Yellowstone NP

We left for Yellowstone NP right at 6:30. We stopped at Cowboy Coffee company on our way out of town and picked up breakfast and coffee..

The three hour drive was very scenic. First we climbed over Teton Pass and into Idaho. We drove through Victor and Driggs, ID. Both small farming communities.

The West entrance of Yellowstone National Park

When we arrived in West Yellowstone, MT. We stopped at the National Park information center in town. Next, we drove into the park. Today is the first day of National Park Week, so our admission pass was not needed. We drove throug the park toward the Old Faithful Guyser, stopping along the way to take pictures of the bison that roam own the park.

A “local” out for a stroll

We parked and walked overt tho Old Faithful and only waited a few minutes before it erupted. Afterwards, we walked over to the shops and restaurants nearby to use the restroom, shop, and eat. We went back to Old Faithful around 12:20 to see the next eruption that happened around 12:38. To me, it looked larger and longer than the first one.

Old Faithful geyser

Yellowstone is a massive park, but because it was only the second day the park has been open for the season, the crowds were light. We drove North to Mammoth Hot Springs stopping along the way to see various sites. During the high season I doubt we could have covered as much ground as we did. Mammoth Hot Springs was spectacular. What always get’s me is that I’m seeing the same things that early settlers and Native Americans saw hundreds of years ago. Mammoth Hot Springs has been slowly build over thousands of years.

Mammoth Hot Springs

After thoroughly exploring Yellowstone National Park we drove back to Jackson Hole. It was almost 11:00 when we arrived at the hotel. A day well spent.

Wildlife Expedition

Today we took a Wildlife Expedition with theTeton Science School. Our guide, Tyler, picked us up at our hotel right at 6:30am. He had coffee and mini blueberry muffins for us for breakfast. We started out on the backside of the National Elk Refuge looking for big horn sheep. After watching a pack of coyotes hunt ground squirrels, we drove behind a butte and saw the sheep on top. They were grazing on top of the butte and a few males were head butting, but not seriously. The serious head butting is done in the fall during mating season. We watched the sheep for half an hour and then moved on.

Our guide drove around to the main part of the National Elk Refuge where there is a fish hatchery. There our guide could look through a high-powered telescope and see a few bison grazing on the refuge pasture. We heard a splash in the pond where we were standing and saw a muskrat swimming below the water. On the far side of the pond were a couple of Golden Eye ducks.

Next we drove toward Kelly, WY and Slide Lake. Driving on the road towards the lake we stopped to watch two bald eagle fish. It was a majestic sight.

We left the eagles and drove toward Mormon Row. Along the way our guide spotted a moose in the sage brush. We stopped and got out of the van. Once you know what to look for, their hairy ears, you can spot the moose bedded down on the ground. We counted eleven moose at this one sighting.

We continued driving north until we reached Oxbow Bend where we stopped at the partially frozen lake. On the far side of the lake we could see, through the high-powered telescope, a dozen bald eagles perched on the ice and nearby trees. Closer to us, two big muskrats were sitting on the ice. At first, we thought they were beavers, but then we could clearly see that they had a long rat like tail, not a beaver tail.

We drove a little farther north to the completely frozen Lake Jackson. We hoped to see a bear. We did see bear tracks in the snow, but no bears.

Lake Jackson was the northern most part of our expedition. We stopped for a few minutes at the Lake Jackson dam. It was interesting to see the water flow under the ice and come out the other side of the dam. From here we turned south and heading home. Along the way we continued to look for Bison and Bears, but didn’t see any. We arrived back at the hotel around 2:30. It was a nice day and a great expedition.

On Vacation

The first day of my spring vacation, I went somewhere where it is still winter, Jackson Hole, WY. We didn’t really plan it this way, but we did plan to be here in the off-season.

Today is an orientation day. We don’t have any specific activities planned, just wander around Jackson Hole and see what is happening.

You cannot visit Jackson Hole without getting your picture taken under one of the four Elk Antler arches that decorate the town square. I learned something new today. Elk shed their antlers each spring and grow another larger set in about 140 days.

