Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Yellowstone in the Springtime

Yellowstone National Park was the first national park in the world.  It was created through an act of Congress in 1872 and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant. 

 Yellowstone is a magical place:  spectacularly scenic park with abundant wildlife. 

Buffalo Mirror Images

On the Yellowstone River, Artist's Point is one of the most photographed and painted areas in the park.  Richly colored hues and a wild waters make it particularly spectacular.

Mineral Colored Views

Doug and Jan
Reintroducing wolves to Yellowstone has created much controversy among biologists as well as ranchers in surrounding areas.  This healthy wolf was not overly concerned with our human presence and was photographed from the road.
Yellowstone Wolf

Baby buffalo are born red and gradually turn dark brown.  These guys stay quite close to mama who protects them from wolves and grizzly bears.

Lunch time
Play time

Yellowstone has two lodges which are typically booked a year in advance.  The evening before our arrival Doug tried to make reservations and IT WORKED!  A last minute cancelation worked in our favor.  It is a special experience to stay in the park a short walk from Old Faithful and a dinner reservation from the Yellowstone Lodge.

Dinner at Yellowstone Lodge
Inlayed Wood Detail at the Snow Lodge
It is a treat to see moose in the park.  We were fortunate to have two different sightings.

Eating by the River

Young Moose

Near the northern section of the park, there were herds of elk.  Currently, there is a controversy among wildlife biologists.  The wolves are keeping elk herds in check which is providing more berries for the bear populations which prey on the baby buffalo.  Is this a good thing?  ask some.  Nature will balance herself.

 A Resting Young Bull

Many animals have "Follow-Me" signage which allows the young to clearly see where the adults are moving.

Elk's Follow-Me

Prong Horn Antelope's Follow Me

Although Old Faithful may be the most famous geyser in the world, the name geyser is derived from Geyser found in central Iceland.

Old Faithful

Although grizzly bear are the most fearsome animal in the park, it is actually the buffalo that injures and kills the most park visitors.  Buffalo are extremely agile and very fast.

"From where the sun now stands I shall fight no more forever. "   Chief Joseph
In the late 19th Century it was popular for wealthy Americans to tour the wild west.  Among the touring destinations was, of course, Yellowstone National Park.  In late August 1877 there were 35 tourists in the park and a group of 750 Nez Perce with 1400 horses being pursued by 2000 US Calvary troops and hundreds of Crow Scouts.  The Nez Perce were led by the famous Chief Joseph.

On August 24, 1877, the Radersburg tourist party of 5 people, was camped in the Mary Mountain area.  A scouting party led by Yellows Knife came upon their small camp.  Yellowknife felt the Nez Perce could not risk exposure to the US Calvary and forced the tourists to the large encampment of Nez Perce Indians where they were held captive.

Upon the counsel of Poker Joe, a half-white sub-chief of the Nez Perce, the captives were released and made their way down Mary Mountain.  Unfortunately, they encountered a group of 30 Nez Perce stragglers who decided to return them to the main encampment.  A fight ensued and two of the white men in the party were shot at near point blank range.  Miraculously, both men survived.  The remaining three tourists were given the protection of Chief Joseph.

Near Nez Perce Ford

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Our Midwest Connections

From Zacatecas Doug and I drove north  to Indianapolis to see a most charming two year old boy and his Mama and Daddy.  Well worth the extra miles.  Although we drove through Texas and stayed in Hope, Arkansas we did not pause to take photos.  Doug met my goal of only spending one night in Texas.  A good drive north.



When Papa Doug reads Hello Ocean to me it brings back memories of Puerto Vallarta.

Water is so much fun!

Mama runs a tight ship

Since I could walk, Mama has made me take my tray to the kitchen.  It's my job.  Someday my bride will thank my mama.



After a nice visit with Shari, Ryan and Jude we knew we needed to keep heading toward home.  We left Indianapolis and headed to see Sharon and Charles.  We met these charming friends in Puerto Vallarta and have stayed with them twice in Nashville.  They hosted a delicious Southern rib dinner that included other friends, Lucy and Wendell.  The photographer must have been to busy eating to get pictures of everyone.

Friend Sharon

From Nashville it was a short drive through some "interesting'" country in southeastern Missouri to Jan's family in St. Louis.   Tim has just opened a vinyl record store in a charming section of St. Louis.  We had a nice visit and spent some time with Jan's Uncle Russ. 

Jodi, Jan and Uncle Russ


Our friends from Jan's college years,  Martie and Wayne have charming grandchildren two of whom are not far from St. Louis.  We had a great visit with Heather, Mark, Joshua and Julia.  Joshua promises to be a boat guest soon.  How fun will that be.

Joshua, Julia, Jan and Doug


A deep apology from us to Aunt Barb in Denver.  We had a lovely visit with her and with Jan's cousin, Don, and neglected to take any photos.  It was such fun to see them.  We left early in the morning to make Yellowstone National Park.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

April in Zacatecas and Lake Chapala

It has been so long since I have caught friends and family up with our travels.  Please travel with us.  Our first stop is Zacatecas, Mexico which is the furthest north of the fabled Seven Cities of Silver.

Indians had mined in Zacatecas for centuries when the Spanish "discovered" silver.  Forced to labor deep in the mines, the Indian slave labor created the wealth to build a magnificent city with a stunning church.

The Jacaranda trees with their gorgeous lilac leaves frame the church.

This  former convent was built in the late 1500's.

The convent had fallen into disrepair and was purchased by a wealthy family that includes the famous Mexican artist, Rafael Coronel.  The museum houses his work as well as a fantastic collection of Mexican folk masks.  Worthy of a visit.

Our hotel was built in the early 1600.  For those who are interested, the doors were hung with the original hardware - interlocking eye bolts.

Sometimes in lieu of a siesta Jan knits.  Our hotel has a long history with a nunnery among the uses.

Lake Chapala houses a huge ex-pat community with fine dining and a great bridge club.  Charming towns with great ammenities.