The Revenant & Yellowstone National Park

Yesterday sweet husband and I took in an afternoon movie; The Revenant featuring Leonardo DiCaprio as Hugh Glass (c. 1780 – 1833). Based on true events, Glass was an American frontiersman, fur trapper, and explorer of the watershed of the Upper Missouri River in present-day Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the Platte River area of Nebraska.

Although it was never stated where these events took place, there was one mention that someone was last spotted near the “yellow stone”. Yellowstone is called Yellowstone because the river flows through a yellow stoned canyon.

As you know by now, we spent the summer in Wyoming and Montana, therefore, from the scenery, I believe this part of the story of his life took place in that area; perhaps what is now the Chief Joseph Highway area?

I’m not a movie critic, but the cinematography was academy award quality.

Seeing this movie, which is extremely rough, took me back to Wyoming and Montana; it has haunted me all day.

It started with Glass walking through an overflowing creek in the middle of a forest. The first sounds were of an Elk Stagg trumpet. It is an unmistakable, loud and wonderful sound. One can actually go to YouTube and type in, “Elk Sound”, to hear it, you will never forget it – please do.

There was only one scene involving Bison, but they were stampeding away from a pack of wolves. The Bison’s trumpet or groaning sounds more like a lion. The rocks, cliffs, Lodge Pole Pines, rivers and waterfalls took me “home” to Yellowstone.

This 144 year old national park is located primarily in the state of Wyoming, although it also extends into Montana and Idaho and oh how I love it and miss it.

The stats:

  • It spans an area of 3,468.4 square miles comprising lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges.
  • Yellowstone Lake is one of the largest high-elevation lakes in North America and is centered over the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest super volcano on the continent.
  • This lake has MORE thermal features under water than in the entire rest of the park.
  • The caldera is considered an active volcano. It has erupted with tremendous force several times in the last two million years.
  • Half of the WORLD’S geothermal features are in Yellowstone, fueled by this ongoing volcanism.
  • Lava flows and rocks from volcanic eruptions cover most of the land area of Yellowstone.
  • The park is the centerpiece of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the largest remaining nearly-intact ecosystem in the Earth’s northern temperate zone.
  • If you work in the park, naturally you live in the park. If you need something as simple as a haircut you will need to drive an hour and half, in good traffic (which is rare), one way.
  • They do have general stores and small health clinics in each village within the park.

One clear evening in August we drove up to Hayden Valley to hopefully see the asteroid events and the Milky Way and, of course try to hear the Elk and Bison trumpet and groan. We were successful on all counts.

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We made friends easily with several of our co-workers and hope to see five of them in the next couple of weeks.

I will not be working there again even thought we had probably the best store manager and cafeteria manager in the entire park. We won’t for three good reasons: (1) it is a long, long drive from Tennessee to Wyoming and (2) my body doesn’t do changing shift work very well and (3) Yellowstone had in excess of 4 million visitors this year; a record. Sadly the company we worked for did not or could not supply our general store with enough help. Oh, my heart will miss it, to be sure.

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Yellowstone Lake, River, Canyon and MORE

While in the park this summer, we were located just a mile from the southern portion of The Yellowstone Lake area and The West Thumb branch of the Lake. Geysers, fumaroles, and hot springs are found both alongside and in the lake.

West Thumb’s shoreline has suspiciously crater-like contours. Its underwater profile is dramatically deeper than the rest of Yellowstone Lake. Only a massive explosion could have formed West Thumb.

Thought the blowout occurred 125,000 years ago, West Thumb is still thermally active. Hot springs, mud pots, and geysers stream and percolate along the shore, and temperature gauges record high heat flow in lake bottom sediments.

If the lake were completely emptied of all the water, it would hold more geysers, hot springs thermals and mud pots that the whole rest of the park. Unbelievable, but true.

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, thermal area

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, thermal area

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, thermal area

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, thermal area

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, thermal area

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, thermal area

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, thermal area

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, thermal area

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, thermal area

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, thermal area

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, thermal area

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, thermal area

Yellowstone Lake is the largest body of water in Yellowstone National Park. The lake is 7,732 feet above sea level and covers 136 square miles with 110 miles of shoreline. While the average depth of the lake is 139 feet, its greatest depth is at least 390 feet. Yellowstone Lake is the largest freshwater lake above 7,000 feet in North America.

