Yellowstone – Geysers and Mud Volcanos and Paint Pots…Oh My – Day 6 (Oct 13th)

Today was a little bit of clean-up in terms of seeing a few more places that we hadn’t got to earlier in the week.

We went through Firehole Canyon Drive on our way to Lower Geyser Basin where we did a walk-about to Fountain Paint Pot.
We continued on to Biscuit Basin  where we walked around another loop that encircled many of the key landscape features.

Made our way North around West Thumb to Pumice Point where we had a nice picnic alongside the waters edge.

We continued around the lake taking Gulf Point Drive to Bridge Bay. Afterwards we hit up LaHardys Rapids where we took a short walk along Yellowstone River.

Churning Cauldron from James Nutt on Vimeo.

Continuing onward we headed to Mud Volcano where we walked to Black Cauldron. This isn’t actually Black Cauldron,  but Churning Cauldron, a wicked continually roiling pool of water and mud.

Close Encounters… from James Nutt on Vimeo.

Along the way on Hayden Valley all traffic stopped in front of us due to these guys. It was amazing and totally scared the crap out of me. I just imagined one of these guys turning on our car and ramming it or me.

We finally make our way to Norris Geyser Basin, one of the last places we wanted to see but hadn’t been able to do so until now.

Headed back to the hotel and we once again stopped by bison crossing the road as well as seeing more elk off the side of the road.

Peace be with you!

More to come…

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Yellowstone National Park – Day 5 (Oct 12th)

Today was a bit of a busy day, although not the busiest we have planned for thus far, that comes tomorrow.😉  We officially woke up by the 8-ish o’clock hour and systematically took care of all our needs – breakfast and the like before we walk to the parking lot to see frost on the top of the car and our water-bottles we left in the car…frozen nearly all the way through. Sweet!

Almost every day we were greeted by this handsome fellow and a bevy of beauties in the field just off the road.

We stop off and get gas just to be on the safe side and the day officially begins. We decide to make a shorter day of it partly in preparation for the long day we are going to have tomorrow and partly because I needed some more time in the evenings to write and because I am old.

We make our way past Madison and Norris and head for Canyon Village where we will be visiting the Washburn Hot Springs Overlook and the Grand Canyon of The Yellowstone. It was all about seeing geysers and mud-pools and every other crazy thing along the way we could visit. If we saw a critter we stopped. If we saw an interesting landscape feature…we stopped. It was all about seeing as much as possible.

It is really hard to explain the magnitude of all the impressive scapes we saw. I will let the pictures do the talking for me much more than my prattling on.

One of the first stops we made was at Gibbons Falls. The first pic on this post.

Next we stopped by Beryl Springs (this might have been my favorite pic of the day). The hot spring spouts steam all the time and coats the surrounding trees with the vapor. This is all well and good and during the day you don’t notice anything except maybe wet needles. During this time of year when things freeze at night. You get this effect in the morning before it has a chance to melt off. I imagine during the winter it sticks around all the time but as it isn’t winter…yet, we got to view this during the only time you can, in the morning.

We eventually made our way to Artists Paint Pots – many multi-colored pools as well as a few that spouted mud. It was cold out but we managed the entire circuit around this stop.

Later on we stopped at a nice open field for lunch. No else was around although we were kept company by a rather large and inquisitive crow. He was quite talkative too and edged ever closer whenever we let him.

We continued our trek around South Rim, North Rim, Upper Falls, Lookout Point, Grand View finally ending up at Washburn Hot Springs Overlook.

This is such a great view. One of thousands we have seen.

Peace be with you!
More to come…

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Yellowstone…at last! – Day 4 (Oct 11th)

We started the day by going out to breakfast at a really nice local place called Cafe Genevieve. It was a nice change of pace from eating hard boiled eggs for breakfast, which I had been doing the last several mornings. Jessica had huevos rancheros and I had biscuits and cajun gravy with a side of potatoes. Delicious!.

After breakfast we made our way from Jackson Hole in Wyoming and then drove into West Yellowstone, Montana. Along the way we stopped off at many areas to view the scenery and much of the wildlife that you might expect to see in Yellowstone such as buffalo, elk, wolves to name a few.

We also took time to stop in at the visitor center in Moose, Wyoming located in the Tetons. It was amazing. So much of the history, conservation practices of so many people so that we can enjoy all of this is sobering. I am humbled to see the amount of effort these people have gone through so that folks like me and my wife can visit when we want to.

