Wyoming Blog 2014

03/09/2014: After 2 and 1/2 days on the road, Candy and I (and the 2 cats) arrived at out new home in Riverton, WY.

Our new home

Found out the next day that our 18-wheeler would not be arriving until Thursday March 13. We came prepared and had an air mattress to sleep on until then. The truck unloaded on my birthday and we spent the next week working many hours unpacking boxes. Each evening we took advantage of our outdoor hot tub to soothe our aching bodies.

Hot Tub time

Best time for the hot tub was in time to watch the sunset over our Wind River backyard with the Wind River Mountains in the backgroud.

Wind River sunset

Even the cloud formations here are fascinating. These “flying saucer” clouds are called lenticular clouds.

Lenticular clouds

Finally getting all the furniture in place and boxes unpacked, we had 4 of our new friends over for dinner and celebrated by the fire. The orchids were a house warming gift from our friends.

Our new home

After finally getting unpacked, we started work on March 31 so not much time for sightseeing. We are amazed at how many different sights are within an hours drive of here. We tried to drive up to Togwatee Pass to get a glimpse of the Teton Range, but despite it being sunny and 55 degrees at 6,000 feet, when we got up to 9,000 feet the roads were ice and visibility poor so we turned back. We did get to see a new type of precipitation (for us). We saw round balls of snow that looked like styrofoam beads and later found out it is called Graupel. These are some of the sights we saw that day:

Dubois Badlands

Crowheart Butte

Painted hills

Another day we drove up to Wind River Canyon, also less than an hour away:

Wind River Canyon

Wind River Canyon

Wind River Canyon

04/18/2014: Finally got a Saturday free to go on a day hike. We went to Sinks Canyon State Park. There is a fascinating phenomenon that occurs here. The Popo Agie River (pronounced po-PO-zha) disappears into a cave “the sink”…

The Sink

…then reappears a half mile away at “the rise”.  The problem is, it takes 2 hours for the water to complete the journey, more water comes out than went in, and it comes out several degrees warmer. The mystery of “where does the water goes for 2 hours” has yet to be solved. 

The Rise

Sinks Canyon

Lunch break

Middle Popo Agie

Spreading Phlox

Sagebrush Buttercup

05/03/2014: Busy Saturday, so just took a brief run to find Red Canyon so we can put it on our list to explore in the future.

Red Canyon

05/04/2014: The day has finally arrived! Have been wanting to cross Togwotee Pass (pronounced TO-ga-dee) which can be icy and treacherous all the way to summer because of its 9500 ft elevation. Today looked like the perfect weather for the trip. The goal? To get to The Tetons. It is so nearby that we didn’t leave until after singing at Mass, just making a half-day trip. Was it worth it? You be the judge. This is what we saw just over the rise after crossing 9500 feet…

Teton pano

Once down in the valley, the views just kept on getting better…

Tetons

Tetons

View from inside historic Cunningham Cabin

Uinta Ground Squirrel

Snake River overlook

Snake River overlook

The Grand

Oxbow Bend

While at Oxbow Bend, I saw an Osprey hit the water and catch a fish. Here he is flying past the majestic Tetons holding the fish.

Osprey with Tetons

I SWEAR, NO PHOTOSHOP TRICKS. While I was photographing him overhead still holding the fish, he flew past the crescent Moon.

Osprey with moon

Heading back home, more beautiful sites along the way…

Pinnacles

Painted Hills

05/10/2014: . We tackled Sinks Canyon State Park again, this time determined to hike to Popo Agie Falls. It’s only a 1.7 mile hike but significant elevation gain.

Popo Agie Falls trail

Popo Agie Falls trail

Popo Agie Falls trail

Few-flower Shooting Star

Mountain Bluebells

Arrowleaf Balsamroot

American Pasqueflower

Finally arrived at Popo Agie Falls. It is so complex with multiple levels and sections, it can’t be photographed all together.