We were told in winter, ice nearly 3 feet thick covers much of the lake except where shallow water covers hot springs. A sight to behold, I’m sure, but it won’t happen for me in this life as I hate winter…and they have REAL winter.

As of 2004, the ground under the lake has started to rise significantly, indicating increased geological activity, and limited areas of the national park have been closed to the public. As of 2005, no areas are currently off limits aside from those normally allowing limited access such as around the West Thumb Geyser Basin. There is a ‘bulge’ about 2,000 feet long and 100 feet high under a section of Yellowstone Lake, where there are a variety of faults, hot springs and small craters. Seismic imaging has recently shown that sediment layers are tilted, but how old this feature is has not yet been established.

Yellowstone Lake, view from the lodge

Yellowstone Lake, view from the lodge

Yellowstone Lake, view from the lodge - sunset

Yellowstone Lake, view from the lodge – sunset

Yellowstone Lake

Yellowstone Lake

The lake currently drains north from its only outlet, the Yellowstone River, at Fishing Bridge. The elevation of the lake’s north end does not drop substantially until LeHardy Rapids. Therefore, this spot is considered the actual northern boundary of Yellowstone Lake. Within a short distance downstream the Yellowstone River plunges first over the upper and then the lower falls and races north through the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. These two spectacular falls flow through the canyon area where the walls of this canyon are all yellow stone, therefore the park name.

At the head of the YS Falls with 4 of our Grand-wonders:  Teegie's three and our one

At the head of the YS Falls with 4 of our Grand-wonders: Teegie’s three and our one

Osprey nesting above Yellowstone canyon

Osprey nesting above Yellowstone canyon

Yellowstone Falls

Yellowstone Falls

Yellowstone falls, river and canyon

Yellowstone falls, river and canyon

Yellowstone Falls

Yellowstone Falls

Yellowstone Falls

Yellowstone Falls

Yellowstone Falls

Yellowstone Falls

Yellowstone falls, river and canyon

Yellowstone falls, river and canyon

In the 1990s, geological research determined that the two volcanic vents, now known as “resurgent domes”, are rising again. From year to year, they either rise or fall, with an average net uplift of about one inch per year.  Kind of scary…

One of our favorite spots in Yellowstone Lake was the Lake Lodge. It is the oldest lodge in the park (over 100 years old) and has been beautifully renovated. Each evening, in their large open reception area, sporting a spectacular view of the lake via huge glass windows, we were entertained by a sensational string quartet. Before you cry, “boring”, they played a range of music from Hendrix (yes, Jimmy) to Pachelbel to Broadway Pops.

Lake Lodge String Quartet

Lake Lodge String Quartet

Each night at 9:00 p.m., when the lodge lowered the American Flag, just outside the massive windows, they would play our national anthem and all would rise to the occasion…This made my heart smile with pride.

We went every other week as our work schedule allowed; often with our new, precious friends.  We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in this location, with these wonderful new friends.

Mel and Jerry at the Lake Lodge

Mel and Jerry at the Lake Lodge

Teegie and sweet husband at the Lake Lodge

Teegie and sweet husband at the Lake Lodge

Rose and Rob

Rose and Rob

Grace, Rose and Rob at the Lake Lodge

Grace, Rose and Rob at the Lake Lodge

Brandon, Lilly, Teegie and Grace

Brandon, Lilly, Teegie and Grace

Rose, Rob and me

Rose, Rob and me

Teegie, Grace and Mel

Teegie, Grace and Mel

If you want to stay in the lodge, one must reserve months in advance and be prepared to pay from $363.00 to over $600.00 per night, plus tax—these are the 2015 rates.

Our friends Gay Bissell and Fawn Fortman drove ALL THE WAY TO YELLOWSTONE FROM MISSISSIPPI to visit us.  We took them to visit our beautiful falls and had dinner together in the lodge.  Thank you for making that long, long drive.  We love you.

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Yellowstone Lake Lodge

Yellowstone Lake Lodge

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK – Part one of ?

Here is how it works.  There are big corporations who bid on concession contracts with the National Park Service to run the retail, lodging, restaurants and entertainment in the National Parks.  We found this out by visiting several national and state parks last year while we were “Living In Our Minivan”.  Once this information was obtained, we discussed it, picked a park, applied, were hired and we reported for work on June 8, 2015.  To protect the innocent the company name will remain anonymous.  We were really lucky, as the other company in the park was huge, impersonal and had very low dress standards (just an observation).

