While looking for photos for another blog post, I stumbled upon a few photos that I had forgotten about. They were taken from Jeff’s back porch in Siskyou County, California, the morning that I drove home after we visited Lassen National Park in July. I was sad about having to head home, and we sat outside for a little while drinking coffee in the morning sun before I had to get on the road. This guy has clearly been through some hard times, judging by that tear in his ear, but he was such a treat to see! My first wild Jackrabbit photos!
Day 12, Friday, July 27, 2018
After my visit to Ellsworth Air Force Base, I continued on my way to Wall, South Dakota and got a space at the Sleepy Hollow campground. It was $15 plus tax for a tent site, one of the cheapest campgrounds on my trip. I set up my tent, took a nap and then went to Badlands National Park nearby to see if I could find any wildlife.
I wasn’t planning to stay that long at Badlands, as there was a thunderstorm in the distance – and I would be spending more time there the next day. It was interesting to see the storm approaching on the horizon – that light!
I drove slowly down the Sage Rim Road, where I found Bighorn Sheep! They are so cute! And those babies! I loved just watching them amble by.
It was too dark for good photos, so I made my back towards camp and stumbled upon one of my favorite photos of my entire road trip. The recent rain had soaked the road, making it shine like chrome. The road, the sky, and my car hood made for a spectacular but unexpected subject. I still love this photo!
Back at camp, I had left-over sausage and rice, along with a Huckleberry lager. And I did laundry. Because not every evening on a road trip can have over-the-top excitement… It was a great day!
I am working on posts for my road trip, but… My mom and I got home today from a weekend getaway to Tucson, to enjoy a little time away. We both felt like we needed a break from the not-so-fun chores lately. We had a great time! So anyway, I was working on a post, but I just kind of lost steam tonight.
Meanwhile, here is another of my favorite photos from my road trip. A male Pronghorn that I saw at Fort Phil Kearny, near Sheridan, Wyoming. He was gorgeous!
Day 3, July 18, 2018
Today I was going to see Glacier National Park! I was so excited!
I got to the park about 9 am and went to the Visitor’s Center to get my passport stamp and postcards. Then I started driving up the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The views were spectacular! I ended up going all the way up to Logan Pass, stopping at some of the viewpoints along the way. Pack your patience for parking at the Logan Pass Visitor’s Center! Eventually, I got a space, and got out the things I needed. Backpack, picnic lunch, and my parks passport for another stamp!
I ate my lunch sitting behind the Visitor’s Center in the shade. I talked to a couple who were on a motorcycle day trip – they looked like they were having fun! After I ate, I started my Hidden Lake hike, which goes out from behind the Visitor’s Center. It is a 3 mile round trip, out and back hike. I made it about 50 feet when I came upon a Park Ranger who had the trail closed. There was a Grizzly Bear eating camas bulbs in the meadow right behind the Visitor’s Center! The bear didn’t seem bothered by the presence of about 50 tourists staring and him (or her), and was just peacefully rooting around in the meadow. I was able to see his hump and back as he moved further away across the meadow – what an amazing experience!
After the bear moved on, they reopened the trail and I set out. Pretty soon I started seeing Mountain Goats in the distance, sitting near the patches of snow. As I continued on, there were even more! Some of the trail was still covered in snow and ice, and I had to pick my way carefully over the ice at a few spots. This trail is very popular, so you do have to wait at times for people to get through an icy spot. Near the Hidden Lake viewpoint, the Mountain Goats were walking right on the trail – I had to move off of the trail to let one go by! Thankfully he wasn’t aggressive and didn’t seem bothered by the people, but I did my best to give him space.
The Hidden Lake viewpoint is spectacular! The lake is beautiful! There is a trail that continues on from there, but that part of the trail was closed due to bear activity the day I was there. Honestly, it was probably the bear I had seen earlier near the Visitor’s Center! I stood at the viewpoint for a while, taking in the scenery. As I left the viewpoint, I was greeted by the most impressive sight; this Mountain Goat posing perfectly with the mountain in the background! Incredible! I saw a mama and baby goat too! They were so cute!
On the way back, I saw a herd of Bighorn Sheep in the meadow where the Grizzly Bear had been earlier. There were about 25 of them; all males. Some people were getting a little too close and the sheep got spooked and ran across the trail. Luckily no one got hurt. It is a good reminder though – these are wild animals, they are big and unpredictable. Don’t get too close!
