• 20Sep

    When Bob and I were in Montana last month, we visited the State Penitentiary, now a museum!  I love this old post card image I found on the net.  I was just wondering, who was the intended consumer for this postcard???

    It was interesting but also kind of creepy touring the prison, which was still in use until the late 1970′s.

    The prison is in Deer Lodge, Montana, and is now part of a large museum complex, including a fabulous car museum and a doll museum as well as the prison.

    Nearby is the Grant Kohs National Historic Site, a part of the National Parks system.  Don’t you love the visitors’ center?

    The entrance to this cattle ranch was down a path which took you by this old wagon…

    ,,,and these teepees.

    Fittingly, the public restrooms were in a log building!

    At one time, the Kohrs family ranched 10 million acres.  Can you even imagine?  It is still a working ranch, but now there are only 1,000 acres.  Still sounds like a lot to me!

    In the beginning, the Kohrs family had a modest home, but they prospered and added on to the house.  The result is a beautiful Victorian farm house.

    No photos were allowed inside, but I did find these on the NPS website.  The parlor was lovely.  Mrs Kohrs was born in Germany and made many trips back, bringing lovely things to furnish her home.

    The kitchen was quite modern!

    The dining room was in the addition and was fabulous.

    The tour exited through the back of the house.

    I love the old steps….

    …and the picket fence…

    …and the flower garden.

    The most beautiful pink poppies were blooming.  They have been growing there since Augusta Kohrs’ day.  I asked if they sold seeds in the gift shop and our guide said they did not.  Then she said, “Just help yourself!”  I’m so glad we were there when there were mature seed pods.  Next year I should have pink poppies in my garden to go along with the purple ones I already grow!

    There was an authentic chuck wagon.

    And a pretty authentic looking “Cookie!”  He offered us boiled coffee, which Bob tried.

    I loved all the little accoutrements.

    And how ingenious is this little basin which hangs over the wagon wheel!?!

    They still raise longhorn cattle here.  I tried to get this guy to lift his head for a glamour shot, but he was too interested in the lush grass.

    It was a great spot and I highly recommend a visit if you’re in the area.

    One last note.  Not all early settlers were as prosperous as the Kohrs family.  This photo was on display in the car museum, of all places.  The reason I like it so much is because of the shelf decoration.  I always say that the thing that differentiates humans from animals (besides the fact that we have a soul) is that humans decorate.  No matter how bleak the surroundings or how difficult the lifestyle, people have always made an attempt to beautify their homes.  I love it!

     

     

     

     

  • 03Sep

    Bob was born and raised in Montana, and we go back as often as we can.  We generally drive, and one of our favorite little towns to stop in is Ritzville, Washington.  Unfortunately, in the last 20 years that I’ve been traveling through there, the downtown has lost many businesses.  We would always have a meal in one of the downtown restaurants, but they’re all gone now.

    Our favorite was the Circle T, but even its sign is gone.  The Whispering Palms is closed, too.

    As is the old theater.

    I think the bar and grill is hanging on!

    No gas today.  Most of the business has moved out by the interstate exchange.  Bye, Ritzville.

    Well, you know you’re in Montana when the sconces in the restaurant look like cow skulls!

    We stayed in Kalispell and had breakfast at Sykes.  Yep, 10 cent coffee!

    We went with some of Bob’s family to Glacier Park for a picnic.

    There’s a handsome bunch!

    We were on the shores of Lake McDonald.  Breathtaking!

    I love the tenacity of trees.

    I think it’s so cool that they still have the red busses in the park.  (Yellowstone has yellow ones!)

    This is the Conrad Mansion in Kalispell.  The grounds were the prettiest I had ever seen them.

    Kalispell has some cool old buildings, like the fabulous art deco TV station.

     

    And the very proper City Water Department.

    The old theater.

    We had lunch with Vernon and Thelma, now both in their late eighties.  On the wall was this picture of Vernon and Pastor Pete.  I think Vernon is as handsome as Marshall Dillon!

    We had breakfast one day at Wheat Montana.  Loved the poster.

    This is the view from Bob’s cousin Glenn’s house.  Talk about Big Sky Country!

    Wheat fields in the front of the house and the Flathead River out the back!  It doesn’t get much better than that!

    Another tenacious tree.  It’s a long ways from the river now, but I think spring floods have had a go at it a time or two.

    A couple more old signs.

    And a Beaverslide!  For those who don’t know, it’s used for stacking hay.

    Next, our visit to the state penitentiary!

     

  • 24May

    We didn’t get to all the places we wanted to go in Arches, so we went back for a second day.

