Friday, November 23, 2007

Ringing Rocks Park

Noelle plays the rocks



Eric and Noelle at Ringing Rocks Falls




Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Vernon-Douglas State Nature Preserve and Freeman Lake Trail

These old cars were a strange find for a state nature preserve.


Noelle and Freeman Lake

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Final Day of the Roadtrip

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A sad day upon the realization that our roadtrip was coming to an end. Soon we wouldn't be able to savor the freedom of the open road. Instead work and school would occupy our time. We woke up in Independence and got some breakfast at Bob Evan's before heading east. We made a short pitstop at Rockbridge Memorial State Park near Columbia before crossing the Mississippi into Illinois. In Illinois we visited Cahokia Mounds State Historic Park, huge earthen mounds built by ancient peoples, before making our way through Indiana and finally into Kentucky. The trip of a lifetime had officially ended. We sure made some great memories though, and can't wait to plan our next adventures!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Wind Cave to Independence, Missouri

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It was sad saying goodbye to our Wind Cave friends. That place just feels like home to us. Soon we were on the road though. We drove through Badlands National Park and into Sioux Falls where we stopped at the Falls of the Big Sioux River. Then we headed south into Iowa before stopping for the night in Independence, Missouri. We paid for our first night in a hotel for the entire roadtrip.
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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Wind Cave National Park

Not the most exciting day, but it was good to spend some time catching up with some old friends at Wind Cave National Park. We even got to go for a short hike on the prairie before a nice dinner with friends.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Bighorn Canyon to Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota

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After a very warm night, we were finally able to get some sleep. We awoke and did some exploring of Bighorn Canyon. We were pleasantly surprised by the place. The canyon itself was quite impressive and we were also able to check out some historic ranches that have been preserved by the site, not to mention the wild horses and bighorn sheep we were able to see.
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After the canyon we drove east into the mountains to the Medicine Wheel. The Medicine Wheel is a circular pile of stones created long ago and revered by many Native Americans as a sacred site. It was a very peaceful spot and we both enjoyed the easy 3 mile round trip hike to the wheel.

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After visiting the Medicine Wheel we headed down out of the mountains and into Buffalo where we got some lunch. Then we headed into some very familiar territory: The Black Hills. We first visited Devil's Tower, but didn't stay long as the weather was deteriorating. Then we drove southeast into South Dakota through some nasty storms. By the time we got to Custer it was pouring rain and there were warnings all over the local radio stations about baseball sized hail and tornadoes. We grabbed dinner and some Bumble-berry at the Purple Pie Place and then headed to Wind Cave to see some friends.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Yellowstone to Bighorn Canyon

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Today was a rather sad day, as our time exploring Yellowstone was now up. It was time to start to head east back towards Kentucky. We still had a few more days of traveling and exploring, but our trip had reached its climax. In the morning we went to the stores at Canyon to buy a few last souvenirs and gifts. Then it was on to the Yellowstone River Picnic Area where we hiked along the narrows of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. For our last hike in Yellowstone it was a rather steep and difficult ascent of Specimen Ridge to check out a portion of the world's largest collection of standing petrified trees.
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 Then we exited the park via the Northeast Entrance and were soon in Cody, Wyoming. We got some food at a Mexican restaurant in Cody and then headed back on the road to Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area near Lovell. We set up our tent in the hot, dry desert for a sweaty nights sleep.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Mammoth to Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

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After a restful night at the Mammoth Campground, we continued our normal routine of packing up our tent and sleeping bags and headed for Canyon after a short drive on the Upper Terrace Drive.
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Along the way we stopped at Forces of the Northern Range for a quick and easy hike, and took a nice detour for a drive along the Blacktail Plateau Drive.
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After that we made some quick stops at Calcite Springs and Tower Fall
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before doing some exploring at Canyon. The views at Canyon were amazing.
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Of course we'd seen pictures of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, but there's nothing like seeing it in person.
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We hiked most of the short trails along the canyon and enjoyed the scenery.
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The only drawback to our visit there came when Eric nearly got into a fight with some idiot from Nevada. The guy was cutting through the vegetation on a very steep switchbacking trail. Eric tried to bite his tongue and not say anything, but the guy was just completely obnoxious. Finally Eric asked him, "why can't you just stay on the trail like everybody else"? To which the guy replied, "why can't you mind your own business"? Eric told him that when he insisted on causing damage to our National Parks he made it his business. The guy responded by saying, "where I'm from people mind their own business." Eric then just had to ask him where exactly he was from. This seemed to infuriate the guy and he intentionally cut the next switchback just so he could get right in our faces. After all that nothing happened, although we should have reported him to the rangers.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mammoth Hot Springs & Vicinity

After camping at Norris we awoke to pack up our stuff and visit the nearby Museum of the National Park Ranger.
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Since we are both former National Park Rangers we thoroughly enjoyed this little museum. After the museum we headed to Mammoth Hot Springs to be sure we would get a campsite for the night. The fires outside the park were beginning to put out a lot of smoke. We would spend the next few days in smoky, hazy, sunshine.
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After procuring a campsite we headed to the Fort Yellowstone and the Mammoth Terraces.
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Then it was into Gardiner, Montana to get some more film and eat lunch. After a delicious pizza lunch we headed through Roosevelt Arch back into the park.
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We stopped at the Boiling River parking lot where we changed into our swimwear in the Civic. (Not a very comfortable changing room.) Then it was a short hike to the designated swim area where the thermal waters empty into the Gardner River.
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It was quite an enjoyable soak!
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After the relaxing soak we headed back to the campsite, changed, and headed out for the hike up Bunsen Peak. Because it was so smoky, the views weren't as dramatic as we had hoped for, but the hike was enjoyable nonetheless.
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When we got back to the campground for good, we started a campfire, and drank a few Moose Drools that we had procured in Gardiner. A great ending to a great day.