Universal Health Care

This is what happens when we stop valuing individual life and only value group identity.

Man with Down’s Syndrome’s ‘cruel and horrific’ death after 19 days without food

This article from the UK strikes fear into the hearts of anyone who might become a burden, or has a loved one who might, under a Universal Health Care System (a.k.a Medicare for All). As soon as they can kill you, they will. No one will ever be held accountable.

Remember and vote accordingly

Notre-Dame Fire

I’m saddened to hear about the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. My sincere condolensces to all Parisians. It is hard to fathom the history and beauty that was lost. I’m so grateful that I was able to visit it in 2017 with my family. I’ll cherish the memories.

Rainy Sunday Morning

This morning a thunderstorm rolled through. It was not the dangerous, twister making, thunderstorm. Just the rainy, windy, occasional clap of thunder kind of storm. We have the windows open in the house and I sat by an open window reading cook books and watching The Masters on television. Nice!

Happy Birthday, sweetie

My wife is very difficult to buy for.  I struggle every year with Christmas gift ideas and then her birthday is 3 weeks later. At least once, she mentioned wanting to go fly fishing.  So, for her birthday this year I gave her two tickets to Garden & Gun’s Ladies-only Fly-fishing Excursion.  She was thrilled.  She has spent several month planning for the trip and took her best girlfriend with her.

Yesterday she texted me this picture of one of the fishes she caught.  She said that she actually caught 4 fish, two baby ones and another that she lost just as she was getting it to shore.  The smile on her face says it all for me.  She had a really good time.

Forgiveness

I received a text over the weekend letting me know that a friend’s wife had passed away.  He was a friend from a previous work place that I regularly keep in touch with.  I had never actually met his wife, but only heard of her through my friend.  They were at a difficult time in their marriage. She was having health problem that, based on what he told me, may had degraded her mental health. What he described to me was someone who was cruel and mean, particularly to him.  She had isolated herself in a back bedroom and rarely came out and almost never interacted with him.  There were several instances where she had called the police on him alleging physical abuse.  According to him, she had even alienated her children.  She only considered her sister as family. Not an enviable situation to be in.

Receiving the news of her death put me in a difficult social situation.  I have seen before when an abusive spouse dies and immediately is forgiven of all sins and only the good times are remembered.   The first time caught me off guard and I committed a social mistake by not recognizing that death changed the situation.  I was guarded this time and would not make that mistake again.

I called my friend and spoke to him.  As I expected, he was devastated by her death.  Despite her numerous health problem, I don’t think he had mentally prepared for her death.  He spoke of her in loving terms as if their life together had been one big honeymoon. He was a dutiful husband and he sincerely loved her.

As humans, we have a tremendous capacity to forgive.  We also want to desperately forget the bad parts of our lives.  I think this is normal and perhaps healthy.  I think this is what true love does.  I have seen people who are bitter and never let go of the hate and abuse.  However, I think with those individuals are seeking attention and victim status from others. True love forgives and forgets the abuse and remembers the love.

Nota Bene:  I hope you found this post helpful, but it was really written to help me process my thoughts and feelings about this situation. I find it helpful to write about difficult situations.

Sunday Morning with Pawpaw

My granddaughter Abigail spent the night last night.  Her Mom and Dad attended a wedding in Athens, GA and thought this would be a good opportunity to see how Abigail would do, not to mention how my daughter would do, away from her parents for a night.

My wife spends one day a week with Abigail, so there is not problem with familiarity.  She knows her “Nana” and gets a big smile on her face as Nana comes closer.    She likes to be held so that she can see what is going on and she follows Nana around the room with her eyes.

On Sunday morning, after she ate some breakfast, we had some time together.  We played on the floor for a while with her toys. I brought out my GoPro camera because I know I will want to relive this day again sometime in the future.  We took a break and sat on the couch and played with the GoPro.  As you can see in this video, at 5 ½ months old she is exploring the world through touch and taste.