Saturday, September 29, 2007


On to Sandpoint for Cindy's wedding. First we stopped at Ross Creek to check out the old-growth cedar forest. Then on to pick wildflowers in the foothills overlooking Lake Pend Oreille, to make Cindy's bouquet.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Flathead, Ninepipes, Mission Mountains

We stopped on the Flathead Indian Reservation to go to the Ninepipes Wildlife Refuge and the National Bison Range. More beautiful scenery and animals, but hardly any people -- a welcome change. We could see bison from our hotel window.
At Ninepipes we saw tons of birds including hawks, geese, ducks, sandhill cranes, swans, and pelicans. I had no idea pelicans go to Wyoming. But there they were.

At the National Bison Range the bison were all elsewhere, and the highlight was actually the other animals, such as these bighorn sheep.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Highlights of Yellowstone

Crossing the Continental Divide Geyser basin and bison
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Mammoth Hot Springs

Full moon on our last night

And not pictured: hundreds of amazing hot springs, mudpots, fumaroles, and other geothermal wonders. The pictures just don't do them justice.

Close encounters with big critters

One afternoon, we had been thinking about going for a walk but decided to go a little further down the road -- imagine our surprise a few minutes later to see a bear walking down the path we had been thinking about walking on! We had several bison-on-road encounters. Many of them resulted in bison-from-inside-car pictures. We stopped for quite a while to watch this guy eat. We could hear him breathing and chewing.
We usually saw pronghorn in groups but this one was just hanging out by a parking lot.
Early morning on the way from our hotel into Teton National Park we stopped to watch this moose eating in the water.
The elk were in rut and in the morning especially we would hear the males bugling. It also meant they were hanging out in big groups and attracting big groups of cars anytime they were near the road.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Other critters of Yellowstone & Teton

We stopped to watch some elk one morning as the sun was rising when Elizabeth spotted this river otter. That got all the serious photographers to come out with their $5,000 cameras and hang out with us -- they'd all had enough elk. This was the beginning of our realization that when you see the big cameras, there's usually something really worth stopping for. It was interesting to talk to the camera guys (and they were mostly guys) too -- they really know the parks and the animals. This was the first time we successfully implemented our new rule, "always stop when you see the big cameras." We even struck up a couple of conversations with guys who let us look through their sights.

We saw two canines that looked about the same to us in Yellowstone, on two different days. On the first day, someone told us very definitively we were looking at a wolf. The next day, someone told us just as definitively that it was a coyote. Chances are coyote, but we're still not totally sure.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Grand Teton National Park

Most of out time in the Tetons was cold and drizzly but beautiful anyway in a dramatic-cloud kind of way. When we got to the park the peaks were mostly dry, but by the time we left the tops were covered in snow. The sun even came out a little to show them off.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Wind Farms

The next day was a loooong drive through Wyoming, featuring lots of windmills -- long lines of huge, white, power-generating windmills. Pretty cool. Perhaps that much more so after our disappearing-glacier trip the day before.

Friday, September 21, 2007

St. Mary's Glacier

First stop on our fall vacation was visiting David in Denver. We drove out of town to hike up to St. Mary's Glacier. David and Elizabeth hung out and watched it melt for a while, while Matt scaled the nearest hill for even better views.