Friday, April 24, 2015

More Yellowstone

I am continuing my love of Yellowstone by watching Ken Burn's The National Parks-America's Best Idea.  It's hard to wrap my head around the whole idea of national parks and the creation of most of the parks, is barely 100 years old.  And some of our parks owe a great deal of thanks to some rich people who gave a lot of time and money to this idea.

But here are a few more pictures from my brief journey through part of Yellowstone.

On the hillside to the Boiling River.

The water is a brilliant, bright blue.  And boiling!  As in majorly boiling and bubbling.

The colors of the minerals from the waters.

And creeks, streams and rivers everywhere.  Tumbling over rocks and boulders.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Week in Review/Mandala Monday - Yellowstone!!!

Normally I do my week in review on Sunday mornings, enjoying the quiet with a cup of coffee.  I use that time to reflect and plan the coming week.  Possibly crank out a few other posts.  Maybe a mandala or other photoshop play image.

However, this past Sunday, I was on the road at 7 a.m., dropping off Savvy at work, with Texter and Lady K in tow for a trip to Yellowstone and the Boiling River.  This was a hike I missed in February of 2014 due to the flu and was a bit upset about.  However, I am glad I waited and had 2 of the 3 girls with me.  It was also one of the handful of days when the park waives the $25 per car entry fee.

I have to say right off the bat, Texter was the main photographer on this trip as I was busy driving.  And avoiding 4 legged road blocks, as you will see later.  With about 400 pictures on my computer, I think we documented what we saw pretty well.

The sign over the North Entrance arch.  As the road is pretty narrow there, you can tell they weren't expecting the RV's and cars of today when it was built.

Right before the turnoff into the Boiling River is this sign.  Halfway between Santa and a sunburn and pina colada. 

The other side of the road from the sign.

The scenery we were 'forced' to endure.

Texter and Lady K took turns pulling 'waggy' down the trail.  It's a short hike on a wide path, so bringing the wagon was great for all the towels and clothes we needed to lug in.  There is no 'changing' room at the Boiling River.  We had our swim stuff on under our sweats when we went in and then changed Lady K at the site.  We walked back in our clothes (with a bit of cover up) and changed in the toilet there at the parking area.  This is NOT spa-like, so if that's what is wanted, don't bother here.  But if you want an 'experience' to enjoy and remember, this is it.

You could see the plumes of steam from way down the path.  You basically walked pass where we were sitting and make a u-turn to get into the water.

You definitely need water shoes to navigate the rocks (which are smooth).  You also have to find that 'spot' between the hot water on the right side of the picture and the freezing water on the left side.

Don-the-hiker-man and Texter were scoping out the other bathers.

The rock formations where the hot water from the Boiling River meets the cold waters of the Gibbon River are interesting.

Texter is waiting for Kayden and I to make our way into the river.  The current was really strong and, of course, the rocks were, well, rocky.  But other bathers were so helpful and gracious assisting Texter and Lady K into a spot where they would be comfortable.

(Editorial Note:  I have found hikers some of the nicest, most giving, people around.  Every time we go somewhere, they are more than willing to help out.  Without even being asked or expected.  If you want a pastime where you meet the best people, take up hiking.)

And yes, it is!  I love a hot bath, but in spots this was way beyond what I would bath in.

One of the hikers in our group took this picture.  Lady K takes a few minutes to scope out a situation and then is right in there with everyone.  The problem is finding a spot not too cold or too hot.  Unfortunately, this part of a Yellowstone trip will not be repeated until she is much older and can make her own way through the swift current.  The life jacket we bought a couple of weeks ago, we forgot and left at home.  Swimming lessons are definitely in her future.

On the way back up the trail, we passed an elk carcass.  It seems it had been by the river, but dragged up to the path by rangers.  They were getting ready to move it completely away from the trail and the Boiling River site as a bear had been sighted eating on it.  A dining bear and dozens of people in a close area is not a formula for success.  