    For perspective, take a look at the two people under the arch.

    I do promise, though, that this is the last post of “rocks!”

    It was hard to imagine that after a week there were still new and unusual things to see

    The arches were great.  This one is called Double Windows.

     

    Bob looks pretty good here, doesn’t he?

    I think most of these arches have official names, but to me, this is Mamma and Baby.

    I prefer to be behind the camera, but Bob did get it away from me!

    Look closely at the snow on the mountains in the background!

    The arches never cease to amaze me.

     

    And I could say the same for the rock formations.

    But this was the one we’d been waiting to see.  This is Delicate Arch, the unofficial symbol of Utah!

    What a great week we had.  We visited 5 National Parks, 2 National Monuments, 1 National Forest, 1 National Recreation Area, 1 Tribal Park and 1 Tribal Monument!  Whew!

     

  • 21May

    After a week in the Southwest’s National Parks, I wasn’t sure I could take another photo of rocks !  But, with a name like The Three Gossips, I couldn’t resist!

    If those were the Three Gossips, are these the Four Gossips?

    Bob and I were in Arches National Park, and took the one mile walk called Park Avenue.

    It was so neat to be down on the valley floor looking up.

    It really gives you a sense of perspective that the photos down’t show.

    The rock beneath our feet looks like frozen sand dunes.

    There’s Bob, showing his rock climbing skills!

    This is Balance Rock.

    We walked around the base.  I kept listening for any cracking!

    There were so many interesting rocks, I had to keep taking photos.

    But what we came to see were arches, and this was our first one.

    As we drove along, it wasn’t long before we saw another.

    And then there were needles like we saw in Canyon Lands yesterday.  I love the colors in the different layers of rock.

    Ah, another small arch!

    We parked and headed down the Devil’s Garden Trail.

    Again, we felt dwarfed by the high canyon walls.

    Our first stop was Pine Tree Arch.

    Then Tunnel Arch.

    There was more to see than just arches, of course.

    This is Landscape Arch.  It was the best by far!

    It was a perfect day–68 degrees, sunny and a slight breeze!

  • 20May

    Today we detoured from our Utah itinerary to go to Mesa Verde in Colorado to see the Anasazi ruins there.  Unfortunately, it was another foggy and snowy morning.

    We headed to the park and climbed to an elevation of over 7000 feet.  Near the top there was a pull-out so you could look back down into the valley. Hmmm, not such a great view.

    But we were more than rewarded when we got to the overlook at Palace Cliff.

    I think like many other people, I’ve always been fascinated by these dwellings built into the cliff sides.

    It was interesting to learn that the people who built them had lived and farmed for years up on the mesas before moving into the canyons, and continued to grow their corn on the mesas.

    And they really didn’t live here very long before moving on, probably because of continuing drought.

    Across the canyon we could see another small dwelling.

    We took the Ranger led tour into the village.

    It was so interesting to learn about the Kivas, the sacred rooms.

    We marveled at the architecture.  Imagine, those logs are from the 1200′s.  I expect stone to last that long, but logs?

    The view from the village, looking up the canyon, was truly amazing.

    We also hiked down a trail to view one of the other villages a few miles away.

    And on our way out of the park, the weather had lifted enough to see the view of the valley below!

    From Mesa Verde we headed toward Moab.  The day had been overcast, but the temperature reached 53 degrees.  Suddenly, we were in a downpour, and the temperature dropped to 40 degrees in about three minutes!  Despite the change in weather, we decided to go to Canyon Lands National Park.

    The sky was still threatening, but we could see blue off in the distance.

    We hiked several of the trails and were rewarded with petroglyphs.

    Aren’t these hand prints fascinating?

    After nearly a week in Utah, you wonder how many more rocks you can possibly take photos of, but…

    …they are all so different,

    and the sun had finally come out.

    I’d been waiting for this, because it really effects the colors of the rocks.

    So we kept hiking and kept snapping photos.

    These are called mushrooms.

    We hiked an area of potholes, with only rock carins to mark the trail.

    With all the recent rain, lots of the potholes were filled with water.

    Bob is much braver about getting close to the rim than I am!

     

    As we were leaving the park, there was a pull out for Newspaper Rock.  It didn’t sound all that exciting, because I was picturing a rock shaped like a newspaper.  Instead, it was a rock that had been used as a record for centuries!

    I was thrilled!  I love all kinds of primitive art.

    It was so cool to see goats, horses, hunters and so much more.

    Another great day in the Southwest!

     

  • 19May

    We started out our day at Glenn Canyon Dam.

    The bridge across the Colorado here is quite amazing.

