Sunday, October 11, 2009

September 15, 2009: Hanging out in and near Red Lodge, MT...

Mike's cousin Tom and his wife Helen came from Utah to visit us while we were in Red Lodge this year. They arrived the evening of September 14th in time for dinner... after a LONG day of driving. Our day together on the 15th was a bit low key with a somewhat late breakfast together before wandering around town.

Our house (which is available as a vacation rental when we are not using it) is in the "Hi Bug" area of Red Lodge which is where the larger homes were built by the "upper crust" of Red Lodge in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Several of the homes on our street were designed by the same architect, Seth Hunneywell, as our house was. Our walking tour of Red Lodge with our guests included wandering up our street all the way to route 78 and then back again, reading both from a book on the historic homes and a book on the history of Red Lodge as we wandered around.

Photos I've chosen to include today include some from our walk as well as a couple from later in the day when we drove up to Red Lodge Mountain and stopped at Silver Run before returning to town.

Chapman House, Red Lodge, MT
Chapman House was completed in 1902, having been built by W.S. Smith at a cost of $6,500 from plans drawn up by Seth Hunneywell. It was described as one of the finest residences in the state of Montana at the time.
grain elevator
Heading back toward town, a structure of a different sort... this grain elevator is no longer used for grain and currently stands idle. I'm not sure whether it will be eventually torn down or repurposed... the angles and shapes against the cloudy sky struck me as worthy of recording. The fencing in the foreground is part of a relatively recent addition to the town of Red Lodge, a childrens playground.
rail car
Trains no longer run to and from Red Lodge but this rail car is preserved outside the Art Gallery.
Helen, Tom and Mike (left to right)
Family photo... Mike (on the right) with cousin Tom and Tom's wife Helen.
West Fork of Rock Creek at Silver Run outside Red Lodge, MT
The parking lot at Silver Run outside of Red Lodge, MT is accessed by crossing the West Fork of Rock Creek. Silver Run is a multi-use trail with several loops that allow the hiker, biker or cross country skier (in winter, of course) to choose how long they want to make the trail. This photo of the West Fork was taken from the bridge one must cross to reach the parking lot.

Friday, October 9, 2009

September 13-14, 2009: Coaster Classic and House Guests...

If you follow my Photography Addict's Showcase blog or my Flickr stream, you may already know that on our return home from our western trip, I was invited by a local Bethesda, MD art gallery to have a show of my photography in February, 2010. SO... the excitement over that has kept me hopping recently and I'm way behind on finishing up the saga of our three weeks in Idaho, Wyoming (Yellowstone National Park) and Red Lodge, Montana. Before I forget entirely... thought I'd better work on finishing my posts of our adventures!

The day after Oktoberfest (previous post), the Coaster Classic (Cruiser Classic?) happens... an event involving bicyclists who have their bikes trucked up to the State Line (or to Rock Creek Vista which isn't quite as far up the highway) on the Beartooth Highway and then coast back down. The meet-up spot is on the Rock Creek Road at the campground parking lot where everyone gathers 10ish (timing isn't exact) with their bicycles and various vehicles involved in carting the bikes up the mountain. Of course Mike participated in this adventure but I'd fallen the previous day (on my way TO Oktoberfest) and had skinned up my knees pretty badly so didn't take part.

Without further blathering, I'll leave you with a few photos from the event... And a teaser about our house guests... Mike's cousin Tom (from Utah) and wife Helen arrived at dinner time on the 14th and there will be a couple of final posts about their visit and the end of our stay... will try to finish this trip before TOO long!

view of Beartooth Mountains from parking lot at Rock Creek Campground
We, of course, were the first people at the parking lot... and witnessed a truck pulling into the parking lot with the driver rushing out, throwing up the hood, hollering did anyone have a fire extinguisher and throwing dirt on this engine block while hollering some more about needing a fire extinguisher! He was supposed to help drive bicyclists and bikes up the mountain... but was unable to do so... and I didn't get a photo because I felt bad for the guy... so enjoy this view of mountains from the parking lot instead.
Classic bicycles ridden in Coaster/Cruiser Classic
The bicycle in front with the banana seat was ridden by an adult, all the way down the mountain from the state line (Montana/Wyoming border) on the Beartooth Highway.
Boys in truck
These boys rode down the mountain too ... but from Rock Creek Vista which is a shorter ride.
The gentleman standing on the rear of the fully loaded flatbed truck is the driver of the flatbed and hauled MOST of the bikes up to the two drop off points... here he is giving instructions to the crowd and cautioning them that they ride at their own risk!
fully loaded van
Fully loaded... Lucas drives riders up the mountain in his truck/van complete with couch for seating in the rear. Mike is on the right, bicycle helmet already on and ready to ride.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

September 12, 2009: Oktoberfest in Red Lodge, MT!

