Follow this link to see a full album of our photos from the third day of our travels.
On our last day in Grand Teton National Park, blue skies returned, except for low clouds that hung out just below the peaks of each mountain in the range. We checked out of Colter Bay Village saying goodbye to the tent-cabin and its cozy woodstove. We drove to Jenny Lake where the parking lot was full of vehicles. We took the shuttle boat named for “Beaver Dick” Leigh across the lake, and then hiked up to Hidden Falls. Although a short, easy hike it does count as our first hike in Rocky Mountains.
Shuttling back across the lake, we returned to our campervan and drove north toward Yellowstone. The view of the Teton mountains looked spectacular even in the rear view mirror. We stopped for a picnic lunch by Jackson Lake for one last view of the Teton Range while eating peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. As we continued north we passed through hauntingly beautiful burnt regions of the forest.
After checking into Yellowstone, and passing over the Continental Divide, we stopped at West Thumb Geyser Basin. Our first set of geothermal features was located right on the edge of Yellowstone Lake, providing a stunning background to the geyser activity. We continued along the Grand Loop Road (the long way around because of a road closure) to Canyon Campground where we’d be staying the next four nights. At dusk, we once again went out wildlife spotting and saw a grazing elk and sleeping buffalo.
Author: Roger Anderson and Carol Shively Anderson Title: A Ranger’s Guide to Yellowstone Day Hikes Publication Info: Farcountry Press (2013) Summary/Review:
If going to Yellowstone, you’re going to need to get off the road and explore Wonderland on foot. Trouble is, if you have old legs and are traveling with kids less keen on hiking, you’ll want to be prepared. This book has 29 hikes of various skill levels and lengths in various different park environments. Some of them are just a short addition to visiting some of Yellowstone’s most popular attractions, such as Mammoth Hot Springs and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, that take you away from the tourist throngs.
If you’ve ever heard the legend of the New Jersey Devil, you imagine it as a cryptozooligical creature inhabiting the Pine Barrens. Turns out that the story originates instead with a 17th-century colonist named Daniel Leeds who published an almanac that ran afoul of the Quaker authorities!
Author: Patricia Ellis Herr Title: Up : a mother and daughter’s peakbagging adventure Publication Info: New York : Broadway Paperbacks, c2012. Summary/Review:
This book is the author’s story of taking up hiking with her 5-year-old daughter Alex and deciding to hike to the top of all 48 4000-foot peaks in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Herr relates some of her early mistakes and some unexpected dangers (a sudden thunderstorm on an exposed peak or a violent bird on a trail). On and off the trail, Herr must face the judgment of others who think that Alex is too young to be participating in White Mountain Hikes. But she also receives a lot of support, including from a kilted hiker who goes by the name MadRiver, who becomes their greatest ally despite claiming not to like children. Alex troops onwards and upwards and in less than two years becomes one of the youngest people to ever summit all 48 peaks (although Herr is never specific about whether Alex is the actual youngest). The message is that anyone can do it, although in my most cynical moments reading this book I’d have to append that anyone can do it if they’re prosperous enough to home school, buy a second home in New Hampshire, and acquire thousands of dollars of hiking gear and clothing (the author is positively steeped in privilege and doesn’t seem to be aware of it). That being said, the heart of this book is the story of a mother and a daughter enjoying themselves outdoors in one of my favorite places, and the blessings of experiencing things through young eyes.
Recommended books: Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery, The Appalachian Trail Reader by David Emblidge, A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King Rating: **1/2
We spent the day after Thanksgiving at Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary. There were a number of art and music activities for the day to engage the senses, but the kids were content to make their usual round of visits to the farm animals, taking a hay ride, and then a hike up the Drumlin.
It was a perfect day for it!
Bluegrass band by the fireside = peak cozy.
There were several shovels carved out as art work.
On Sunday, as a pre-birthday activity, my family & I visited the North River Wildlife Sanctuary in Marshfield, MA. While the kids weren’t so into out (excepting the nature play area which was a lot of fun), the scenery was quite beautiful on a mid-Autumn afternoon. There were two loops to walk: one through Woodlands and one that circled a meadow and lead throught the phragmites to the North River itself. Here’s a sampling of my best photographs from the outing.
On our second day in Vermont, we visited Molly Stark State Park and hiked to the fire tower at the top of Mount Olga. Beyond the fire tower we discovered the ruins of Hogback Mountain Ski Area lifts which were abandoned in 1986, but look like they’re even older and eerily overgrown. Nature always wins.
Author: Ben Montgomery Title: Grandma Gatewood’s walk : the inspiring story of the woman who saved the Appalachian Trail Narrator: Patrick Lawlor Publication Info: Tantor Media, Inc., 2014 Summary/Review:
In 1955, 67-year-old Emma Gatewood of Ohio set out to hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. Completing the hike, Grandma Gatewood became the first woman to through-hike the entire 2168-mile trail and became a pioneer for both elderly and ultralight hikers. With the hike as the centerpiece, Montgomery tells the life story of the proper and hardy farmer’s wife, a life in which she endured severe domestic abuse. Grandma Gatewood’s hike also captures a time when the Appalachian Trail was poorly maintained, little-used, and through-hikers were in the single-digits. Grandma Gatewood’s celebrity would help bring attention to the AT. Montgomery also does a good job of setting the historical mood of 1955 America, when Gatewood set out on her walk. Highlights of the book include Emma Gatewood hiking through Hurricanes Connie and Diane, and sharing a cabin with a church group from Harlem which Gatewood never realized were actually members of rival street gangs. The 1955 is the focus of the biography, but Montgomery also writes about Gatewood’s two later hikes on the AT, her cross-continental walk on the Oregon Trail, and her uneasy relationship with the attention she got for her walk. Recommended books: The Appalachian Trail Reader by David Emblidge, A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson, and Wanderlust; a History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit. Rating: ***1/2