Monday, July 22, 2013

Townsend, MT

I finally caught up with my WIN friends at Canyon Ferry Lake in Townsend, MT.  They had already been there a few days, but I made sure I made it in time for the Gates of the Mountains ferry ride outside Helena.
It was about a 2 hour trip.  Here we are getting ready to head down the Missouri River.  There are dams along this river today, so it doesn't really look much like it did in 1805 when Lewis and Clark explored this area.

We did see an eagle's nest.

There were even pictographs on the limestone walls which towered over us.

Fifty years ago this was the scene of a horrendous fire which claimed the life of 13 smoke jumpers fighting the Mann Gulch fire.  Even though we learned a lot from the deaths of those fire fighters and have incorporated many of those lessons in present day fire fighting, the fact remains, Mother Nature is in control.  Another 19 smoke jumpers were lost recently in another fire in Arizona.

Marysville is almost a ghost town.  Just a few homes and churches and one business remain.  But once it was a bustling community supporting the Drumlummon Mine, opened in 1883.  

Carolyn is standing in front of what was the Falling Rock Theater.  Once the town boasted of a brewery and 27 saloons, along with churches, mercantile stores, schools, hotels and restaurants, and claimed Helena would one day just be a suberb of Marysville.  But that wasn't to be.  By 1895 the mining company was having financial problems, the town burned in 1910 and in 1925 the railroad cut its line to the town.

The sign said this was a candy store, but it wasn't open.

This seems to be the only business still operating and it didn't open until 4pm.

Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, dedicated 1886, and still functioning.

This looks like it could once have been a church, but is now the Marysville Pioneer Memorial Building.

Once a Methodist-Episcopal Church, built in 1886, it has been privately owned since 1972.  Today it is used only for special occasions, such as reunions, weddings, funerals and such.  

The family are trying to keep it simple, like it was when it was still a church.

This stove looks like it could have been here in 1886.

A few of us took a short, 5 mile, kayaking trip on the Missouri, just outside Townsend.

We thought we were pretty lucky to see this owl in the daytime.  But we should have known the only way we were going to see an owl in the daytime, sitting in the sun, was if he was chained there, like this one.

But this Bald Eagle was real.

A swallows condo.

There's more from the area, but that will be in the next installment.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Yellowstone to Upper/Lower Falls and more

I took another day trip into Yellowstone, but headed towards the east and Upper/Lower Falls, following the shoreline of Yellowstone Lake.  Here again are some of my memories from that drive.
Even along the shore of Yellowstone Lake you see the thermal activity.

Even with signs like this at all thermal areas, you still see stupid people climbing fences and going beyond barriers just to get a closer look.  I guess that's one way to thin out the gene pool.

Signs of the 1997 fire.

LeHardys rapids.  Usually in June and July you can see Salmon swimming upsteam.  I looked and looked, but didn't see any.

Mud Volcano Area and steaming Mud Caldron.

Mud Geyser in the early 1900s erupted every few hours spewing hot mud 50 feet in the air.  Then in 1927 it quit.  But in 1978 a series of earthquakes causing the soil temperatures to rise, killing many trees.  Around 2000 a series of vents opened up, again causing much steam to rise.  Who knows what changes are still to come?
I really liked The Churning Caldron, a large mud lake which was boiling.  Unfortunately I was unable to get a good picture through the steam.

Black Dragon's Caldron came into existence in 1948 when it erupted in 10-20 foot blasts of mud and blowing trees out by their roots.

Dragon's Mouth Spring

Part of the Sulphur Caldron

More of the Sulphur Caldron

Sulphur Caldron is not just one vent or hole, but an area which has boiling sulpher water, steam vents and steaming holes.

I passed several herds of Buffalo.

Below the Lower Falls on the Yellowstone River.

500 steps down, but here I am at the base of the Lower Falls.  The Lower Falls are 309 feet.

The spray of water at the base of the falls creates this beautiful rainbow.

The Upper Falls are only about 100 feet.

The view of the Lower Falls from Artists Point.

This Bull Elk was creating quite a commotion in Canyon Village.

Virginia Cascades

Now these people know how to picnic.  Table and all, they just set up in the meadow.

Artists Paintpot

Beryl Spring

Friday, July 12, 2013

Yellowstone to Old Faithful and on to Firehole Canyon

Grand Tetons were awesome and majestic, but Yellowstone was just unbelievable.  Such a multitude of diverse topography in such a small area was astounding to me.  I know this was beyond anything I had ever seen or experienced before.  Headed from the south entrance of Yellowstone, through  Firehole Canyon, here are some of the most memorable places.
One more item on my bucket list checked off.

Female Elk at Grand Village.

Lewis Falls

Kepler Cascade

While waiting for Old Faithful to blow, another geyser decided to erupt.

But Old Faithful was right on time.  Although they say, the time between eruptions has been slowly lengthing over the past 50 years.

Old Faithful Inn, built in 1904, it is the largest log hotel in the world.

Chinese Spring

Blue Star Pool

Anemone Geyser

Beauty Pool

Chromatic Pool

Grotto Geyser

Morning Glory Pool

Notice the dead trees on the hillside?  They are all located just above Grand Geyser.  I guess it must put out some noxious fumes and heat to kill all those trees.

Midway Geyser Basin has runoff from Excelsior Spring going into the river.

Opal Pool

Mud flat next to Grand Prismatic Spring

This spring was so large and I'm standing on a boardwalk next to it, so I couldn't get a good picture.  Instea

Grand Prismatic Spring, is considered to be the largest and one of the most brilliant of all the hot springs.  The water is 160 degrees, which causes the spring (the size of many small ponds) to have steam above it at all times.

Firehole Springs.  And of course, it erupted just after I took this picture.

Firehole Lake

Firehole Canyon

Firehole Falls
I took close to 400 pictures this day, so this is only a fraction of what I saw.  I guess if you want to see more, you will just have to visit Yellowstone and see it for yourself.