Photo: Mailing a letter AND relieving yourself all at once.

A mailbox

A mailbox that is beside an outhouse

Your welcome.

No explanation needed, right? It’s so convenient. Out here in Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park. Why wouldn’t I think to mail my hydro bill on this lonely road in the middle of a national park while about to head into a stinky ol outhouse?

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Top 4 hikes a la summer- #4 Specimen Ridge, Yellowstone

Welcome to Lamar Valley in Yellowstone. One of my favorite areas in this vast park.

I know I mentioned earlier that I would talk about my top 3 hikes this summer, but I just had to include my #4 pick.

At a starting elevation of 8864 feet (end 9600 feet), it’s very surprising if you happen to see anyone else on the trail (aside from a herd of pronghorn).

As the name states, it is one of the ridges of Amethyst Mountain, starting just past the Yellowstone River.  And you basically have this place to yourself. Not many people set out to hike this trail, that, as we discovered, had many paths.

And, as the name also states, you may see some fine specimen on this trail, including: pronghorn, grizzly bear, elk, bison, and rarely, moose.

Which path to take? Umm, we decided uphill was the way to go – the steeper, the better.

What my boyfriend and I found amazing about this hike, aside from the lack of people on the trail, was the glimpse we got of Yellowstone ‘behind the scenes’.

We could see, to our right, the Tower Falls area. A place where we spent countless hours watching two sets of black bears with cubs. We had no idea how enormous the area was behind the ridge. Imagine all the wildlife we would be able to spot if we could have seen into this area!! It just blew my mind.

To our left, we could see the entrance to the Lamar Valley, and again, our mouths were dropped at the areas we would never have be able to see from the road.

Difficulty? I would say moderate. It’s a high elevation hike, little shade, and steep hills. Make sure you have good hiking boots, or you might end up downhill skiing as I did on the way back.

In Yellowstone!!!

It will be 3 weeks tomorrow, and I am loving it!

So much to describe here, but my internet time is quite limited, so I’ll show you a pic from the Specimen Ridge hike in Lamar Valley.

WHAT A VIEW!

Quote for a Sunday – Photography

“Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.”

– Imogen Cunningham

July 2011 - Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park

More photography quotes.

Photo of the Day – Happy Place!

This photograph makes me so happy. It was taken in Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park on a bright and balmy July afternoon.

Lamar Valley, Yellowstone

All of a sudden I feel like running up a hill and rolling down….into the brown grass filled with dead leaves….oh I can’t wait for summer!

 

My Happy Place

When you are asked to close your eyes and think about a place that makes you so happy and at peace, you often picture a specific place that you have been to before. Somewhere that you feel totally, absolutely, amazingly relaxed. Often it involves a beach, waves, a thunderstorm, sometimes crickets chirping in the background….you get the picture!

One of my favorite places in the world now has to be Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park, and that’s the one I picture now when I have to go to my “happy place”.

It starts at the Tower Juction across from Roosevelt Lodge. If you take that road all the way down the valley, you end up in Cooke City (where you will find amazing pizza! But that’s a separate story).  Beyond that, you enter the scenic Beartooth Highway. Not too shabby of a drive!

It just makes me feel so relaxed when I drive through the winding roads, past the meandering stream, herds of bison, and rolling hills. The light seems to be the most beautiful golden shade all day long.

One of my favorite hikes is along this stretch of road too. Trout Lake is a quick jaunt, but the lake you end up in is so quiet and peaceful, I could sit there beside the otters and snap picture after picture as the light changes during the day.

What also entices me to hang around that valley is the concentration of wildlife, especially wolves, grizzlies, pronghorn, and bison. When I was there this summer, I witnessed an amazing show with the bison. They had to cross a raging river with one of their young that could not swim yet. So in order for this baby to cross with the rest of the herd, the older ones started a chain in the river which allowed for the baby to float across and hit this chain of bison, then crawl along beside them until it reached land. What team work! It was fascinating to watch.

Luckily, this section of Yellowstone is one of the quietest places to be. Not many tourists head to the northeast part of the park. So it just seems so much wilder and isolated…the true wild west.

So now that my work day is winding down, I am going to kick my feet up, close my eyes, and picture my happy place – Lamar Valley.