Monday, July 22, 2013

7/22/13 Monday - Jackson WY to Promotory, UT

Today we left the area which makes up the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem - Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and the six surrounding National Forests.  We had a lovely drive south out of Jackson and along the Snake River where we rafted yesterday.  We went through ranching and farming areas, and made a short stop in Afton, known for the longest elk antler arch in the world.  If you park by the arch, go 2 places - the chocolate shop with hand made ice cream, and the excellent used bookstore on the corner. From there we continued through the mountains, across the edge of Idaho, alongside Bear Lake, into Utah and down through the Logan Pass.
World's Longest Elk Antler Arch - Afton, WY

Long, lonely entrance road to Golden Spike.

We continued west to Promotory, UT, home of Golden Spike National Historic Site.  In 1869, this is where the Transcontinental Railroad united. A golden spike was driven in to signify it's completion. It was in the ground for roughly 5 minutes before being removed. It is now in Stanford University, because it was railroad tycoon Leland Stanford's railroad.

The reconstructed steam engines, No. 119 and Jupiter, were there. We were able to watch the No. 119 steam away. The boys worked on Junior Ranger badges.
Following Golden Spike, we drove through Salt Lake City to the southern suburb of Sandy, where we're spending the night. We're winding down now, with much of tomorrow being spent on the same roads as the way here.
Bret & Reed at the site of the original Golden Spike.

We think this is the 46th badges they've earned; we'll have to count when we get home.

7/21/13 Sunday - Jackson WY - Snake River Whitewater

We left our cozy log cabin and drove down to the Grand Teton Lodge so Bryn could take pictures of the baskets on display there. Then we had an easy drive through the park, with the magnificent mountains in view the whole time.  As we were driving, we were talking about meeting our friends later. Then Bret spotted them having a picnic. They spotted us too, they were waving while we turned the car around. While we were visiting, Bret spotted a coyote in the meadow across the road. Good spotting for Bret!
We went on to see the Moose Visitor Center, then drove to Jackson. We found out where we were meeting in the afternoon, had some lunch, then found our hotel. They weren't ready for us, so we drove over to look at the Snow King Ski Resort. It seemed small. Later we found out that skiing at Jackson Hole is actually on the other side of the mountain, near Teton Village.
At 4:00 we met at Sands Whitewater Rafting and had a Class 2 - 3 trip down the Snake River with Scooter our guide. Lots of fun! Reed, Leo and Bret took turns standing on the bow of the boat and we tried to get them to fall by spinning the boat. All three fell inwards into the raft.  But when Bret fell, he and Reed tumbled right into the water!
Bret, Leo and Reed waiting for the whitewater bus.

Snake River - we put in south of Jackson and had 8 miles of rafing in 2 hours.
We had a nice ride together on the bus back to town, then we parted ways. It was great spending time with friends in such a gorgeous place!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

7/20/13 Through Yellowstone to Grand Teton

We needed to go back through Yellowstone, so the boys decided what Mom should see. We did a digested version of the boys' Yellowstone week in a day. We tried to get into the Grand Geyser but were too late in coming, so instead we headed up to Hayden Valley to see where all of the wildlife sightings took place. We had a picnic, then went down to Bridge Bay to show Mom the campsite #154. Next we took her to the marina and the little shop to get huckleberry ice cream sandwiches. Yum. We drove around past the Old Faithful area and went up to see the Fire Hole River and falls, very pretty. We saw bison and an elk on the drive. Then we doubled back to Grant Village and showed Mom our campsite, and had some huckleberry ice cream cones. We also bought Yellowstone stickers to put on the car.

Then we headed south to Grant Teton National Park, and went in to the cabin area at Colter Bay. We have a cute little 2-room cabin, 4 double beds so everyone gets to stretch out tonight. We went to the Colter Bay Visitor Center. Most of the museum has been sent to Tucson for conservation, so there's a very limited exhibit there now. We watched a nice video, then went to the Jackson Lake Lodge for dinner. The restaurant had huge windows with a grand vista of the Tetons – gorgeous. After dinner, we went to the Oxbow Lake area to look for wildlife. No moose, but a herd of elk. Also a herd of mosquitoes. Bryn got away with only 5 bites through the repellent. Randy, with no repellent, got 9 bites on just one leg; he didn't count them all. Ouch. Good thing we had some anti-itch cream.
We got back to the cabin and everyone looked forward to a good night's sleep. 