We agreed on jobs, were assigned a nice dorm room, were given our uniform t-shirts and directed to the EDR (employee dining room).  The EDR fed us very well.  A portion of our salary was deducted for room and board.  Our room was like a Days Inn room:  Sink, closet, private bath and good-size bedroom.  We also had a (free) laundry room on the basement floor where the only TV lived.  We had no Wi-Fi and very poor to no cell coverage.  The public areas of the dorm were kept OCD clean.  We were responsible for our space (not OCD).

NOW FOR THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE WONDERFUL:

GOOD:  There were three age groups (1) college age (2) retired and (3) middle-aged teachers off for the summer.  Most of the college age are from foreign countries (?), this company seems to have a hard time getting American students who want to work for them in the summer.  The retired (us and a few others) are here because we cannot sit on the couch any longer and because they, like us, want to see these parks.  These are all really wonderful people to work with, we all became friends and formed a tight team.  We spent time out in the park together or visiting in our rooms, playing cards or pool in the TV room.

Brandon, Robert and Rose

Brandon, Robert and Rose

Brandon, Lily, Teegie and Grace

Brandon, Lily, Teegie and Grace

Rose, Robert and me

Rose, Robert and me

Teegie, Grace and Mel

Teegie, Grace and Mel

BAD:  We worked for a very large, privately owned corporation with juvenile rules that had to be upheld by our manager, who obviously didn’t always agree with them, because she was normal and human.  We had to “clock-in” and couldn’t do it two minutes early, even if we were just standing there.  The General Store was open 14 hours per day, seven days a week.  We alternated shifts each week, (hard to get used to).  We stayed short staffed all summer and HR either would not or could not get us the proper help.  My assumption, from years of working is, the smaller the payroll, the larger the profit.  This MAY be the reason American college students won’t come to work for them – their reputation proceeds them.  This was real work, standing/walking 7+ hours per day.  The poor customers had to pay the high price by waiting in long lines.  This was especially hard on them because Yellowstone is huge and moving from one area of the park to another takes a very long time.  They were tired, but they didn’t take it out on us (much).  I don’t have a picture of the dorm, but I do have a couple critters who came to visit us at our dorm.  Sweet husband purchased bear spray after one of these visits.

Black Bear next to our dorm

Black Bear next to our dorm

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WONDERFUL:  Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding areas.  Teton National Park, Cody, WY, The Bear Tooth Highway, Mesa Falls in Idaho, The local live theater in West Yellowstone and so much more.  I will have details in the following posts.

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More later…

I’m In Love with Buffalo Bill Cody

Cody, Wyoming was the first stop we made in Wyoming going from South Dakota to Yellowstone.  We (me, Leonard and my grand-wonder Aubrey) met our friend Tee-Gie Hamilton and her three precious grandchildren in Keystone, SD.  After three days of “playing” at Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Custer State Park and soooooooooooo much more, we headed out toward Yellowstone.  We got as far as Cody, WY – totally exhausted.  We drove over the pass allowing the grands to actually play in snow at the top of the pass.  This is a rare opportunity for children from south Louisiana…and quite a wonderful sight to see.

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We got to see very little of Cody on this first trip because our goal was to spend the day showing the grands as much of Yellowstone as is possible in a day and where we were to work.  The bridge between Grant Village (where we were to work) and Old Faithful (our main goal) was completely closed, so the grands didn’t get to see it, but did enjoy Yellowstone Falls, the Yellowstone Grand Canyon, falls and Mammoth Springs before driving up to our friend’s home in Livingston, MT for a few days of rest.  We put the grands on a flight home to New Orleans from Bozeman on June 2nd (sniff).

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Our first day trip on our first day off was to Cody.  We (Tee-Gie, me and Leonard) packed our lunch and headed to The Center of the West Museum.  This is a must see stop, I would give it a minimum of two days, we had one.  This is just a tiny sample of the incredible western art (eye candy) available at this wonderful museum.

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We made a brief stop at the Cody Reservoir Dam, created for irrigation on the Shoshone River.  We went to the Irma Hotel for supper before heading back to Yellowstone.

Yes, the water up here is emerald green...I am used to brown.

Yes, the water up here is emerald green…I am used to brown.

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The Hotel was built by Bill Cody for his daughter, Irma and is still quite the show piece.  The bar in the salon is made of Rose Wood given to Bill Cody as a gift by Queen Victoria.

