Wildlife

First, our moose’s antlers are growing. Here he is on the 22nd:

Just little nubby antlers

By the 28th, his antlers had started to branch out:

I think they look like antennae here…

Forrest also spotted a bear at the cabin:

I am jealous. I want to see a bear. Especially one this cute.

I also think this deer looks hilarious. He was really unconcerned that we were riding by on the quad:

His ears crack me up.

Yellowstone, Day 2

Our second day in Yellowstone started in the parking lot of Canyon Village. We ate a quick breakfast in the cafeteria and headed for Mt. Washburn. It was a short and sweet 3.1 mile climb to the summit. It was one of those hikes with a perfect grade–we didn’t feel like we were working but still managed to gain 1,400 feet!

Summit of Mt. Washburn (10,241 ft.)

After the hike we headed up the Lamar River Valley towards the Northeast entrance of the park. That was by far the most beautiful part of the park in my opinion–there were just some gorgeous mountain cliffs and the valley got nice and small as we approached the park entrance.

Continue reading “Yellowstone, Day 2”

Yellowstone, Day 1

F and I had planned on going to Yellowstone last September to remedy the fact that I’d never been there…and then he went to North Dakota and I found myself moving our life from Missoula to Silver Valley.

Thursday, after a quick pit stop in Missoula to drop off Sprocket and Forrest’s North Dakota gear, we drove to the park. We camped Cherokee stealth style in the parking lot at Mammoth and I was reminded about how badly I need a new sleeping bag…my summer one just isn’t cutting it on chilly nights.

Sunrise Over Mammoth Hot Springs

We spent the morning seeing the sights between Mammoth and Old Faithful. After watching Old Faithful, we had lunch at Old Faithful Lodge. We were highly disappointed with the quality of food that was served; I guess that’s what we get for contracting out all concessions in our national parks… Continue reading “Yellowstone, Day 1”

Lucky!

The plan Monday was that I would come home and do a second coat of paint in the bedrooms. After I worked an hour and a half of overtime that didn’t sound very good to me so I talked Forrest into taking a quad ride to investigate how high we could get.

The answer to how high, was higher than last week but not high enough (our cabin is JUST over the ridge…). BUT we did spot a doe and her two tiny, tiny fawns. They must have only been a day or two old!

Not my picture but they realy were this tiny!

P.S. Sprocket was awesome! We’ve been trying to teach him to sit when he sees a deer/elk/animal so he won’t scare them away or get hurt. He stopped when the quad stopped, sat when we told him to, and loaded up on the quad so we could pass by without disturbing them too much. Momma Doe was angry enough to see us without Sprocket getting close!

Day 17: Key Largo, Florida to Everglades National Park, Florida

Pulling out of our hospital campspot, we headed down the Keys trying to make it to Key West before the major tourist rush began. The drive was pretty but not quite what I’d expected. Precious waterfront real estate wasn’t about to be wasted on the road except where the islands were so narrow it was absolutely necessary.

In Key West, we put Black Dog on the leash and walked around a bit. We walked around the downtown tourist core, along the water (no beach) looking at the giant cruise ship docked there, and checked out the piers (“Sail at 2, $26 each and puppy can come!”). We chose not to partake in any of the sails to keep our money available for less touristy activities. All in all, I wouldn’t go back but Forrest went back so I could see it!

On our way out, we stopped at Ann’s Beach where we went swimming with Sprocket. He’s getting to be quite a swimmer but I think he feels like the “Responsible Puppy” (his version of responsible person). He gets quite upset if we make wining noises to tease him and swims over to us as fast as he can (which is pretty fast!). He also doesn’t like it when he can’t see both of us at the same time. He’s like a water sheepdog! After our swim, we rinsed off our salty puppy and ourselves and headed out of the Keys.

Driving through Homestead, FL on Day 15 we’d seen lots of restaurants that looked fantastic: El Salvadorian food, Peruvian food, Mexican food, etc. so we drove back that way for dinner. The place we chose to eat at advertised Nicaraguan food but I’m pretty sure what we had was fantastic Mexican food. I had a shrimp dish cooked with onion, garlic, and red pepper…it was amazing! Forrest had chicken quesadillas that he raved about.

We had been hoping to reach the Everglades on May 1st so that the new parks pass we’d have to buy would be good through Memorial Day of 2011, but we were running out of things to do in Florida so we headed for the park anyway to see if we could buy our pass as a May pass or possibly hope the booth wouldn’t be manned at 7PM. F repeatedly told me that it was my responsibility to “sweet talk” the ranger at the booth for a May pass which I fully accepted. Pulling up to the entrance, I politely told the ranger that our pass had expired and we needed to buy a new one but asked nicely if he could punch it for May. He smiled and faux whispered, “I think I can do that.” Forrest was so excited to explain our trip to the ranger that he immediately launched into the story of how we’d driven 4,500 miles to be there before he realized the ranger had already agreed. He says that he didn’t say that and was commenting on how easy it is for girls to get what they want. I laughed.

In the park, we headed for King Palm to do a short hike before it got dark. We hiked the Anhinga Trail. We saw lots of birds, turtles, swamp rats (aka alligators), and heard lots of frogs. I decided it was the noisiest national park I’d ever been to. As we walked out on one of the viewing platforms we spotted a gator swimming from across the pond, in the gator-y silent way it glided under the platform on which we were standing and just hung out there. After our hike, we headed to Lone Pine Key campground, set up camp, and tried to take Sprocket on a walk but were turned back by the mosquitoes.

Excited for a night uninterrupted by traffic sounds or light, we crawled into bed early. Quickly we realized that the mosquitoes were smart enough to fly around our cracked windows and attacked us. We grudgingly rolled up the windows and suffered through the most stifling night ever. Sprocket was rather unhappy and was being attacked by bugs. F and I would wake up and hunt the remaining mosquitoes and toss around hot and unhappy. Finally it was over…phew.

Day 16: Indian Rocks, Florida to Key Largo, Florida

We woke up at the rather leisurely hour of 7:30 and packed up our stuff. Forrest did take the opportunity to watch the morning news before we left the condo for the Lighthouse to get some doughnuts for breakfast. After winding our way though St. Pete to I-275, we cruised to Naples. We picked up some lunch and headed out US 41 to Big Cypress National Preserve. We tried to go on a hike in Collier-Seminole State Park but were driven back by the bugs. We applied bug spray before trying again on the boardwalk at Cypress Bend in Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park.

Passing into Big Cypress National Preserve we were on the lookout for “The Loop Road” for some exploring. It was so awesome! We saw lots of alligators and lizards. The road was considered “impassable” but the woman at the visitors center told us we should be fine as long as we had 4-wheel drive…our front drive shaft is enabling better gas mileage by waiting in Moab. 🙂

Gator Bait

After the adventure of the loop road, in which “Gator Bait” had to stay in the car the whole time, we drove to Homestead, FL where we got some Cuban/Latin food at Marco’s. The food was really good: we had churrasco (thin charbroiled steak) with a really unique sauce and fried yucca (roots that were like unique french fries) and they even had outdoor seating so Sprocket could join us!  Following our delicious dinner we headed for the Keys and are spending the night in Key Largo before heading further southwest tomorrow!