We did take a picture of the carcass (ok, we are weird) and Lady K was not in the least put off by the sight or the smell.  She was really to poke it.  I think she got that from her Aunt Savvy.

We changed and had lunch in the parking lot.  Since we were here, it was only about 1 p.m., Texter and I decided we really, really needed to try and see Old Faithful.  Don-the-hiker-man and the other hiker decided to make a shorter trip, as they both needed to be back at a reasonable time since they had work Monday.

We both drove on down to Mammoth and stopped at the visitor center.  I really need to come back when more things are open and look around.

There are warnings about approaching the wildlife.  But they seemed pretty friendly.  They even used the cross walks!

And were waiting for their mail to arrive.

Then we drove further into the park.  Old Faithful was only 50 miles away.

Looking back down at Mammoth.

First off, let me say "Yellowstone - WOW".  I can understand why it is on just about every list of places to see before you die.  The wildlife is everywhere.  We were fortunate enough to see not only deer, but elk and buffalo.  We were hoping for a bear and/or a moose, but that didn't happen - this time.

The hundreds of hot spots, sending up plumes of steam.  Dozens of streams and rivers.  Walking trails built so you can enjoy safely and still get up close.  The limited amount of actual roadways in the park so as to protect the land and animals.  Stunning views everywhere you look.  I am just disappointed Lady K won't remember this later on since she is only two.  But she will be back again and again if I have my way!

This seems like the perfect picture for Yellowstone.  The steam from the hot water in the background, with bison, or 'bi-sees' as Lady K calls the 'cows', grazing nearby.

Around every corner there are hot spots.  Makes me a little leery of venturing off hiking across country.  I don't want to become a boil-in-bag.

Areas were there are several hot spots look surreal, something out of a scifi movie.  And a part of me wants to go over and get a rock.

If nothing else, the smell sometimes will deter you from getting too close.  Telephoto lens are your best friend at times.

Another waterfall.  There is just too much to see.  I think you could stay in Yellowstone for decades and not see everything.  But there are plenty of turn outs so you can stop (most of the time).  And to let those who are less into scenery than you are, go by.

We stopped at Gibbon Falls and walked out to view the falls.

They have done an excellent job throughout the park giving you access to lovely vistas without harm to you or the environment.

Someone, with her 'eyes' doesn't want to get back into the car.

A Yellowstone road block.  They could have cared less about the cars.  Personally, I think they get together and plan this out, just to see how ticked off some people can get about being held up.

Lady K was uninterested in parts of the trip, unless the 'bi-sees' were right by the car.

We made it to Old Faithful.  In a way it was a bit of a disappointment as there is a whole 'village' on one side of the geysers.  However, this is a really nice visitor's center and a boardwalk around Old Faithful and down through some of the other geysers in the area.

And it is just 'right there'.  Something I had only seen on TV for decades and it is right there.

Texter and Lady K waiting for Old Faithful to erupt.  It was a bit chilly, so we had our blankets to stay warm.  I was a bit surprised by how much Texter enjoyed the trip and she can't wait to come back with Savvy for another look around.

Lady K was doing what everyone else did, take pictures with 'her' phone.  She was walking around the boardwalk, phone up, and taking in the scene.  Between running down the path like a crazy person.  

Then we heard gurgling and hissing and Old Faithful did his thing.

Texter and Kayden celebrated being at Yellowstone and seeing Old Faithful.

One tired hiker/explorer.  We did have one car sick episode on our way out of the park.  Thank goodness no bison or bears to stop us from pulling over and cleaning her up.

We pulled back into the driveway at 10 p.m.  It was a long, long day, but one I can't wait to do again.  I want to take Savvy.  In my head I have planned an earlier departure, more food/snacks and no stop for dip in the Boiling River.