7/19/13 end of residency - out of Yellowstone - Wapiti Reunion

Boys in Yellowstone: We got up, packed up, went to some gift shops to look for birthday presents.
We had a picnic at a lake (not Yellowstone Lake, after Eleanor Lake). Then we drove out out to Wapiti and checked into the Yellowstone Valley Inn. We took showers, Bret went for a swim. 

 Bryn in Cody:  We gathered baskets from the Whitney Art Museum and the Sharp Cabin to use in my presentation. I was able to do a dry run with the editor of Points West, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West's magazine. That really helped calm my nerves.  I gave a lunch presentation to a full house, with lots of interesting questions and comments. Later we put the baskets back and I said good-bye to the storage areas and co-workers for the week. The time here just sped by, there are almost 300 baskets left untouched. Hopefully a project for another time....
 Then we went to Ann Marie's to take care of the animals, water the lawn, and pack up all of my stuff. 
Next we drove west to Wapiti.
Together again: Mom and Ann Marie made it to the Inn at about 5:30 and we all had dinner at the cozy family restaurant at the Inn. It was nice to be back together again! Reed had a buffalo burger, Randy, Bryn & Ann Marie tried elk, and Bret went with ham & cheese. We did 3 loads of laundry in the evening while we traded stories of how we spent the week. Plus Bryn got a Birthday in a Bag surprise! Lots of Yellowstone specialties, like huckleberry chocolate and taffy, and yellow moose shirt in a Yellowstone bag. Plus a lovely Eastern Shoshone beaded necklace found back on the Wind River Rez. It was a fun evening.

7/18/13 Thursday - Grand Geyser and Plains Indian Museum Baskets

Boys in Yellowstone: We saw Old Faithful go off twice on the Geyser Basin walk. We saw the Grand Geyser, it was most impressive. It's the highest one, and the largest predictable geyser in the world, which is pretty cool. If you have the chance to go to Yellowstone, be sure to visit it, as it's much better than Old Faithful. Reed took a video. [photos to be posted after we get home]
After dinner, we went wolf hunting in Hayden Valley. We saw 3 herds of bison, 2 herds of elk, a coyote, a wolf, and a grizzly bear. Score!!! Photo:  Reed & Bret in Hayden Valley.
Bryn in Cody: We spent most of today analyzing and cataloging baskets in the storage area of the Plains Indian Museum. Found some really nice ones previously identified as "woven."  I spent most of the evening finishing the slides for my presentation and writing an outline.

7/17/13 Wednesday - Happy Birthday

Boys in Yellowstone: Woke up in Bridge Bay campground. We drove up to Norris and Mammoth areas. We went through Mammoth Drive and into the village and drove around, we looked to see if we could find the Morinaga family. We didn't see them. We wanted to go on the walk but couldn't because there was no parking, so we went to Norris Basin and had lunch. At Norris, we went on the walk and saw the Steamboat Geyser and heard a ranger talk there. When we got back to the van, we found a note from the Morinagas on our car. They had finished Norris and were going to Mammoth, opposite of us, so we missed them. Then we went back to camp and called Mom – Happy Birthday!

Camped in Grant Village site #36. It was very nice with a pull-in spot and not too far to the bathroom or to the dishwashing station.  Really cold overnight, 42 degrees. Brrr.
Bryn in Cody: on the way into work we stopped to pick up doughnuts to share at break time. We finished up with the Remington baskets. We also looked at the 5 baskets in the Buffalo Bill Collection, things went really well today.  After work, we got pizza and shared it with Josie, one of the summer interns who is also staying at Ann Marie's.  Along with watermelon and chocolate lava cake, it was a perfect birthday dinner!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

7/16/13 - Fellowship/Yellowstone Day 2

Bryn worked with more baskets today, including those in the Frederic Remington Studio gallery exhibit. I did library research in the afternoon. Just as I was finishing, someone knocked on the window and waved. It was scout friends Genoveva, Paul, Sean and Michael. They had finished their time in Yellowstone, and stopped to see the museum. Seeing them was a wonderful surprise.  We had some sprinkles after work, and Ann Marie bbq'd buffalo burgers.
Photo: Getting the Chumash baskets off of the wall in the exhibit.

