The Seventh Day of Christmas: Gift Ideas for the Travel Lover

There’s nothing like a good hike, especially when on a road trip, while stuck in the car for so many hours in a day. I really fell in love with hiking a few years ago, and am now addicted!

Here’s some handy items that I would absolutely love for a walk up the side of Mount Washburn, in Yellowstone National Park (I’m not sure why that one popped into my head…):

A sturdy pair of hiking boots

A sturdy pair of hiking boots

Cosy jacket for the chilly mornings

Cosy jacket for the chilly mornings

Good, heavy duty socks

Good, heavy duty socks

Something cooler, when it starts getting hot!

Something cooler, when it starts getting hot!

Some handy pants, with pockets

Some handy pants, with pockets

Water bag

Water bag

Some cool shades

Some cool shades

The pack

The pack

Ok – can someone buy me a plane ticket to Wyoming…Yellowstone is calling me for a hike!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Where, where is the party?!

Again, wish I had a better lens for this one. I was zoomed in on grizzly bear #399 and her 3 cubs two years ago in Grand Teton National Park, as they made their way across Willow Flats in search of a better bush to munch on.

If you want to see more photos of #399 and her story, check out my other posts on this fascinating bear:

1. 399 photo

2. 399 photo

3. 399 photo

4. 399 photo

 

Top 5: Otter Photos

I’ve been lucky in Yellowstone these past 2 summers, watching groups of otters doing their thing – and the shows have apparently been quite a rare thing to witness according to others.

Here are my top 5 photos of les otters from the past two summers:

Number 5

Golden light, watching these cute little dudes sleep on a fallen log over one of the most beautiful lakes I have seen (Trout Lake, Yellowstone National Park).

Number 4

Mama, eating her trout and fighting off her 2 pups. What a task. PS – some noisy tourist disrupted their flow, that’s what they are looking at!

Number 3

How waterproof does their fur look? Nice.

Number 2

Nice whiff of a fresh trout being eaten. Yum – she sure enjoyed it!

Number 1

I have a whole sequence of this – including his/her brother/sister coming to join. Unfortunately, my lens was set at manuel, and resulted in somewhat blurry photos. Ahh…there is always next year, I hope!

Photo: Moose on the Loose

In Grand Teton National Park, when I was there this summer, there were 2 very good looking bull moose that hung out in a swampy area right beside the main road in the park.

I spent hours upon hours there watching them and taking a billion photos at every angle possible. Here’s one of them in the process of standing up to go in search of some tasty tree leaves to munch on.

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?

#2 Hike of the Summer: Avalanche Peak, Yellowstone

I actually lost sleep last night deciding on what hike I would place in the #2 spot, and which one would be the ultimate #1 hike that I completed this summer. It was a very tight competition,  both with spectacular views and a great challenge.

BUT alas, one had to receive the silver medal, and after much flip flopping, Avalanche Peak by the East Gate won the second prize.

With a 2,100 foot elevation gain, the view of Yellowstone park at 10, 568 feet was SPECTACULAR! It took my breath away, as did most of the haul uphill. The recommended 4 – 6 hour experience lasted my boyfriend and I a shade under an hour and a half. This was partly due to the approaching dark clouds. With this being one of the tallest peaks in the region, we didn’t want to get caught in the lightning storm, obviously! So I must say, it was a quick jog down – straight down. I mean, I actually slid down the side of the mountain where the snow hadn’t melted yet.

Yes – it was steep. The steepest hike I have ever done, actually.

There wasn’t a dull moment on the hike up – filled with large aspens, and bright green ferns at ground level. A few springs popped out around the trail, and a hop or two over them were an adventure. I really DID mean to wash my hiking boots on this trip…

Once we arrived at the first opening, we were greeted with a snowy ground, a pretty little lake, and huge STORM CLOUDS quickly heading our way. We decided it was possible to beat the incoming rain if we quickened our pace. Phew – easier said than done. The elevation was getting to me, and the commencing shale trail was a bit tricky to cross.