Oktoberfest comes early to Red Lodge, Montana... by October, the weather is already too cool for an outdoor festival in the park whereas September weather is beautiful... at least it was this year! I've included a few photos of the festival which are probably only of interest to those pictured... but we didn't really do much else on the day of the festival. A good time (too good a time?) was had by all as we drank an Oktoberfest brew (by beermeister Sam of Red Lodge Ales) or two or more, ate bratwurst, knackwurst, German potato salad and danced to the music (early in the day... oompah... later in the day... blues and rock and roll provided by the Firehouse Band of Billings, MT).

Victoria in German dress
The dirndl I'm wearing was purchased on EBay for about half what 'authentic' German online clothing merchants wanted... it was fun to dress for the occasion.
Hillary and Vanessa
Beer maidens Hillary and Vanessa on break from serving beer.
Betsy and Mom Millicent
Mayor Betsy with Mom, Millicent, modeling the hat awarded to the Oktoberfest Queen elected each year.
Wyatt on a mission
One of the youngest Oktoberfest participants dressed in authentic costume... Wyatt was later voted Oktoberfest king for 2009...
Maryvette throwing the keg in keg bowling
Keg bowling was just one of the games for Oktoberfest... here Maryvette throws for what she hopes will be a strike (it wasn't) as the crowd watches.
Lindsey in German dirndl
Lindsey in her authentic German dirndl... one of the organizers who helped make Oktoberfest a smashing success again this year.
Sam of Red Lodge Ales
Sam, beermeister and owner of Red Lodge Ales...
Victoria and Mike dancing
This photo of us dancing to the Firehouse Band at Oktoberfest was provided by one of the people we met that day...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

September 10-11, 2009: Red Lodge, MT with friends

This post may only be of interest to family and friends... or those who would like to know more about what is available in the way of food, friends and fun in the Red Lodge area. At this point in our vacation, I'm having trouble remembering exactly what we did each day but have a few memorable moments to share in pictures! (when you get to the photos mentioning Wolfie's spot on Red Lodge Mountain... Wolfie was our friend Tim's dog who is no longer with us... we leave you to conclude what is meant by "Wolfie's spot" on Red Lodge Mountain)

No trip to Red Lodge is complete without a trip to Roscoe, MT for a marvelous steak dinner at the Grizzly Bar. Below are snapshots of friends Mary and Evan and of Mike and myself in the parking lot prior to our annual fine dining experience at the Grizzly.
evan and mary at grizzly bar victoria and mike at grizzly bar

On the next day, we started out in the morning with a 'townie' bike ride (or girlfriend ride as Mike likes to call it when he goes slow) and here's a photo of Mary, Evan and Mike on one of the bridges across Rock Creek.
mary, evan and mike

After our townie ride, Mike and Evan went mountain biking while Mary and I were treated to a ride up Red Lodge Mountain, courtesy of our friend Tim, where we had a picnic lunch at Wolfie's spot with spectacular views of the ski runs (below) and the valley and palisades (subsequent photos)
Red Lodge Mountain ski runs

palisades and valley as seen from Red Lodge Mountain
Tim setting up for our picnic lunch... spectacular view in the background...
palisades and valley from Red Lodge Mountain
View of the palisades and valley from Wolfie's spot on Red Lodge Mountain..
dog in back of truck
Koda, Tim's current dog, is one happy camper riding in the back of Tim's truck.

The last two photos show the end of our adventure up the mountain with Tim (we stopped to look back at the entrance to Red Lodge Mountain) and the last evening of our visit with friends Mary and Evan (the best of our squinty eyed photos taken at Sam's Tap Room looking into the sun) before their return to real life back home in Maryland.
entrance sign for Red Lodge Mountain four friends at Sam's Tap Room in Red Lodge, Montana

Friday, September 18, 2009

September 9, 2009: Beartooth Highway Adventure...

