Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park


We made a brief stop to view the Sheepeater Cliffs  on our way to the Norris Geyser Basin.  The cliffs are made of columnar basalt which formed during a volcanic eruption.  These cliffs are named after a band of Eastern Shoshone known as the Tukuaduka (sheep eaters).  The Norris Geyser Basin was interesting; however, none of the geysers was up to our expectations compared to Old Faithful.  A 6 to 8 foot high geyser was the best we saw.  Still, it is amazing to see this geological phenomenon.  The Norris Geyser Basin Museum is an interesting structure.  It was built in 1930 and constructed of stone and log.  This rustic building is one of the first of many of this style which can be found built in our parks during the 1930s.  The museum is dedicated to life in the thermal areas of the park.






Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park


We began our first day in Yellowstone by entering at the Northeast Entrance and traveling along Soda Butte Creek, through the Lamar Valley and across the northern road to the Mammoth Hot Springs.  We were amazed at the number of buffalo grazing in the immense valley and stopped more than once waiting for a herd to complete their crossing of the roadway.  One can only imagine what the plains looked like when hundreds of thousands of these beautiful creatures roamed wild before the massive slaughter by buffalo hunters nearly exterminated the species.  We also saw a good number of prong horn antelope and mule deer grazing in the early morning.  It was a very pleasant drive.


Missoula, Montana to Cooke City-Silver Gate, Montana

Missoula, Montana to Cooke City-Silver Gate, Montana


We had a long drive from Missoula to Cooke City-Silver Gate which lie a few miles east of Yellowstone National Park's Northeast Gate.  Along the way, we stopped at Fort Missoula to tour the historic frontier fort and visit some of the other local attractions.  The site of Fort Missoula is now a living history park and includes exhibits and artifacts covering the 125 years since the erection of the fort in 1877 to protect settlers in the area during the Indian Wars.  http://fortmissoulamuseum.org/



Hayden, ID to Missoula, MT

Hayden, ID to Missoula, MT


The highlight of the day was our tour of the Crystal Gold Mine in Kellogg, Idaho.  Here we learned more about the process of hard rock mining during the 1880's.  The mine has an interesting history as it is unknown who developed the mine and it appears the miners attempted to hide the location of the mine by blasting down part of the hillside to cover the entrance.  One theory is that the miners where robbed and murdered while on their way to have their ore processed and obtain supplies.  The mine was hidden for over 80 years.  Its location was discovered when the entrance was exposed during the construction of Interstate 90 in the 1960's.  Today, the mine has been preserved as an example of early, hard rock mining.  We had a wonderful tour through the mine and furthered our knowledge of how gold was extracted and processed in the 19th Century.  It is estimated that this mine was the work of two to four men cutting through hard rock at the rate of a couple of feet per day.  Their tools and ore cart remained in the mine when the entrance was closed which supports the notion that the miners intended to return and re-open the mine.  As a result, the mine became a time capsule of the industry.



Leavenworth, WA to Hayden, ID

Leavenworth, WA to Hayden, ID


Once again, we had a beautiful day for our drive from Leavenworth, Washington to Hayden, Idaho.  Many of the wheat fields were being harvested.  Grain trucks were busy transporting the golden kernels from the fields to the silos.  We passed a large mound of grain on the ground as we passed Creston.  The vastness of the wheat fields found on the western plains of the US and Canada is utterly amazing.  The golden crop covers hundreds of square miles and is truly an ocean of grain.

We made a slight detour to visit the childhood home of Bing Crosby which is now located at Gonzaga University, his alma mater.  The home now serves as a museum which is filled with Crosby artifacts to include the Oscar he received in 1944 as Best Actor for his role as Father O'Malley in the movie, Going My Way.  Bing Crosby's career was long and record breaking.  He appeared in 104 films, charted 368 records and scored the most number one hits - 38 (Beatles 24, Elvis 18).  His recording of "White Christmas" is the most popular song and is a standard during the holiday season.  He was truly one of the greatest American talents.  It was a fun visit and brought back many memories.



Seattle to Leavenworth, Washington

Seattle to Leavenworth, Washington


We departed Seattle on another wonderful sunny day bound for Leavenworth, Washington.  The town has turned itself into a tourist destination by architecturally replicating a Bavarian village.  The Bavarian theme carries through to many of the shops and wine tasting is high on the list of things to do in Leavenworth.  We wandered Leavenworth's downtown area admiring the buildings until we decided to head to the tasting rooms to sample some great Washington wine (wein probieren).  We had dropped into two of the tasting rooms and left with a bottle of wine from each.  We went to Andreas Keller for dinner which was authentic (echt).  A skilled musician played and drank to the entertainment of all.  This was our second visit to Leavenworth and better than the first which was many years ago.  Once again, we had a wonderful, relaxing, early fall day to enrich our lives.





Share this page: