reach the caves.

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DSC_0576There is an easy path to follow from cave to cave.  Some of the smaller caves were probably used by a family.  There are also rangers at the caves that can answer any questions you might have.

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There are also steps you must climb and ladders to descend to move from cave to cave.

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It is really interesting to see the many rooms the Mongollon Indians who inhabited these caves built.  The rangers pointed out many of the rooms used for storage and living.

This is the view looking out to the other side of the canyon from a couple of caves.

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The entire tour of the cave is about a mile.  It wasn’t difficult at all except for carrying the camera.  There were only a few people on the tour so I pretty much had the place to myself.

Beautiful Mountains…

I stopped at this place on my return and took a couple more pics of the mountains.  I bet it would really be neat to travel through these mountains on a horse.  I did see several corrals while traveling through here.

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Chica did a good job.

Chica was really glad to see me.  I think she mostly sleeps while I am gone, but who knows.  She was a very happy girl.  We went for a walk and I told her all about the cave dwellings, but all she wanted to know was where was her dinner.

Camped at Walmart in Silver City

I am camped for the night in the Walmart parking lot in Silver City, NM.  I was thinking of traveling the 130+ miles to Rockhound State Park, but we had already traveled down the mountain which took over an hour of very winding roads.  That plus the wind was really blowing so we decided to hunker down in Silver City instead.

Early start tomorrow…

I hope to get an early for me (HA!) start tomorrow and head south.  I just hope there isn’t too much wind.