During our journey today we managed to find a really secluded area that was at least a mile off the highway and once stopped and we were out of the car was so quiet. I think I have only experienced this kind of quiet before and that was when Jessica and I visited White Sands, New Mexico. It is deathly quiet. It was like that here too. Peaceful with just a hint of hyper-awareness of your surroundings lest a bear come upon us unawares.

After a bit of a drive, we stop off at one of the many geyser stops within Yellowstone (near our vicinity). It of course started to snow. Not to be daunted by mother-nature, we walk the wooden foot path that takes you around all of the guysers. It was amazing, if not cold as hell.

We continued our journey and eventually make our way to Old Faithful. This is really the epitome of this section of Yellowstone. There is a massive resort setup for the tourists and campers, more wooden foot-bridges and all the while with wild life just hanging out. We saw more buffalo and a wolf while making our way around all the other geysers not named “Old Faithful.” Oh, and I have to say this, we walked within 15-20 feet of a buffalo. Not that I recommend doing this but it had held the path hostage that we needed to use to get back to the parking lot. It came to a point after some minutes of the MASSIVE animal grazing the delectable grass on the opposite side of the path that a group of tourists, including ourselves, decide to quickly, calmly and quietly walk past the animal. We thought it was a big deal but he didn’t seem too impressed. I would be remiss if I didn’t show a pic of “Old faithful” here it is.

Who says bison don’t share the walk-way? from James Nutt on Vimeo. The video above was either going to be really exciting or maybe the last I ever record had things gone differently.

We we started back on the road finally deciding to make our way to our resort in West Yellowstone, we have our car stopped, traffic in both directions actually, by a large grizzled grey wolf. That was his coloring not necessarily his breed. He was taking his time crossing the road apparently keeping company with a smaller white/grey wolf walking a long the small river in the distance some 100 yards.

We also managed to see an elk cow and her young a bit later closer to the town we were heading to for the night. That was sweet.

Once in the town, we stop in at grocery store for some needed provisions…and alcohol for the next 3 days. That’s how they do in Montana – selling booze with the groceries. I love it.

Finally make it to our resort and crash for the night, left over Thai food for dinner in one hand and a cocktail in the other.Couldn’t find the Cubs vs SF Giants on t.v. so we are streaming it through Jessica’s phone. Go Cubs!

Peace be with you!

More to come…

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Yellowstone is in sight! But first – The Tetons – Day 2 (Oct 9th)

Id like to start off by stating that this morning whilst I was adding pictures to the three blog posts I had ready but hadn’t added pics to yet, I accidentally published the 2nd of the posts, putting the first two out of order by a day. If you can move past that inconsistently, I think the rest of the posts are in order and will be to your liking.

A few corrections from my previous days’ post. I believe I made the point that we were traveling through Idaho for much of the day. That was actually not true; we were traveling through Oregon only just getting into Idaho late yesterday. So my comparison about the two states was actually me saying Oregon was much like…Oregon when it was all said and done. Helps to know what you’re talking about when talking about it. My apologies for the inaccuracies.

Today we edge a bit closer to our ultimate destination, Yellowstone National Park. We have crossed thru Idaho and are staying a couple nights in Wyoming after two long days of driving.

For much of the day we were in rolling hills containing lots of farms. Corn was much in evidence as well as greens of some kind, maybe kale. I saw truck-loads of onions but no fields indicating that is where they were being grown. There was also many farms dedicated to just growing hey and alfalfa as hill after hill had bails set neatly in rows waiting to be picked up by the bail collector. It was amazing seeing so much of the freeway scenery being dedicated to agriculture.

Early in our travels today we did see a herd of about maybe a dozen elk right alongside the road. Aside from that herd, we only saw avians; a single bald eagle, many hawks and crows as well as a few magpies.

So, for much of the day we spent alongside the Snake River. It is a slow meandering river as the name would suggest. At one point we stopped in Twin Falls, Idaho to take a break and what better place to do it at than this bridge. The view is spectacular. It stands about 200 feet above the water and has a walking path for a better a view underneath.

During the day as we sometimes do when we have some driving to do, we stopped off for coffee at a local place. We were getting some iced Mexi-mochas. The lady at the counter informed us that the chocolate powder that they use for their Mexi-mochas was not good for iced drinks. All of us sat there thinking about how to make this happen given our limited choices. They suggested Ghiridelli chocolate sauce. We suggested cinnamon syrup and they came up with cayenne powder for some bite. They mixed it all up and it was fantastic!

