Tuesday, September 27, 2016


We parked the motor home at Henrys Lake State Park  west  of West Yellowstone in the Island Park area for a week beginning Sept. 11. Heavy rain kept us from sight- seeing for the first two days.  After  the rainy weather began to lift in the afternoons, we took rides to Big Springs, the falls of the Henrys  Branch of the Snake River and the site of the 1959 earthquake which caused a huge landslide  forming a dam of the Madison River taking the lives of 28 campers. There are “must see” things outside Yellowstone NP.




Big Springs is an area about 1/4 mile long and about 20 – 30 yards wide in which water rises forming the headwater of Henrys Fork of the Snake River. The cabin and water wheel were built by Johnny Sack on land leased from the US Forest Service. His home and the furniture he built are now owned by the USFS and are on display to visitors in the summer.



This is the opposite end of the area of the springs, said to be one of the 40 largest natural springs in the world.




The daily outflow of water from Big Springs is over 120 million gallons at 52 degrees flowing down this channel.



Jo at the brink of the 114 ft.  upper Mesa Falls of the Henrys Fork.




And there is a lower falls as well, viewable only from a distance.





40 million cubic yards of material slid from the side of this mountain down the the Madison River at the bottom of the canyon, and up the other side.

The large rocks center and left were at the bottom of he valley before the slide and were pushed this high on the opposite side.






View from the Visitors Center of the area from which the slide fell.




The Visitors Center displayed these drawings explaining the before and after of the earthquake – landslide.









Here is Quake Lake created from the Madison River by the landslide dam as modified by the Corps of Engineers. The view is from the Visitors Center which offers a lot of information about the earthquake and landslide.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1959_Hebgen_Lake_earthquake has more information.


After 5 days of rain or cloudy skies much of the day, we finally had a clearer day forecast, so we took our first run into the park, I had planned to drive the lower loop the first day and the upper loop the next. But about 20 miles of the upper road loop was closed for construction, so we spent all of our time on the lower loop. Pictures are taken in the Canon A 720 IS camera

While in the park we saw lots of bison, elk, 3 mule deer  and even a coyote.




Our first stop was at Midway Geyser Basin.   




Outflow from Grand Prismatic Spring into the Firehole River.




Our next stop was at the Upper Geyser basin, home of Old Faithful. Here is the crowd awaiting the next scheduled eruption. It occurred close to the time predicted.




This boson was feeding closer to Old Faithful than spectators were allowed. He did not react to the eruption, except to lie down and roll in some dust.




Here is the eruption we awaited. The water actually erupting is masked to the steam or earlier pulses of the eruption.




Castle Geyser was emitting a little steam.




Geyser Hill is surrounded by a boardwalk.




Kepler Cascades, just east of the Old Faithful area.




Nice blue pool in the West Thumb Geyser Basin short walk.




When I took this shot across Yellowstone Lake I thought that the snow capped mountains were the Grand Tetons. But after looking at a map, they appear to be peaks in the Absaroka Mountains, with several  around 11,000 ft. or more.




I took the short walk to the Artists Paint Pots geysers. The boardwalk continued up the hill at the left, but my mild COPD dissuaded me from tackling it.




Another nice pale blue hot spring with rising boiling water.


Our last day at Yellowstone was a fairly nice one. I visited most of the sites on the lower loop which we skipped the day before.  I wanted to get pictures both in the digital camera (Canon A 720 IS) for the blog and to use up a roll of color print film in my Canon 35 mm SLR. Jo elected to stay in the motor home at Henrys Lake.




This is the view from our motor home parked at Henrys Lake on one of the clearer days we were there.  The rainbow is barely visible.



Falls of the Gibbon River




The Norris Geyser Basin was nice, particularly the first two named features. One of their  attractions is  that they are the first two on a trail which has has lots of change in elevation beyond them. A ranger suggested that I visit just them to avoid a lot of huffing and puffing were I to see the rest. I followed her advice.

Above and below are shots of Emerald Pool.




Next was Steamboat Geyser.



Steamboat Geyser was co-operating with minor eruptions of 8 to 10 feet while I was watching it.




But it was  difficult to get a picture showing the small eruptions.The  accompanying steam  somewhat masked the jets of water coming  out of its two vents.