Popo Agie Falls

Popo Agie Falls

Popo Agie Falls

Sunrise/Moonset from our deck May 15, 2014

Wind River sunrise/moonset

05/20/14: Jason & Michael came to visit our new home for a week. We went back out to show them Sinks Canyon. Here they are in front of “The Sink”.

Jason and Michael at “The Sink”

Lots more water now flowing into The Sink but still not enough to cause the overflow channel to fill yet.

Sinks Canyon

Sinks Canyon

Arrowleaf Balsamroot with lichen decorated rock

Sinks Canyon

Western Gromwell

Hoary Balsamroot

05/23/2014: Playing board games with the boys and it was dark and stormy, so dark we thought it was night. I looked out and saw a complete double rainbow against the “night” sky.

“Nighttime” double rainbow

06/14/14: For Father’s Day we went hiking at about 9,000 ft elevation. Before we got that high we found a wildflower meadow to explore:

Sinks Canyon

Lupine with Arrowleaf Balsamroot

Lupine with Arrowleaf Balsamroot

Wild Alberta Rose

Sticky Geranium

Dotted Blue Butterfly

We then drove up to Frye Lake with Wind River Peak in the background and found even more new wildflowers.

Frye Lake

Alpine Wallflower

Silky Phacelia

Next was hiking a bit from 8,800 ft elevation up to 9,000 to reach Roaring Fork Lake with Roaring Fork Mountain as a backdrop.

Roaring Fork Lake

Roaring Fork Mountain

Heartleaf Arnica

We decided to spend a 3 day weekend in Grand Teton National Park for our 33rd anniversary on June 20. We arrived late Thursday with this view from our cabin:

Tetons

06/20/14: Anniversary morning…

Teton sunrise

Tetons

Grand Teton with Mount Owen

Along Taggart Lake Trail

Blue Penstemon

Scarlet Gilia

Grand Teton, Mount Owen and Teewinot Mountain

Least Chipmunk

Taggart Lake

View form our cabin

Uinta Ground Squirrel

06/21/14: Today’s hike will be around Jenny Lake. Along the way stopped at the Blacktail Ponds overlook.

Blacktail Ponds overlook

In all the years of photographing hummingbirds, I had never found an active hummingbird nest until today. At the very start of our Jenny Lake Hike, we found a Calliope Hummingbird sitting on her nest.

Calliope Hummingbird on nest

Jenny Lake and “The Cathedral Group”

Oregon Grape flowers

Desert Parsley

Cathedral Group close-up

Jenny Lake, Mount St. John and Mount Moran

06/22/14

Teton sunrise

Tetons

Tetons

Tetons

Tetons

Lupine

We’re no longer sad when we have to leave The Tetons because we know they are always so close. Besides, who can complain when, after our first day back at work, we see this out our back window?

Wind River sunset

Bitterroot (pink) and Lance-leaf Stonecrop

Common Nighthawk from our back yard

07/19/2014: The Annual Rendezvous Balloon Rally in Riverton

Cold inflation of the home town lead balloon

Hot inflation

Once the lead balloon leaves, then the rest follow

Rendezvous Balloon Festival

Rendezvous Balloon Festival

Rendezvous Balloon Festival

Another rainbow from our back deck

In August we had a visit from Paula and Byron (first family members to see our new home other than Jason and Mike in May). Since they had never seen either Grand Teton National Park or Yellowstone, we took them on a whirlwind tour of both in one day!

Tetons

Cunningham Cabin

Lion Geyser

Old Faithful

Midway Geyser Basin

Excelsior Geyser Pool

Grand Prismatic Spring

Firehole Spring

Gibbon Falls

Paula & Byron on our river deck for sunset

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gq5PLGJCFOE
They even played their Native American flutes for us

We were blessed to have found 2 very good new friends here, Jackson Crawford Ph.D and his wife Katherine. Katherine is a world class fire juggler/fire spinner. She gave us a show in our back yard at dusk.