So off to clean out the car (and take a nap) and plan my next trip to Yellowstone. Even paying the $25 a car, it is a bargain and worth much, much more.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Joys of a Writing Group

At the end of the year I finally decided to 'come out of my isolation' and create a writing group.  While it is not standing room only for the privilege of writing with me, there is a pretty solid core group of participants.  And they lend a wide variety of styles and information. "Writing Buddies!" People who understand the pitfalls and perils of the written word.

Another good thing about the writing group is we are all pretty much on the scifi/fantasy roller coaster.  Which leads to some good discussions.  Like comparing the TV show "Babylon 5" to Tolkien. Which means I am awaiting the loan of the complete series to watch.  

image courtesy of
I have gone through 'Star Trek', for the most part.  Texter just finished up 'Supernatural' and is currently on 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' (Spike is mine!).  

I have more than just a passing interest in sitting down and watching the series.  It means I can knit!  And boy, do I have knitting to do. I need to finish up my Dr. Who scarf.  I have the yarn for a pair of socks (yep, again socks - let's see if I finish it up).  I need to crank out a piece for a friend. 

I figure knitting is fairly safe from Lady K's assistance.  Much more than if I set up a table for sewing.  That will be my next adventure.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Mandala Monday

No mandala today.  Have 'car' issues and am bumming about it.  I hate it when the car doesn't work. Anyway, I worked my way through some techniques from the book Photoshop Down and Dirty Tricks for Designers by Corey Baker. I had volume two we used in a class last semester and enjoyed it and borrowed this one on interlibrary loan.  

Juba Seedcrone is the character in a book I am currently working on.  So instead of my name, I used her's. This lesson was all about 'cracks' and creating a brush to allow you to make cracks.

Savvy in her raiders outfit for MisCon. She wanted gritty and edgy, so I tried to give her gritty and edgy.

I like this one.  Several different techniques and created a 'tree' via Photoshop.

And finally, my reminder to 'write'. A few techniques learned here.

I enjoy working through tutorials, mainly because it makes me use tools in Photoshop I didn't know existed or didn't know it did 'this' or 'that'.  A fun way to spent a few hours.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Week in Review

It has been a strange week.  Like this morning, walked outside with the dogs and there is a light dusting of snow.  This is despite the temperatures have been such a light jacket during the day is all that is necessary.  And I sleep with my window cracked at a night (really, all day long).

Last Sunday was spent writing up postings for last week and recuperating from the hike on Saturday.

  • 5 posts written last week
  • started rewrites on first part of novel for submission to Miscon
Tuesday, Savvy was off work and came downtown with me to wander around while I was working.  She spent the day in shops, pulling together bits and pieces of her cosplay outfit for Miscon.  
Her character is a raider in a post apocalyptic world.  To back up a bit, we like furs.  PETA wouldn't do well in our house.  And she found a fur.

This is Bugeye.  We are not sure exactly what kind or kinds of animal he use to be.  Currently, he only has 3 legs and is over 3 feet long.  He was suppose to be a stole of some kind as his mouth is one of those 'clippy' mouths found on furs.  Other than that, not sure.  I consider him a 'foxsel' - a cross between a fox and a weasel.  Savvy loves Bugeye.

  • had my writing group meeting
  • walked 34,057 steps or 15.58 miles
  • finished up 3 books

Thursday was spent at the fair grounds, assisting Savvy with a job fair.  Her first one.  Qdoba was the only food service business represented and I think she did pretty well, getting about a dozen applicants.  I, on the other hand, came home with several pens and other goodies.

Saturday, Texter and I cleaned most of the apartment.  I mean CLEANED.  We hung up a closet organizer from the ceiling for Lady K's clothes and pulled out several bags of junk from her room to get trashed.  Clothes and toys are being sorted through for an upcoming yard sale for her Nagacon group.

So today, I am feeling lazy.  And will probably (hopefully) spend the day in my room writing. And reading. Finishing up the movie "The Theory of Everything" about Stephen Hawking.  Very good movie.