This is a dormant thermal area in the Norris Geyser Basin. Signs made it clear that it may be dormant forever, or it may pop back into life tomorrow or in a hundred years.





I had lunch in the café at Canyon Village.The wait persons did a great job at serving orders quickly. Many of the customers were oriental.




Virginia Cascade is not a falls but a stream  falling a long way over rocks of increasing steepness.




Here is the Upper falls of the Yellowstone River with the the highway bridge in the background..



Not a selfie – a fellow tourist took this one of me at Artists Point with the lower falls of the Yellowstone river in the background..




The lower falls and the canyon




This is the more traditional  view of the lower falls.




Yellowstone Canyon looking downstream from Artist’s Point.




A bull elk had with him a herd of 12 cows and calves right across the Madison River from the highway. While we were watching he gently urged those resting to get up and head up the slope in  back of the meadow.

Saturday, September 10, 2016


Finally on Sept. 10  we had a warm day of mostly bright blue sky, ideal for taking the 40 mile ride north of White Sulphur Springs through the Lewis  and Clark National Forest over Kings Hill Pass in the Little Belt Mountains. The road was excellent – no  steep grades and plenty wide to feel comfortable in meeting a semi. We did not.



The Showdown Ski Area is  near the  pass. It has a few more runs than shown at the top of  the picture.


At the pass we were treated to a view of snow on the distant Big Baldy Mountain (9177 ft.).


I had to climb a bank to get this shot of the sign confirming that we were at the pass  of 7393 ft. elevation.


One of our goals on this day trip was to hike to the falls on Bolt Creek. Here is Jo at the entrance to the trail. I was told that it involved very little change of elevation, but it was sufficiently steep to keep me panting between rest breaks most of the way up. The sign told us that it was 1800 feet to the lower falls and an additional 600 ft. to the upper falls. We are saving the latter until the next time!

Below is our first view of the creek.






And here is the falls.



Going up the trail we met a couple with four children and one dog coming down the trail.  Their other dog had  gotten away and would not respond to calling. When we got to the falls  Jo was able to grab the lead on the missing dog.  I had to hold the lead while Jo took my picture. The father came back to retrieve his dog from Jo, with many thanks.


Continuing north, we stopped at a scenic view called Sluice Boxes. The valley is a primitive state park with a 7.5 mile hiking trail.  The upper curved line in the valley is the roadbed of the Great Northern RR which followed Bolt Creek up the canyon to Monarch and Neihart.  They were founded as mining towns in the 1880s for ore with gold, silver, zinc and lead.



Here is proof that the Great Northern once served Neihart.  The roadbed was abandoned after WW II.  The old depot is now a residence.


This town, the county seat, reflects the fact that agriculture is the largest local industry.  A railroad once served the town and its grain elevator. Remnants of its roadbed are visible  south of the town.

Pictures are by the Canon A 720 IS point and shoot 8 mp camera.( I guess that this blog reflects the few things there are to do in this small town!)




This pre WW II Chevrolet truck looks like with a little care and maintenance it could again serve as a farm truck.




The White Sulphur Springs &Yellowstone RR, a 22 mile short line,  served the town until 1980 when its connection to mainline was lost as the Milwaukee Road abandoned its track to Ringling at the other end of the line. The railroad depot probably is in its original location. Three cars are stored next to it.




The first of two passenger cars is Northern Pacific’s car no 633. Both passenger cars have two 6 wheel trucks.




The second passenger car is hard to identify at a glance, but the logo of its line shows that it is from the Grand Trunk Western RR. The pattern of painted over letters on the upper side confirms. The third car is a stock car.







 Near the depot and cars is the Spencer mansion. Its owner became wealthy from early gold mining.



Across the street from the Spencer mansion is the mansion built by Dr. Parberry in 1892. It appears to have been converted to apartments.




The town’s third mansion is now a museum operated by the local historical society. When we visited, no one was there to let us in, although it was supposed to be open according to the brochure.



This mansion is called the Castle. It was built in the 1892 by Mr. Sherman, a local rancher. Water flowing from a well on the hilltop property provided electricity for both the mansion and the town for a few hours every day while the flow from the well was adequate to run the turbines at the bottom of the hill..