Mike unfortunately had to work today... so Mary, Evan and myself drove up the Beartooth Highway until we hit the construction at the Montana/Wyoming border at which point we turned around and came back down the mountain. For those of you unfamiliar with the Beartooth Highway... it is the stretch of route 212 from Red Lodge to Cooke City, MT and was described by Charles Kuralt as "the most scenic drive in America."

What follows are a few photos of the adventure experiencing the scenic beauty of this wonderful road... a route I never tire of no matter how many times I drive it. From several vantage points along the Beartooth Highway, the Hellroaring Road and Plateau are beautifully visible!

rocky outcropping on Hellroaring road
You may recall from yesterday's post that we drove up the Hellroaring Road to the Plateau... the rocky outcropping in the above photo is the spot where we stopped and had our lunch yesterday.
end of road on Hellroaring Plateau
Look closely and you will see the last couple of switchbacks before reaching the top of Hellroaring Road... we parked our car at the end of this road yesterday and explored the plateau on foot for an hour or more.
jeep trail on Hellroaring Plateau
The road seen here is a jeep trail on top f the Hellroaring Plateau that is no longer open to vehicular traffic.
Hellroaring Road and Plateau as seen from Rock Creek Vista on the Beartooth Highway
Hellroaring Road and Plateau as seen from Rock Creek Vista on the Beartooth Highway...
Another view of the Hellroaring Plateau as seen from the Beartooth Highway... the switchbacks in the center foreground are lower down on the Beartooth Highway.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

September 8, 2009: Hellroaring Plateau Adventure

Post updated July 25, 2012: Our 2008 attempt at navigating the 7 miles of ROUGH road to reach the top of the Hellroaring Plateau failed due to snow drifts (before) and downed logs (after) blocking the road near the spot where we ate our lunch in June of 2008. Snow is almost always melted by August so we vowed that 2009 would be the year we made it all the way up the road to the very end where we would then wander around and explore the plateau. Although this road is definitely NOT for the faint of heart, nor would we recommend it for anyone with back problems since it is 7 miles of bouncing around no matter how carefully and slowly one drives, the views to be had are spectacular.

Friends Evan and Mary, Mike (driving our "Hyundai Santa Fe") and myself set out from our vacation home in Red Lodge, MT at about 10:00 AM on a gorgeous, sunny day ... destination Hellroaring Plateau. After a stop at Café Regis for sandwiches and chips for lunch, we were on the road and shortly bouncing along at a very slow pace up Hellroaring Road. Enjoy the day with us through photos included below...

Hellroaring Road as seen from Rock Creek Vista point on the Beartooth Highway (route 212) out of Red Lodge, MT
Hellroaring Road as seen from Rock Creek Vista point on the Beartooth Highway (route 212) out of Red Lodge, MT... this is the road we followed to the summit in our September 8, 2009 adventure (this photo was taken on September 7, 2009)
Beartooth Highway as seen from Hellroaring Road
View of the Beartooth Highway from part way up Hellroaring Road... we were at approximately the same elevation here as the photo taken the previous day looking toward Hellroaring Road from Rock Creek Vista lookout on the Beartooth...
Views of the Beartooth Highway, Rock Creek and Hellroaring Roads
Views of the Beartooth Highway (right, with ends of some switchbacks visible at extreme right), Rock Creek (middle, up the valley) and Hellroaring (left) Roads as seen from where we ate lunch on our way up to the Hellroaring Plateau...
Victoria, Mike, Mary and Evan
Intrepid adventurers Victoria, Mike, Mary and Evan on rocks at our lunch spot overlooking the Rock Creek Valley on Hellroaring Road...
coming down a rocky spot
Sometimes, the safest way down from a high rock outcropping is on your butt... Evan (below) and Mike (above) watch Mary make her way down from a place I would not go!