The Yellowstone Report:
We went to West Yellowstone and drove to the grizzly bear and wolf sanctuary. We saw elk and bison while driving, nothing much more to be seen. The sanctuary was pretty cool, we saw 9 different grizzlies, 7 wolves in 2 packs, 3 bald eagles, 1 great horned owls, and 2 golden eagles. They had quite a bit of stuff, we found a lot more than wolves and were quite pleased by it. We ate in a restaurant there, and drove back through Firehole Lake Drive and Firehole Canyon Drive, then back to Fishing Bridge for the scenic cruise at 4:15 on Yellowstone Lake. We learned all sorts of interesting facts, also learned about the invasive species Lake Trout and how you have to kill them and leave them in the water to decompose. We learned about the moose being good swimmers, they can swim to the island and also dive 27 feet down. The boat was the Lake Queen 2 and it left from Fishing Bridge. Then we went to Hayden Valley to call Mom. Bret made really good spaghetti for dinner.

Monday, July 15, 2013

7/15/13 - The Fellow is in Residence; The Fellows are in the Park

Joseph Henry Sharp's cabin at the Buffalo Bill Center of theWest.
I'm holding an Apache basket. There were about 15 baskets in Sharp's cabin.
Bay Bridge Campsite
The boys slept in as Bryn finished packing up and Randy patiently waited.  Randy dropped Bryn off at the museum about 9 a.m., where she met Ann Marie and jumped right in to assessing the baskets.  We started in the cabin of artist Joseph Henry Sharp, a lovely place in a garden courtyard.  We had a yummy lunch in town, then finished the Sharp baskets, finished the Koerner baskets, and started the Remington baskets before the end of the day.  I met a couple of the other curators, the librarian, and others that I'll work with this week.  Ann Marie kept us on schedule, we finished a lot. We had dinner at Ann Marie's house along with Josie, an intern who is staying for the summer. I was settled into the downstairs bedroom, then successfully downloaded photos, worked on my powerpoint, and wrote this blog. Randy's training classes the last few days certainly paid off!

Boys in Yellowstone: We spent a long time looking for wildlife but didn't really see any until we got far into the park, then we saw lots of bison, elk, deer, and a yellow-bellied marmot. We went to our campsite at Bridge Bay and set up camp, it was a good amount of work. We went tot he West Thumb Geyser Basin and saw several pools and paint pots, but no big geysers. We saw the Abyss Pool which is 55' deep. Then we went to the marina to check it out and hoped to rent a canoe, but they didn't have them. We found the scenic cruise and booked it. We got delicious huckleberry ice cream sandwiches in the little shop for only 99 cents each. We drove to Grant Village to get cell coverage to call Mom. Dinner was hot dogs and pork & beans.
9:30 Ranger talk on “The Wilderness of Wolves,” we learned how the wolves were reintroduced and how they're living there now, very interesting things.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

7/14/13 Sunday - Cody and Buffalo Bill

We started the day by visiting St. Anthony of Padua church for 9 a.m. Mass.  Then off to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West for a short look-around. Reed said "I liked looking at the Remington Studio, because that was the greatest part, and I'm totally not being sarcastic."
Bret said, "I liked the gun exhibit, especially the Smithsonian exhibit, and also the experimental guns that were not made, and Henry VIII's hunting rifle that was 6 feet long."   Randy and Bryn looked at the Whitney Art Museum, and also went through some of the books looking for baskets in artworks. We found a few!
We picked up lunch and went to Ann Marie's house for a quick visit.Then the boys went shopping for camping food, Bryn did laundry, later some swimming and re-packing. Tomorrow we split up.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

