Thursday, July 31, 2014
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
I was rather looking forward to exploring America's First National Park. Unfortunately, the experience ended up feeling less like a commune with nature and more like a shuffle through an overcrowded amusement park. I think a lot of that had to do with the contrast of the serene solitude of Shoshone National Forest. I didn't spend a lot of time in Yellowstone; I parked at the few areas I could find a parking spot at and only took a few photos. If I do visit again, it will definitely be during the off-season.
I loved the geysers, the burbling hot springs, and the sounds and smells of the water and water vapor. Little tree swallows flitted among the spouting hot springs, cruising for snacks. They seemed to enjoy flying through the mists.
I did see the bison (and evidence thereof! They walk right over the geothermal areas!), and a small herd of massive elk.
Yellowstone is a gorgeous area with an important geological history -- and future. If I do ever return, I'll make certain that it is in the winter or spring. I can handle a few closed roads for a little more peace and quiet. ;)
|I stepped in a lot of bison dung to get that shot. :P|
Friday, July 18, 2014
While in Orlando, visiting my sister, we took a trip out to Wekiwa Springs State Park. This naturally included a kayaking trip along the Wekiva River and multiple opportunities for being a yogi.
You can swim in the main freshwater spring at Wekiwa; it's around 72 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. There were several people swimming while we were there, including two girls who were having an enviable amount of fun. We were satisfied with dipping our toes into the cool water and enjoying a bit of people watching.
We rented a tandem kayak and learned the true meaning of teamwork! It was a lot of fun. We saw a few alligators and a bunch of water birds, and took our time to enjoy the sights and sounds of the river wildlife.
There were a lot of little channels to explore along the river; we took full advantage of these, often climbing out of the kayak to switch places or climb on things.
There are many springs and rivers to explore in the Orlando area; if you ever get tired of the amusement parks in the area, then try packing a lunch and visiting one of the springs -- or all of them!
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Okay, bear experts. Is this a big black bear or a young grizzly? The bear is wet from the snow and rain, so the coat is matted down, but even so, this bear was really big for a black bear. I'm no expert, though, so I will put the ID in your capable hands.
After I broke camp at my little winter wonderland, I kept moving toward Yellowstone. It was around that same area that I spotted the bear.
I stopped at one of the turn-outs along the road to do a bit of sight-seeing. Shoshone National Forest is so incredibly beautiful. And vast. I felt so small here.
I don't really have a lot to say about this part of the trip. The photos say it much better than I could even try to. It was a privilege to be able to see this amazing area.
Monday, July 7, 2014
I know I've already mentioned how much I love Wyoming -- but I love Wyoming. It's a geological, historical, and natural goldmine. I made many stops on the way to Yellowstone National Park; there's something amazing to gawk at around every turn.
The formation you see in the first two photos is known as Crowheart Butte. Here's what it says on that sign:
"In March, 1866, a battle was fought in this vicinity between Shoshone and Bannock Indians on one side and Crow Indians on the other.That's pretty brutal.
The contest was waged for the supremacy of hunting grounds in the Wind River basin. Crowheart Butte was so named because the victorious Washakie, Chief of The Shoshones, displayed a Crow Indian's heart on his lance at the war dance after the battle. The major portion of the battle was fought near Black Mountain, several miles to the north.
Washakie, in his youth and middle age, was a very mighty warrior. He was a wise chief and friendly to the white people. No white man's scalp hung in his teepee."
The road wound through a dizzying array of rock formations of all shapes, sizes, and colors. There were dozens of turn-outs along the road to allow one to stretch one's legs and get a good look at the landscape. I took a photo of these gorgeous red rocks with the van in it and one without:
I also spent some time poking around -- if I recall correctly -- the Wind River basin. It was indescribably beautiful.
I have many, many more photos of this area and the subsequent adventures, so more posts are coming soon!
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Remember what I said about my campsite being so cold? Well -- it snowed!
I was awoken around midnight by what I thought was rain on the roof of my van. I looked out of my window, but it was pitch-black outside and freezing, so I shrugged and shivered and snuggled up back inside the warmth of my sleeping bag/fleece blanket combo.
Later on, around 4 a.m., the sky began to brighten, so I set about making my morning tea. Once it was ready, I started to take down my window shades and I could not believe my eyes: my campsite was blanketed in white. I put on my wool coat and my boots and went outside to explore my winter wonderland.
I took a walk a little way up the infamous forest road from the day before, and I took a bunch of photos of the van and my surroundings. Look at the snow on my solar panels! I was able to brush some off with my ice scraper/brush (glad I brought that along!) Luckily, the rest of it melted and fell away as I drove down from the 10,000 feet of elevation I was camped at.
Waking up to snow in Wyoming was such an incredible treat. I can't believe the amazing experiences I've had in this state. I've said it before and I will keep saying it -- I cannot wait to go back there.