To the Arctic Circle and Back in 2015

What a year!  We travelled to the Arctic Circle and back in 2015.

cartoon529-2Be warned, this is a looooong post.  But we hope you enjoy a quick tour back through this most wonderful year with some of Hector’s favorite images.

Island Girl traveled a total of 12,345 miles.

We stayed in 88 campsites (29 of them were overnights and 61 were dry camping).

Visited 10 States, 2 Canadian Provinces and 1 Canadian Territory. And 6 veterinarians in 5 states and 1 Canadian Territory.

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More Yellowstone Wildlife


“For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People”

mammoth004On our move day at Yellowstone National Park, we drove through seven miles of construction, which turned to mud due to recent rains. This was one of the reasons we chose to relocate, to avoid driving through construction zones more than once. And we wanted to be closer to the Lamar Valley in order to see more Yellowstone wildlife.mammoth002

We stayed at the Mammoth Campground, near the North entrance to the park, which is the original entrance to the park. Read my review of the campground here.mammoth007

mammoth006mammoth008Just after we got settled in and as I was finishing a walk with Angel, it began to hail. So far, we had rain, wind, cold, a bit of snow, and now hail. Ah, Spring!

In the morning, there was a herd of elk cows running through the campground. Mammoth Hot Springs is home to many elk, and they hang out around the town and nearby areas.

We had seen more wildlife than ever, but some of the best was yet to come. Our campground was a great jumping off point to visit the Tower-Roosevelt area and the Lamar Valley, both east of us.mammoth093mammoth025 Continue reading

Yellowstone in Spring

Yellowstone Madison032Yellowstone Madison002Last Fall, when we last visited Yellowstone National Park, we met some wolf advocates who visit the park every year. They told us that wildlife was much more active and visible and that many animals had babies in Yellowstone in spring. That is when we decided to return to the park this spring.Yellowstone Madison036

Yellowstone Madison053And so we arrived in the park in early May, entering through the West entrance in the town of West Yellowstone. Yellowstone National Park is massive, so we split our time into two different areas. For the first half of our visit, we stayed at the Madison Campground. Read my review of the campground here.Yellowstone Madison003

Yellowstone Madison014On our way into the park, we saw our first baby animals. Baby bison! They are born between April and May so these were about a month old. They are just adorable when they are babies, rusty red colored. They will begin developing their hump and changing to a dark brown color during their first winter.Yellowstone Madison005 Continue reading

My What Grand Tetons You Have

yellowstone  141 Grand Teton  001Grand Teton National Park was our last summer stop before heading to Denver for our annual visit. It was our second visit to the park.  We had great memories of the place and couldn’t wait to see the beautiful Teton Range once again.Grand Teton  038

Grand Teton  002The story goes that “lonely French Canadian trappers” named the mountain range Grand Tetons – meaning big breasts. The name obviously had staying power.

Our plan was to stay in a dispersed camping area (not a developed campground) in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, adjacent to the park. Grand Teton  003

Our friends Leigh and Brian gave us GPS coordinates and detailed directions to a very special spot on Shadow Mountain, which allows free camping for 16 days.  The area is near the Cunningham Cabin in the national park.   As always on back roads to unknown public lands, we scouted the area in the Subaru before taking Island Girl up the road.

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Inside the Volcano – Yellowstone National Park

yellowstone  001This was our second trip to Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone is the national park I always wanted to visit when I was a kid. Old Faithful and other geysers.  Hot springs.  Fumaroles.  Bears. Buffalo. Wolves. Elk. Lakes. Canyons. Rivers. Mountains.yellowstone  002

yellowstone  141 (1)yellowstone  033Yellowstone has its critics. Yes, there is horrible traffic and mobs of people in the park during peak season. Yes, there are people who drive through the park and don’t get out of their cars. But this is the first national park.  THE Yellowstone.  All American and unique.

The central part of the park is a 30 by 45 mile caldera (basin) formed after three huge volcanic eruptions during the past 2.1 million years (the most recent was 640,000 years ago). The heat powering those eruptions still powers the park’s more than 10,000 thermal features, evidence that the volcano is still active.  But scientists do not foresee another eruption for thousands of years.   We hope.

yellowstone  030 Continue reading