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After Leonard and I left Yellowstone for the summer we headed back to Cody for another afternoon at the museum and dinner at the Irma Hotel after a Wild West show done by local volunteers to raise money for local children’s charity done in the street next to the Irma Hotel. These volunteers portrayed Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, Calamity Jane, Annie Oakley, Buffalo Bill Cody, and Wild Bill Hitchcock.

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After dinner we enjoyed a true Cowboy Music Show featuring Dan Miller, his youngest daughter Hannah, Wendy Corr and Ed Cook – well worth the time and money (which was reasonable).  http://cowboymusicrevue.com/about-the-band  Check out more information on the band on this link.  So very talented.

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Bear Tooth and Chief Joseph Highways

During our tenure at the Yellowstone General Store this summer, we are given two days off, in a row, each week.  We have taken day trips up to this point.  None of these trips will be posted in date order as each has its own unique subject.  This was our first overnight trip because it would be impossible to see this region without an overnight stay. Motels are almost always full in and around the National Park area during the summer months.  If one is fortunate enough to find a room, one must be prepared to pay a premium rate ($200. to $600. per night – no joke).  Fortunately, we know how to “Live In A Minivan”, so we secured a small lot at a KOA in Red Lodge.  It is a precious little town, by the way.

Red Lodge has a micro-brewery (Red Lodge Ales), which WE DO NOT RECOMMEND …save your money.  There are many other great choices in town for meals and cold beer. I have attached a crude map of our route out of Yellowstone from our temporary home at Grant Village.

ale red lodge2 Red Lodge1

Travel is slow through the park with bear, buffalo or elk jams to contend with, which is never a bother to us.  We were told, when coming to Yellowstone, one needs to pack a lot of patience.  I will pass along this very necessary advice.

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Osprey

Osprey

Moose

Moose

Grizzly

Grizzly

Black Bear next to our dorm

Black Bear next to our dorm

Elk

Elk

We left through the NE entrance to Cookeville, MT where we picked up the Bear Tooth Highway.  This route also took us through Lamar Valley.  This is an exceedingly large, open expanse, surrounded by mountains and striped with meandering creeks where wild life thrive in 360 degrees of calm, green beauty.  This is usually where one see wildlife; we did not.  I enjoyed it more than Sweet Husband, as he was the driver.

BEAR TOOTH is a winding, two lane highway climbing to an elevation of over 11,000 feet with many cut backs and 7% grades.  If you have any issues with altitude sickness or fear of heights, I would not recommend this trek.  However, it is one of the most beautiful drives in North America.

Grasshopper Valley

Grasshopper Valley

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This is "The Bear Tooth Mountain" from which the name of the highway comes

This is “The Bear Tooth Mountain” from which the name of the highway comes

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Glacier lake - naturally, frozen over in the winter

Glacier lake – naturally, frozen over in the winter

Ice caps (glaciers) still in July

Ice caps (glaciers) still in July

Ski Lift at the crest of Grasshopper Valley

Ski Lift at the crest of Grasshopper Valley

Glacier Lake

Glacier Lake

Grasshopper Valley

Grasshopper Valley

Grasshopper Valley

Grasshopper Valley

There is one location on this highway where skiers take snowmobiles to an area called Grasshopper Valley (see pictures above).  It has a near vertical slope to a valley of frozen glacier lakes.  They then can ride the ski lift back up to the road and repeat.  I wouldn’t do it in three lifetimes, but some people love these near death experiences.

MOTORCYCLE RALLY:  I promise, I’m not exaggerating, there was at least 3 motor cycles for every car (maybe more).  Red Lodge is at one end of the Bear Tooth Hwy and Cody, WY is on the other.  Red Lodge is where motorcycles converged going to two different cycle rallies:  The BMW Rally n Billings , MT and the 75th anniversary of the Harley Davidson Rally in Sturgis, SD.

I only saw two brave people driving an RV on that highway; I would NEVER, EVER do that.

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Bikers are quilters - like who knew? Sign in Red Lodge at quilt shop.

Bikers are quilters – like who knew? Sign in Red Lodge at quilt shop.

We arrived in Red Lodge with time to drive past on to Billings.  We were told about an area near Billings where William Clark (of Lewis & Clark fame) and his company stopped at a site he named, “Pompeys Pillar (Tower)”.  The pillar itself stands 150 feet above the Yellowstone River and consists of sandstone from the late Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation, 75 – 66 million years ago. The base of the pillar is approximately one acre.  It is simply a giant rock in the middle of a vast valley, on the edge of the river.  If you are driving along highway 312 near Billings, you cannot miss it.  BTW:  It appears much grain, etc. is grown in this rich valley for Coors.  William Clark would probably approve.