We continued the drive and stopped off to have lunch at Murtaugh Lake. After lunch we started the last leg of the day by heading to I-84 to I-86 to I-15. Then we went east on 26 through Swan Valley and Palisades, ID and Alpine, WY to Jackson (Hole), WY. We stayed at the Flat Creek Inn, just outside of town.

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Grand Teton National Park – Day 3 (Oct 10th)

A quick recap from the previous day; we spent much of it driving, arriving at our destination of Jackson Hole Wyoming. After a long day of driving from Boise Idaho, we arrived, checked into our hotel just on the outside of town and got down to business; what was for dinner. Jessica had been checking out the local places for food before we arrived. We decided on Thai food. Always a good choice in my opinion. The town is small on the order of just under 10,000 population but still managed to have several Thai places as well as several alternative joints. It was so good.

Today was a great day. We spent it tooling around in the car going from one place to the next just experiencing Wyoming; specifically the Grand Teton National Park. As it was a national park, much of what we experienced was turn-outs and designated roads to scenic viewpoints.

What to say about what it is like experiencing all of this beautiful country – go and do it…NOW! You will never regret it and who isn’t better off seeing this wonderful country we live in? No one – that’s who. My wife and her family did many road trips as she was growing up. I never experienced that sort of thing, traveling largely to Mt. Hood about 60 miles away and once or twice we went to Bend. Nothing compares though to the experience of driving hundreds and hundreds of miles to a place you likely have just heard about or watched on t.v. For me, this has been an amazing trip so far and its not even half over yet!

I think we drove only about 80 miles in total but spent most of the day, right after breakfast, out and about. We saw a Moose in the city of Moose. We saw a herd of buffalo in Elk. We saw pronghorn antelope and either a coyote or fox in the fields that span either side of the roads that we travel going from place to today. We managed to see a tiny gartner snake and several large crows/ravens.

The unspoken and ultimate show-stealer today by far (in my opinion) was the Tetons. These majestic geological entities are a reminder just how amazing and diverse our landscape is. Earlier this year my wife and I were fortunate enough to visit the Canadian Rockies. There were similarities for sure but I think the Canadian Rockies were a bit taller, but both formations are amazing to see and should be visited if ever you get the chance.

I think I will just leave the post here until the next one tomorrow.
Peace be with you!

More to come…

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Yellowstone, here we come! – Day 1 (Oct 8th)

Today we headed out on another Road Trip! This time we are visiting Yellowstone National Park. The travel was good and in mostly clear weather with the occasional spits of rain showers. The clouds that formed during this time were exceptional and with the landscape being rolling hills for many many miles, sometimes we were forced to look up for the really excpetional pics. here are a few.


The sun and clouds had a little dance for most of the day.

The sun and clouds had a little dance for most of the day.


At the end of the first day we have made it to Boise Idaho. It was a long day of driving but as it has been said many times before, “It’s the journey not the destination.” I must say that I have to agree with that sentiment, although it was not always so. I used think that the activity that I was engaging in once I reached the destination was the real pay-off. This was most often observed when I would go camping. The idea was to hurry up and get to wherever we were going, set up the tents and gazebo(s) if necessary and then get out the games and drink of choice. I think that I have learned to appreciate the differences in geography and weather and the companionship of the ride. It has made a real difference in my travel experiences.

Another expressive and impressive look upwords

Another expressive and impressive look upwords

What can I say about Idaho; I think that there are a helluyva lot fewer trees, (which I miss) and there are more hills which I don’t miss. It seems much like Bend Oregon to me. In a lot of ways they are similar.

What an amazing sunset!

What an amazing sunset!

After we arrrived at our hotel for the night, we unload our bags in the room and make our to a local place for dinner. I had a French Dip which was fantastic, the lemongrass and orzo soup were both great but the charred kale salad Jessica had was actually terrible. The beers were a little better in that there was at least something we could each drink. They sold there drinks in 4, 8 and 12 oz glasses so we created our own flight of beers.

We got to create our own flight of beers.

We got to create our own flight of beers.

Here is the list of our beers. Mine is on the left and Jessica's is on the right. Her beers are in the background.