Rock Creek Valley
Looking up Rock Creek Valley toward Glacier Lake (not visible) from the same spot where the photo of Mary scrambling down the rocks was taken...
Mount Rearguard as seen from Hellroaring Plateau
Mount Rearguard - 12280 feet high... it's possible to hike to the summit but we didn't as we weren't properly prepared for such a hike... this year!
Our deer-dented, faithful vehicle in the parking area at the end of the Hellroaring Road... there are jeep trails beyond the parking area but vehicles are no longer allowed to go past the spot where we were parked in order to preserve the natural beauty of the plateau...
view of switchbacks on Hellroaring Road
Look at all those switchbacks, barely visible through the trees below... view of the Hellroaring Road from near the top of the road to the plateau...
Hellroaring Road descending with Beartooth Highway across the valley
Another view looking down Hellroaring Road and across the valley to the Beartooth Highway...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

September 7, leaving the park and heading to Red Lodge, MT...

Am way behind with write-ups on this trip... have had a hard time making time to edit photos and then post! We left Yellowstone Park under sunny skies after a nice breakfast in the dining room in Mammoth. Destination... Red Lodge, MT and our vacation home there via the Beartooth Highway after leaving the park through the Northeast Entrance. With no further blathering... I'll just show you highlights of our day in pictures...

young male elk
We didn't make it very far before we were treated to the sight of a large bull elk and his herd resting in the shade of the buildings in Mammoth village. This is one of the young elk (who seems to be chatting away) in the herd and the only other male we saw. (clearly no threat to the big bull elk who had at least a 12 point rack!)
Mammoth Hot Springs, distant view
Just before crossing the Gardner River, we stopped for a last look back at Mammoth Hot Springs... even from a distance it is quite the sight!
male buffalo
Lone bull crossing the road... stops traffic and gives me an opportunity to snap a bison in sunlight as he enters the field by the roadside!
Pilot and Index Peaks, Wyoming roadside view
Pilot and Index Peaks as seen from the 'sitting rock' we found for our lunch break at the Pilot Peak lookout spot along the road to the summit of the Beartooth Highway...
Hell Roaring Plateau and the road to reach it
The road in this photo (up the valley) takes one eventually to the plateau known as Hell Roaring Plateau... the road is seven miles of rough, rock-strewn road which we traveled the day after this photo (taken from Rock Creek Vista point on the Beartooth Highway) was snapped. (photos of that adventure will be appearing eventually... one of these days I might catch up with posts... but it will have to rain all day long here in Red Lodge to keep me indoors long enough to catch up!)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

September 6, Mammoth Hot Springs and other areas of Yellowstone National Park...

The travel guide for Mammoth Hot Springs says the hikes around the springs take about two hours... we took so many photos that it was closer to three hours before we finished exploring all the areas of the springs.

From there, we continued our exploration of the park by heading counterclockwise around the northern loop drive with our next major stop being the Canyon area of the park and the Northern rim drive where we took several short hikes to view the falls, Osprey, etc. before continuing on to Tower Roosevelt.

A note about our Osprey viewing... there is one stone pillar in the grand canyon of the Yellowstone River where Osprey have nested for years and one can almost always be guaranteed a sighting in that area of the canyon... we were not disappointed this year... a mama Osprey was staying fairly close to the nest with short forays for food because at least one chick (maybe more) was chirping away in the nest (but not visible).

Canary Springs area of Mammoth Hot Springs
A view of Canary Springs at Mammoth Hot Springs...
Thermophilic (heat loving) bacteria thrive in the hot pools of Mammoth... which type grow where is temperature dependent...some idiot park visitors (tell us how you really feel) throw coins and kill the bacteria where the coins land (dark spots in upper right corner and along the top about 1/3 over from the left corner).
view of Mammoth Village, Yellowstone National Park
Looking toward Mammoth Village from the Hot Springs boardwalk...
view of terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park
Terraces at one of the many thermal areas at Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park... love the cloudy sky here...
distant mountains provide backdrop to hot springs features
Mountain ranges provide a lovely backdrop to one of the Hot Spring features that is no longer active... wish I could remember what this was called... must find my trail guide and update the caption later!
lower falls of the Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park
View of the lower falls of the Yellowstone River taken from along the northern rim... from about this same vantage point, we were able to see the Osprey sitting on her nest and hear the young chirping away... but the view was a bit too far away to get a good picture, even with my 300mm lens!