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William Clark's signature in the rock

William Clark’s signature in the rock

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The pillar features an abundance of Native American petroglyphs, as well as the signature of William Clark, co-leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Clark’s inscription is the only remaining physical evidence found along the route that was followed by the expedition.

The inscription consists of his signature and the date, July 25, 1806. Clark wrote that he climbed the sandstone pillar and “had a most extensive view in every direction on the Northerly Side of the river”. He named the outcropping after Jean Baptiste Charbonneau—the son of expedition member Sacagawea—whom he nicknamed “Pompy”, as he had become quite attached to the 18 month old member of the company. His original name for it was “Pompys Tower”; it was changed to the current title in 1814.

DAY TWO:  Started with waking from an 11 hour night of much needed rest…we must have been extremely tired.  Red Lodge has a wonderful, locally owned bakery (City Bakery).  After a stop for breakfast pastries we headed south out of town to Chief Joseph Highway. This highway was named in honor of Chief Joseph, the Nez Perch Chief who resisted resettlement by the United States and fought in this region, but eventually lost.  His surrender speech is below.  This is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places Sweet Husband and I have traveled. Surrender Speech by Chief Joseph, born Hinmatóowyalahtq̓it, which means Thunder Rolling Down The Hills, (1840-1904) Chief of the Nez Perce Tribe:

Chief Joseph

Chief Joseph

“I am tired of fighting.  Our chiefs are killed.  Looking Glass is dead.  Toohulhulsote is dead.  The old men are all dead.  It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led the young men is dead. It is cold and we have no blankets.  The little children are freezing to death.  My people, some of them, have run away to the hills and have no blankets, no food.  No one knows where they are–perhaps freezing to death.  I want to have time to look for my children and see how many I can find.  Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs.  I am tired.  My heart is sick and sad.  From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”

We were the conquerors and they the conquered.  That is the way of life in all wars.  Much has been lost and much gained.  The land is preserved, but war cannot and will not change – until the day we beat our swords into plows.  Yes, that day will come.

Jurassic World in Montana July 2015

We drove out through to North Entrance of the park leaving Mammoth and entering Gardiner, MT, another precious little town.  There are currently no plans to expand the lodging or camping within Yellowstone Park.  Therefore, if lodging (or affordable lodging) cannot be located in the park, visitors must stay in one of the little towns on the outskirts of the park.

North YNP Entrance

North YNP Entrance

Mammoth Hot Springs

Mammoth Hot Springs

Gardiner, MT

Gardiner, MT

For future reference, they are:  North entrance–Gardiner, MT, Northeast entrance–Cooke City, East entrance–Cody, WY, South entrance–Flag Ranch, Lake Jackson Lodge or Jackson Hole, WY and West entrance–West Yellowstone, MT.

On our way our of the park, we discovered three new (to us) water falls on our way out of the park.

Undine Falls

Undine Falls

Wraith Falls

Wraith Falls

Wraith Falls

Wraith Falls

Tower Falls

Tower Falls

Again this was an overnight trip with a campsite in yet another great KOA.  We have decided to get a more expensive air mattress as we have found, regardless of the care given, the cheap ones from Walmart won’t hold air more than one or two good nights.  I ordered one from Amazon today, which promises years of good service.  I will give my review of this new purchase in a following post.

OUR QUEST:  (1)  THE MUSEUM OF THE ROCKIES in Bozeman, Montana. Originally affiliated with Montana State University, and now, also, the Smithsonian Institution.  The museum is known for its paleontological collections, although these are not its sole focus.

The Museum of the Rockies houses the largest collection of dinosaur remains in the United States, possessing the largest Tyrannosaurus skull ever discovered, as well as the thigh bone of a Tyrannosaurus rex that contains soft-tissue remains.  The museum is part of the Montana Dinosaur Trail and is Montana’s official repository for paleontological specimens. Montana has vast paleontological research occurring within or conducted by people from all over the U.S. I learned the fossil record in Montana stretches all the way back to the Precambrian.  Beginning in 1855 archeological digs all over the state have produced some of the most significant Jurassic life examples in North America.