Here is the list of our beers. Mine is on the left and Jessica’s is on the right. Her beers are in the background.

After dinner we made our way back to the hotel and grabbed a margarita that was comped to us. Score! We ended getting another couple to complete the evening. All in all, a pretty good day.
Peace be with you!

More to come…

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Yes, another boring fishing tale…or is it?

After having shaken off the lethargy from lack of sleep after a terribly busy (birthday) weekend, I would like to share a fishing story plus a few photos I took whilst I was at one of my all-time favorite spots to camp and fish at – Trillium Lake, located just a few miles East past Government Camp on Mt. Hood.

Sunday morning started off well enough with waking up at 4am. That part of the plan went well enough. Routines were in place and things were firing on all cylinders, wake up (check), grab clothes laid out the night before and make to bathroom so as not to wake up sleeping wife (check), make thermos of coffee (check), make sandwich (PB & J…of course – check), grab jacket & satchel and head out (check). So far everything went as planned. It was like all the stars aligned to present me with the gift of an awesome day of fishing.

I will stop the story right here and say that on Saturday, while it was raining, I did load up the kayak in the J-hooks on the roof, load the paddle, life jacket, fishing pole and fishing vest containing all my gear and license. I was going fishing come hell or high-water.

I chose the kayak as opposed to my kick-ass pontoon boat because of the ease with which I can load and unload it as well as how quickly and easily it moves through the water. Taking 20 minutes to prep the pontoon boat before fishing was not an option. It is built for comfort not speed. If you recall from one of my earlier posts, the last time I went fishing and not catching. I was determined to not have that be the case this time. I wanted to hit the water as the sun lit up the sky and those minutes were precious dammit.

Back to the story…I was on the road by 4:30am and the darkness is still complete outside. It felt like it had rained during the night but wasn’t at the moment. I headed out and made my way to McDonald’s to grab some hot chocolate and a sausage biscuit as well as making change to pay the $5 day-pass fee for the days activities. Money well spent. It rained off and on while I was driving but stopped about 10 minutes before I arrived at Trillium. NICE!

The road was quiet with but for the occasional traveler seeking their own destinations.  I made good time and was happy that the sun had not yet reached the treetops when I finally made my way into the day use area at Trillium Lake. I paid the day-use fee and made my way to the boat ramp to offload the kayak and gear. Once complete, I drove the short distance to the parking lot and parked making sure I had left nothing behind. On the walk back to the kayak, I stopped at the restroom one last time before boarding my mighty water craft and taking to the water.

Still the sun had not arisen yet. This is good for as soon as it was light enough to launch, I would be doing so. As I arrived at the kayak there were a couple young gentlemen taking pictures of early morning Mt. Hood. The top of the mountain was obscured with clouds but the lower parts had some amount of snow already. Winter is coming.

Soon I had strapped on or stowed all my gear in various compartments on the kayak, put on my jacket, life jacket and fishing vest over all, climbed inside the kayak and launched as the sky had started to lighten. Perfect timing!

As I launched and for much of the day there was fog on the water. It was a marvelous spectacle to witness. I made my way out to the far side of Trillium between the 2 beaver lodges that are prominently featured on the lake landscape. The only sound was of my paddle entering the water and the water dripping off it when I would just glide into the slightly obscured perfectly smooth water.

Once I felt I was in the right spot I turned the kayak so as to face the boat launch and have by back to the beaver lodges. The sun had by this time lit up the sky but had not come over the tops of the trees yet. I unhooked my fishing pole and was getting ready to bait my hook when on silent wings a bald eagle quietly swooped over the water, zoomed in on its target and in one practiced move claimed the first fish of the day. It was truly magical. All I could do was stare in wonderment. You see this image or scene play out in pictures or OPB specials on t.v but to witness it in real life is something else altogether. A buddy of mine said to me last night at bowling that the memory of that scene will stick with me more than if I had taken pictures or a video of it. After initially thinking he was wacked out of his gourd, I got to thinking that maybe he was right after-all. Some things really just need to be experienced and documented only with our eyes. I am not sad I couldn’t share a pic of the bald eagle with you (okay maybe a little bit) but maybe you will just have to go up to Trillium Lake or wherever your favorite avian watching spot is and experience your own magic.