7/13/13 Saturday - Worland to Cody

We had a slow morning in Worland. Bryn was working with the computer more, making sure she could do all of the photo downloads and power point that she will need to do on her own this week. When we finally got going, we found that the main street through town was a happening place. There was a Farmers' Market plus a parade for  the 100th anniversary of the founding of Washakie County. Lots of little floats, lots of candy and other items being thrown, plus Miss Wyoming.
Then a quick visit to the local library's booksale. We have to support libraries!  After these distractions, we finally got to the Washakie Museum where we saw great geological, paleontological, and archaeological exhibits, plus some fine Native American art.
The A&W Root Beer was a great lunch stop, then we left Worland. We had a great drive through the Painted Desert, a surprise at the south edge of the Big Horn Basin.  Then into the mountains and up to Cody.

Friday, July 12, 2013

7/12/13 Friday - more WY museums (life is good!)

After checking out of Lander, we headed to St. Stephan's Mission in the southeast corner of the Wind River Reservation. Wind River is home to the Eastern Shoshone in the west, and the Arapaho in the east.  St. Stephan's serves the Northern Arapaho section and is home to a small Heritage Museum.

 The Mission church is highly decorated with paintings, a drum as an altar, stained glass windows that look like parfleches, and other Native American artworks. Beautiful and bright.

Painted ceiling and altar inside the mission church
After the mission, we drove to Riverton. The boys really enjoyed seeing all of the taxidermied animals in the Wind River Heritage Museum. There were also figures from a wax museum depicted characters from the west, like Chief Washakie, Brigham Young, and Charles M. Russell.
Next we had a gorgeous drive north through the Wind River Canyon to Thermopolis, the home of hot springs and also the Wyoming Dinosaur Center.  Bret had a great time reading every label. He especially liked the Archeopteryx - known as "The Thermopolis Specimen," this is the most complete and best preserved in the world, and is the only one in America.
Afterwards we drove to Worland to spend the night. All the inns were full in Thermopolis, there is a motorcycle rally here this weekend.

The Thermopolis Specimen - Archeopteryx

Thursday, July 11, 2013

7/11/13 Thurs - Wind River Reservation

The Wind River Reservation is just north of Lander. Today we went in and visited the Eastern Shoshone Cultural Center. We had a nice chat with one of the staff, she was at the dance last night and her son had been the master of ceremonies.  She gave us a map of the reservation, and we set out to visit the cemetery where Sacagawea was buried.
We also saw Chief Washakie's grave, and the bronze statue of him, duplicate of the one in the Rotunda at the Capital Building in Washington, D.C.   We saw a few more sites noted on the map, had a nice stop at the Wind River Trading Company, and then enjoyed lunch at the casino's restaurant.  Randy and Bryn had Indian tacos on incredible tasting frybread. Reed tried something new to us - Indian nachos.  These are like tacos but nacho cheese is used on top of seasoned waffle fries.   Even though that was lunch, it turned into dinner too.  It was so filling that we just ate a snack of apples and cheese seven hours later!


After our big lunch, the boys headed back for a rest and Bryn went to the Fremont County Pioneer Museum. It started in a log cabin in 1902, and in 2006 moved to its modern building. Very nice exhibits, but I didn't like the labels that said "basket" and "berry basket."  So I had a nice chat with staff and gave them info to update their catalogs.
When Bryn returned to the hotel, the boys went off swimming and Randy gave Bryn a tutorial on how to download the camera into the laptop. Then we went to the Grand Cinema downtown to see the only movie playing for miles around - The Lone Ranger.  It was interesting as there were definitely both cowboys and Indians in the audience.  My opinion?  Too violent, too bloody, the setting is all mixed up (Texas with Monument Valley, AZ and Promotory, UT) , the plot leaves a lot to be desired, and Johnny Depp plays Captain Jack Sparrow as an oddly dressed Native American with a crow on his head.  Reed and Bret thought it was exciting, and they politely listened to their mom tell them what was wrong with the movie.