The opening! If you could look to the left – pitch black skies!

We saw a few groups turning back due to the tricky ground and one couple in a bit of a tizzy – they had just seen a BEAR on the trail! Gasp – so we proceed with caution with our bear spray in hand, with the couple, as they pointed out the bear they were so worried about – a tiny deer about a mile away grazing on a grassy knoll. I actually had to get my binoculars out to see it. Oops.

Onward and upward, leaving that couple in the dust to coo over the deer.

After a careful,  yet quick march to the summit, we were greeted by a solo hiker sitting cross legged staring off into the distance. It felt appropriate when I greeted him and asked, “so, the meaning of life is…..?”. He also found that quite hilarious and admitted that he was trying to catch his breath.

The summit was actually not at this first peak, you actually have to go across a short ridge, and there you will find the official summit. And what you see when you look around this 360 degree view is amazingness all around. From this vantage point, you could see everything! We could point out Yellowstone Lake, Mount Washburn, even the Tetons which were 50 miles to the south!

If you are looking for the best view in the park – stop here and I dare you to find a better one.

Stormy!

Hiking with 10,000 lbs of camera gear.

 

 

PS – watch out for the wind 🙂

Cloudy Day on Mormon Row

Ug – the weather would not cooperate with me whenever went to this popular road to take the iconic ‘Mormon Row shot’ with the Grand Tetons in the background.

This is all I could get. It was a miserable few days when I was in Grand Teton National Park this summer.

Er…enjoy?

Sparrow vs Grizzly Bear…who wins?

I don’t know about this fight. I think I will give it to the sparrow. I saw this griz in Yellowstone N.P. on the road between Norris and Mammoth this summer.

Absolutely hilarious action broke out, while trying to learn my new camera. This lil sparrow  (not totally sure the type of bird) came out of nowhere and started attacking this griz, while he was peacefully grazing along the river.

The sparrow successfully moved him away from – a possible nest?…as the griz moved back and over the hills in a sort of defeatist gait.

(I have many more, totally blurry photographs, but they were so terrible because my manual focus was in play, and it was dusk – turning into a pitch black evening). But what a show!

awww no, go away!

Absolutely idiodic

Watch this video.

It’s a “what not to do when encountering wildlife” video.

Something that I have witnessed, but not to such a degree.

And, what? The father laughs at the end? Don’t worry, Yellowstone is just a circus. You won’t ACTUALLY feel it when the bison gores you and seriously injures or kills your child. THAT IS SARCASTIC by the way.

It’s unbelievable. A few years ago, a child was killed by a bison when the father thought it was an a-ok idea to place his kid on the bison’s back for a good point-and-shoot picture.

Listen to the rangers, the pamphlets, and the signs: STAY 25 YARDS AWAY FROM BISON.

I just talked (rationally) about this a few days ago. Sorry, but this was absolutely IDIOTIC!

Photos of the Day – The White Wolf Waits for Wistfully Wandering to Wind Up There

Ohhh too much… but the title is staying.

As I bounce off my seat itching to get on the road to Yellowstone, I was reminiscing about some of the great wildlife encounters I experienced there last summer.

Here are some of my favs:

First wildlife sighting in Teton – Elk on alert!

Grizzy 399 and 2 of her 3 cubs she had last year. Down to none apparently now 😦 although the rumour is they still survive – 1 with the grizzly 610, and 2 are lost, but well.

Awww Sedgehog (I don’t come up with these names 🙂 in Sedge Bay, Yellowstone

The white wolf…hence the cringe worthy title of the post.

Mr/s. Marmot in Sheepeaters, Yellowstone

The lone bison walks the line

I could keep going and going, but I will stop at my favorites in Yellowstone and Grand Teton. I also saw a large variety of wildlife in the Canadian Rockies, including big horned sheep, mountain goats, a cougar (such a rare and amazing sight!), elk with huge racks, and a ton of foxes, coyotes and a brief glimpse of black wolves.

CAN’T WAIT!