I headed back down the Going to the Sun Road and stopped at a few viewpoints, including a swimming hole where people were jumping off a big rock. It looked fun, but the water was probably freezing!
That evening I had leftover pasta and sausage for dinner. I had worked up such an appetite from hiking that I was too hungry to heat it up! This was such an amazing day; one of the best days hiking ever!
Day 2, July 17, 2018
You should probably know now that some days on my road trip weren’t really all that exciting. Some days had a lot of driving, and less sightseeing. This was one of those days.
I woke up at 6 and even though I wanted to get a bit more sleep, I couldn’t. I got up at 7 and got on the road just before 8. Kim and her husband both work early, so I said my goodbyes to her adorable dogs, horses and cows, and headed out.
I got on Highway 2 and it wasn’t long before I crossed into Idaho. The sign was on the other side of the road, and I opted not to cross over to pose with it. I was still getting my selfie-stick legs at that point!
I stopped at Albeni Falls and Dam on the Pend Orielle River (pronounced Pon-duh-rey) and checked it out. The Albeni Falls Dam was completed in 1955; Lake Pend Orielle is one of the largest and deepest natural lakes in North America. It is 68 miles long and 1,237 feet deep at its deepest point. I saw an osprey nest on top of the railroad bridge there, and managed to get a decent photo!
I also stopped at a viewpoint overlooking the Moyie River and the Moyie River Hydroelectric Project, but it was less than impressive from that vantage point. I could have gone down to the river level to catch a view of the dam, but that would have meant doubling back. Some things just aren’t that exciting…
The Montana state line was worth a stop though! Montana had one of the prettiest signs of the whole trip and it was easy to get to! Of course, I had to pose with it.
Lunch was at a rest area a bit further into Montana, a peanut butter and honey sandwich, peas and a peach. You will find I ate a lot of peanut butter and honey sandwiches. No refrigeration required!
The temperature outside was still in the mid-90s, and in Libby, Montana, the tire indicator light lit up. I stopped at a Les Schwab tire store and they checked the tires, which were all about 5 pounds over their ideal pressure at 40 PSI. The guy explained to me that tires “bloat” in hot weather, but that they would go back down when the temperature dropped. As I have lived all my life where it really never gets above the low 80s, this was new to me! You keep learning new things!
My next destination was my final stop for the day – West Glacier. I was going to spend some time in Glacier National Park! I didn’t have a reservation, and it was high season, so when I stopped in at the Timber Wolf Resort Campground and they had one remaining site, I took it, even though it was the group campsite. They were kind enough to not charge me extra. All of my friends could have joined me! It turned out to be a nice campground, even though the roads could have used a water truck (they were so dusty!) and the showers were one of only a few that you had to pay extra for (75 cents for 7 minutes).
Dinner was a four cheese pasta box and chicken sausage; it was my first time using my camp stove on the road! I also had a Black Box Merlot, that came in a 500 ml tetra-pack. I’ve never been much for wine in a box, but it came in so handy on this trip! I didn’t have to worry about an open bottle rolling around the car and it is reclosable!
Even with the high temperatures that day, it cooled off quickly after dark. I walked down to the gazebo at the campground, where they had wifi and I did some blogging and relaxing. By the time I was ready for bed about 10, it wasn’t too hot to sleep in the car! I did put the screens on the car door so I could sleep with the windows open without letting all the mosquitoes in. Those things came in handy!
Our last day at Mount Rainier, Paula and I had another great breakfast at the National Park Inn, and then we got our bags packed up and put in the car. We had time for one more snowshoe before we had to head home…
We decided to do the trail that heads up toward Cougar Campground. This hike is more of a hill and after hiking up part of the Rampart Ridge Trail the day before, Paula felt she was ready for snowshoeing uphill. The road to Paradise had reopened, so we could see the cars driving by on the road. The hike winds along between the road and the river; at times you can see the river.
It is such a pretty hike in the snow! We even saw a Woodpecker! We went a few miles up, and then had to turn around to come back to the Inn and our car.
It was a fantastic weekend – Paula and I both had so much fun! I always love a good combination of hiking and relaxing, and this was a perfect girl’s getaway! We want to do it again next year!