7/10/13 Wed - fossils and dancers

In the morning we went west out of Kemmerer towards Fossil Butte National Monument. But before we could go learn about and see fossils, we had an appointment with Charlie Nunn at the Blue Moon Quarry. Charlie gave us tools and a quick lesson, then let us work his quarry for 2 hours.  Fish fossils are abundant and we were able to keep what we found, but if we happened to discover something amazing (like a turtle or mammal), we would have had to give it up.  As it was, we all found fish, and Bryn found a leaf.  It was sunny on the hillside, but there was an incredible view of the valley with surrounding buttes containing the fossil-rich Green River Formation.

We had a quick picnic then visited Fossil Butte. The boys had picked up Junior Ranger booklets the night before. To complete the booklet, they had to fill in facts from the unique timeline at the visitor center. The hexagonal building had a deck surrounding it, and the railing was marked with the geologic time scale (we're leaning on it in this photo).  Inside, we watched an interesting video, saw the very impressive fossils, and the boys were awarded their badges. Bret's favorite was the 13' crocodilian.
We drove a few hours northwest to Lander and had a short tour through town before checking into the hotel.  After dinner at the Oxbow Restaurant, we went to the Museum of the American West. The Shoshone Rose Casino on the Wind River Reservation sponsored the evening of dances by the Eagle Spirit Dancers. What a wonderful way to spend a summer evening.
Afterwards, we threw a couple of loads of laundry in and went swimming while they washed. It was late to bed for all of us.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

7/9/13 Tuesday - Park City into Wyoming

We started the day at Utah Olympic Park, which is between Park City and Hwy 80.  We watched some of the freestyle skiers, who landed in a pool. We also watched some of the ski jumpers. They have a plasticky-grassy-looking cover on the ski jumps, and they wet them down, then the skiers land and skid across the grass until they stop. Very interesting to watch.  We rode up the Nordic Chairlift for a beautiful valley vista, another bright blue day with puffy white clouds.  Then we each took a ride down the Alpine Slide, at 3000' long, they claim it is the world's longest. It was great! We each went alone and could control how fast or slow it went. We visited the Ski Museum, and Bryn saw boots just like hers. So maybe she needs new ones.  After a picnic lunch, we drove northeast into Wyoming, arriving in Kemmerer in the later afternoon.  There we visited the very first J.C. Penney's store, toured Penney's house, and visited the Fossil Country Museum which was in an old Mormon church.  Tomorrow we have fossil hunting on the agenda, so we made preparations for that. Also dinner in town, a swim at the hotel, the boys worked on their next Junior Ranger badge booklets, and some quiet reading before bed.

Monday, July 8, 2013

7/8/13 Monday - Thank goodness for Thanksgiving Point

In 2010 we visited the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point, UT. We ran out of time, and Bret has reminded  us of that every time we mention a possible trip to Utah. So this morning was for Bret.  We arrived at opening time and went right in to see the 3D movie Flying Monsters, which we all enjoyed. It was interesting to learn how pterosaurs flew, and how the Quetzelcoatlus was the biggest flyer ever, equal in size to a standing giraffe or, with wings extended, a modern-day glider. It turns out that they used Arete software for the water.  Bret's two favorite dinos were the Utahraptor (he did a report on them in third grade), and the Ceratosaurus. Bret said that Ceratosaurus was the only meat-eating dinosaur that had 4 claws on its hands.    After the Museum, we bought a bag of books at a nice used bookstore, then had Chik-Fil-A for lunch.  Next - climbing the Wasatch Mountains east to Park City.  We checked into the hotel. While Randy took a nap, the rest of us took a swim. There was a huge downpour outside. Later we went into town along State Hwy 224, which is the 10th Mtn Division Memorial Hwy (my dad's unit in WWII - the ski troops). Reed took the picture of Bryn there.  We drove all around Canyons, Park City Resort, and Deer Valley checking out the ski slopes and expensive real estate.  We had dinner on main street. The sidewalk cafes are not on the sidewalk, but they have wooden platforms in the street for your dining pleasure. We ate at  The Eating Establishment and had some outstanding artichoke dip.  Later, Randy accidentally had the van door shut on his finger (OUCH!). Bret grabbed ice out of the frig immediately, and no broken bones.