The dark brown is real bone, the light is man made to complete the skeleton

The dark brown is real bone, the light is man made to complete the skeleton

Mammoth skull and tusks

Mammoth skull and tusks

Sweet Husband looking through dino skull

Sweet Husband looking through dino skull

A perfectly preserved nest of dinosaur eggs

A perfectly preserved nest of dinosaur eggs

Jurassic Crocodile

Jurassic Crocodile

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Sweet Husband with Big Mike

Sweet Husband with Big Mike

Rex

Close up of T-Rex teeth

Close up of T-Rex teeth

Another focus of this museum were the Native Americans.  There was on poster focusing on their sacred stories.  I copied this from one of the displays:

The Indian Peoples, everywhere in the world had sacred origins. Since they did not have riting, their ideas about beginnings were contained in sacred stories and ceremonies that were remembered ad told from one generation to the next. Even today, sacred stories often told in winter still convey moral teachings and other important lessons.

For Example: THE CHEYENNE, “Maheo, the All Spirit, created a salty lake. From a ball of mud he made land which rested on the back of a turtle. And the Earth was known as Grandmother, Earth Woman. Later, by breathing on one of his own ribs, Maheo created first man and then first woman. Maheo is still with us, as all good and all life.” THE BLACKFEET, “Old Man, Mai, made the animals and then molded clay into human shape and said, ‘”You must be People’”.

Sound familiar?

(2)  JURASSIC WORLD the newest in the Spielberg series.  What better place or time to see the movie, in 3D, after a tour of the real thing.  Sweet Husband and I enjoyed it, total escapism and fun. At YNP we have no TV and really no time for TV, making this movie a genuine treat.  I saw reviews on FB and none of them were positive – we totally enjoyed it.

JW!1 JW2 JW3 JW4

(3)  AMERICAN COMPUTER AND ROBOTICS MUSEUM The name for this small museum speaks for itself.  It was extremely well done and interesting.  The focus is of the history of communication, personal computers, the internet, World Wide Web, robotics, artificial intelligence, personal computers, etc.

One of the displays featured the telegraph in association with the Pony Express.  At one time the telegraph only extended to St. Joseph, MO. where it then linked with the pony express, extending west.  One of the Pony Express ads on display showed a recruitment for Pony Express riders where the requirements were:  tough, wiry boys, under 18, orphans preferred, must be willing to risk death daily.  Pay listed at $25.00 per week.

The only short coming to the museum is they had no displays after 1995 (a 20 year gap?).

PE1 apple

We took the “short route” back to Yellowstone through West Yellowstone.  It is amazing to drive into the park late in the day and see more cars leaving than entering as there is literally no place left to stay in the park.  If you want to visit YNP make reservations a year in advance, but expect to pay a premium within the park.

A long two days, but worth it, we may never pass this way again…

National Museum of Wildlife Art

This lovely museum is located on a hill overlooking the National Elk Refuge (picture of a portion of the refuge meadow below) in Jackson Hole, WY.

BLDG VIEW

After all the art museums sweet husband and I have visited (and they are legion) we have learned that the landscaping, setting and building foretell the beauty within. This is no exception. It is small in comparison to some we have seen, but the building, landscaping, setting and included works rate a ten-plus.

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The building is designed to blend into the hillside with native rocks. Each door handle is made of giant Elk antlers. The form is of ancient, western architecture. It is surrounded by a sculpture trail designed by renowned landscape architect Walter J. Hood. The sculpture trail introduces fine art sculpture into the fabric of Jackson Hole’s incomparable landscape. Sculptures of wood, granite and bronze play with light and the different seasons offering an ever-changing view of art in the wild. There are over sixteen different sculptures on this exterior trail. I have pictured only a few.

GRISLEY2 LEONARD MOOSE1 RAVEN SHEEP4

The interior features art of wildlife by American and European artist of the last two centuries. Again, I have included only a sampling of the many great works.

ANTELOPE BISON 2 BISON1 BISON22 BLACK BEAR CAT EAGLE ELK STAMPEAD FALCON GRISLEY1 GRISLEY3 MOOSE3 MOOSE4 MOOSE5 SHEEP1 SHEEP2 SHEEP3 SHEEP5 TOTUM

If you find yourself in this area, make a point of driving up the hill, past the Elk Stampede. After viewing the sculpture garden and the gallery, exit the front to enjoy a breathtaking view of the surrounding refuge from their shaded terrace.

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