After the moment passed, I finished baiting my hook with rainbow power-bait and cast my hopes into the water. I think maybe I cast a hook too. I then took to unhooking my thermos from where I had tucked it under one of the nylon stretchy chords that run the length of the kayak and poured myself my first cup of the day. I hadn’t taken 3 sips when I got my first (of many) strike(s) of the day. I sat my cup down grabbed my pole that had been balancing on my lap and the lip of the opening on my kayak and waited. As soon as the next strike happened, I yanked to set the hook. My action was rewarded with my first FISH ON!

The next 2 hours were very similar to this; I re-baited my hook and cast into where I thought looked good and poured another cup of coffee. Time after time I was interrupted from my morning cup(s) o’joe and would set the hook and reel in another fish. It was rough!😉 I did come up to Catch after-all.

In contrast with my last fishing adventure, where I didn’t even get so much as a nibble, this was glorious fishing chaos. Your line would tangle and you would grumble and swear at the duplicity of 2 separate lines, one having the weight and the other the hook, getting tangled when they knew as well as I did that every moment they weren’t in the water that the fish were swimming right past were they would have been had they cooperated just a little bit and not got tangled. My word, it’s like 2 little kids that get started shoving each other. Neither one of them want to stop getting in the others space. It’s all terribly exciting. It keeps the adrenaline flowing that’s for sure.

I even managed to lose my entire rig once when as I was casting. The bail of my reel flipped over and stopped the line from coming off the spool in sudden and dramatic fashion after one spectacular cast. Off my line went sailing connected to both my weight and hook. Sadly there wasn’t anything I could do to retrieve it. I spent the next 20 minutes setting up my rig again. You may be thinking why it would take such a long time to do this simple task. The answer I would give is that I have no steady place to do this from. All my gear is in my fishing jacket and after I get one thing out, say like my pocket knife to cut excess line with, I have to place it back in the pocket from whence it came and move onto the next thing. This all so that nothing would fall into the water from the kayak moving at my slightest motions.

This went on for too brief a time before I was heading back to the boat launch. As I beached the kayak and was heading back to my car I ran into another angler getting ready to go out in his own flotation device. It was like a chair that you say on and propelled with your flippered feet that dangled in the water. As I got closer and was about the make some small talk, as I am want to do, he glanced up presumably to do the same when we recognized each other almost instantly. It was a co-worker of mine. After a minute of chatting, another co-worker and his companion for the days activities joined us. We all chuckled about the coincidence. The first co-worker continued to ready his craft and the other would be fishing from the dock. I said I would join him on the dock for a few once I stowed all my gear.

After dealing with my gear and once again parking, I joined my co-worker on the dock. There was one other person there fishing too, a women whom I spoke with as I was just making my way back to the boat ramp from my initial outing. Then she had asked what I was using and had I any luck etc…The sorts of things you ask another angler. This time she told me what she had been trying…with no luck.

A few moments was all it took for the bug to bite me and back to my car I went to retrieve my pole and vest. I set up on the dock closest to the boat ramp and without any real expectations of catching anything. Soon I found myself reeling in four more fish, the largest being 14 inches in length. Everybody was agog at my luck when they hadn’t even caught one during this same stretch of time.

Soon they were asking what bait I was using and what type of setup I had. I was happy to share. The woman that was fishing alongside who I chatted with earlier asked if I minded that she move closer to where I was and cast closer to where all the fish were coming from. I said I would trade spots with her because in all honesty, I was a little embarrassed and my great fortune thus far.

Soon after this conversation another gentlemen showed up and started to catch fish. I must say I was a little relieved. I even moved spots and changed bait and had more bites but no more fish. I think there were some logs in front of where we were fishing for three of us had fish strike our hooks and then after we set them the fish went somewhere, presumably under this phantom log, where the line would snag and eventually snapped. THREE of us had this happen. It was odd.

About noon I wrapped up with nine fish in tow. Their sizes were 1 x 17 inches, 2 x 14 inches and the rest were between 9-11 inches. It was glorious.

I stopped off at a small food-mart on the way home as is tradition to grab lunch consisting of a few Jo-jo’s, a chicken strip (with ranch to dip in) and a coke. My fishing excursion was now complete. It started to rain about 10 minutes after I grabbed my traditional fishing lunch. Poetic!

After getting home, I put all my gear away, hung up the kayak in the back yard, cleaned all nine fish, placed them in freezer bags and stowed them in the freezer.

Mission Accomplished!

Peace be with you!

More to come…



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