Fire spinning

Fire spinning

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHHrS-Nyzvc
Fire spinning

September 19-21, 2014: Candy and I have always wanted to see the fall colors in Grand Teton National Park. We got lucky and arrived just as the colors were peaking.

Tetons

Oxbow Bend

Oxbow Bend

Oxbow Bend

Oxbow Bend

Tetons

Aspen

Jackson Lake

Schwabacher Landing

Snake River overlook

Oxbow Bend sunset

Tetons

Taggert Lake trail

Taggert Lake trail

Taggert Lake trail

10/05/2014: Our good friends Dr. Jackson Crawford and his wife, Katherine, took us to see the Miner’s Delight ghost town on the way to the Red Desert.

Miner’s Delight

We even thought we saw some ghosts, perhaps past relatives of Katherine and Jackson?

Miner’s Delight

Miner’s Delight

Miner’s Delight

Miner’s Delight

I usually avoid posting pictures of myself, but here’s one.

Miner’s Delight

Katherine’s been framed

Miner’s Delight

Jackson and Katherine on THE Oregon Trail

Oregon Trail

Red Desert

Red Desert

Prairie Dog lookout

Desert Elk

The highlight of the day was finding 2 herds of wild Mustangs. The first let us get quite close…

Red Desert wild horses

Red Desert wild horses

Our first view of the western side of the Wind River Mountains

Western side of Wind River Range

We actually had a picnic lunch by the second group of Mustangs

Red Desert wild horses

Jackson then showed us some petroglyphs at Sinks Canyon that we didn’t know about.

Sinks Canyon petroglyphs

Sinks Canyon pictographs

Home Sweet Home

Total lunar eclipse of 10/08/2014.

Lunar Eclipse

October, 2014, fall comes a little later at our home in the valley.

Wind River fall sunrise

Wind River fall sunrise

This was actually taken at midnight with the moon for illumination.

Wind River at night

As you have saw earlier, Katherine is a fire spinner/juggler. Here she is spinning LED’s.

LED spinning

LED spinning

And now dress rehearsal for a performance at a local museum’s Halloween party.

Halloween fire spinning

Halloween fire spinning

Halloween fire spinning

11/16/14: One of the most spectacular and surreal winter phenomenon is hoar frost. Every morning I wake up hoping it happens again.

Wind River hoarfrost sunrise

This first time we saw hoar frost was with the first cold blast we had in early November with 2 nights at -20 F and it didn’t get above zero for over a week.

Wind River hoarfrost sunrise

I could make an entire blog just on sunrises and sunsets around here. Beauty like this is almost a daily occurrence yet always different.

Wind River sunrise

11/29/14: Decorating for our first Christmas in our new home.

First Wyoming Christmas

12/12/14: Possibly the most spectacular sunrise I’ve ever seen. The cloud formations were just unreal, making it look more like a painting.

Wind River sunrise pano

12/17/14: Loved our simple Nativity framed by the hoar frost covered Aspens.

Hoarfrost Nativity

During our second chance at witnessing hoar frost, while being beautiful from a distance…

Hoarfrost Russian Olive

I realized that it is also amazingly intricate in close-up…

Hoarfrost

Even to the point of seeing individual snowflake crystals, realizing these didn’t fall from the sky but were formed directly on the plants!

Hoarfrost

Hoarfrost

Hoarfrost

12/25/14: Christmas day, fresh snowfall on already snow-covered ground made for a truly white Christmas.

White Christmas

12/27/14: We took a trip up to Sink’s Canyon to see what it looks like in winter. Snow in some areas was waist deep.

Sinks Canyon

From earlier posts you may remember the Popo Agie River rapids rushing down this area…

Sinks Canyon

…then disappearing into “The Sink”

Sinks Canyon

Sinks Canyon

Sinks Canyon

Next day we headed up to the red rock formations near Dubois…

Dubois Badlands

Dubois Badlands

Dubois Badlands

Dubois Badlands

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