    We walked out on it to have a look at the dam…

    …and the Colorado River.  Quite impressive.

    Then we headed for Monument Valley, but first we stopped at Navajo National Monument.

    It was nine miles off the highway, and the farther we went, the harder it snowed!

    We went into the visitor’s center, watched a film, explored the exhibits and were rewarded when the weather started to lift.

    We came to see the Anasazi cliff dwellings, and headed down the path.  The snow was already melting, and the landscape was so interesting.

    We could hear water running and spotted this waterfall on the other side of the canyon.  The melting snow from the plateau was cascading down.

    At the bottom of the trail, we could see the ruins of Betatakin, from around 1270!  It was built into a natural alcove.

    It was amazing to see.

    The village was only occupied for about 20 years.  The people who lived there were farmers, but crop failures forced them to move on.

    From the overlook we could see the waterfall.  It was already shrinking. We were so glad we stopped here.

    Then it was on to Monument Valley.

    The scenery was more than we expected.

    It was like flashing back to every Western movie I saw as a child!

    The two trailers in the photo below give you an idea of the scale of these cliffs.

    Here’s a Navajo visitor’s center also dwarfed by the mesas.

    We stopped and did a little shopping.

    As we left, we had to wait for these goats to cross the road!  It was a four way intersection, and the goats were at the corner.  There was a school bus waiting to our left, and we waited, and the goats crossed.

    There were no people in sight, just a dog in the lead and a dog in the rear.  Makes me wonder if the dogs were out having fun on their own or if their master said,  ”Okay, boys, go get the goats and bring them home!”

     

    We had a huge variety of weather today.

    We could often see rain storms off in the distance.

    And experienced temperatures from 36 degrees to 65 degrees.

    I’m amazed at how far across the landscape you can see.

    It was really interesting to watch the weather.

    I kept thinking we’d run out of monuments to take photos of….

    …but that wasn’t the case!

    Suddenly the hillsides took on an entirely different look.

    It was like someone had been playing with colored sand and running their fingers through it to make designs.

    And in front of it all was a cool monument called the Mexican Hat.

    I just loved the designs on these hills!

    And still there were more red monuments to see.

    The shapes are never the same.

    Besides the shapes, the colors were amazing.  There were so many shades of red.

    Bob was great about stopping for photos, but I finally just started taking them through the car window!  Even those turned out!

    Our next stop was Four Corners.

    Doesn’t everyone need their photo taken here?

    Obviously, we did!

  • 18May

    After leaving Zion National Park, we headed toward Bryce Canyon.  An unexpected bonus was driving through Red Canyon.

    Fabulous shapes…

    …incredible colors…

    …cool wear patterns…

    …amazing balanced rocks….

    …more cool shapes…

    …and not one…

    …but TWO arch tunnels!

    It was onto Bryce Canyon City.  Imagine our surprise when we woke up to a dusting of snow this morning!

    But, we weren’t deterred.  It was on to the Park.

    The sun was peeking out intermittently.

    And even thought the elevation was high…

    …and it was cold enough to build a snowman (kind of!)…

    …the views made it all worth it!

     

    We were right on the rim.

     

    Looking down at the amazing shapes was awe inspiring.

    We saw hikers below.

    We started to follow the trails, but the mud was growing on my shoes with every step!

    So we continued to enjoy the views from the rim.

    Everywhere you looked there was something different to see.

    I love when the erosion leaves rocks looking like they’re precariously balanced.

    At first, you’d think nothing would grow here, but that’s so not the case.

    Do you see the little “windows” near the top of this ridge?

    Lots more photos…

    …I’ll just let you enjoy.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The other thing that really fascinated me was tenacity of some of the trees!

     

    And the snags were beautiful in their own way.

    Another great day in our National Parks!

  • 17May

    After Quilt Market in Salt Lake City, Bob and I decided to see some of Utah.  As we headed south to Zion National Park, we thought we’d stop at Cedar Breaks National Monument.

    After driving 15 miles off the interstate, we found the road wasn’t open yet for the season!

    In fact, the snow was quite deep!  I made Bob get out of the car for reference, and I stayed in the car and took the photo!

    We had climbed a lot on that 15 mile drive!

    And while we didn’t get to see what we had come for, we had terrific views!

    So, we headed back to Interstate 15, and took the 6 mile drive into the northern part of Zion.

    No snow there!

    This is Kolob Canyon.

    The views were amazing.

    As were the close-ups of some of the rocks!

     

     

     

    The next day we entered the south part of Zion.

    We took a hike into the Temple of Sinawava along the Virgin River

    The water was moving very rapidly.

    But it had been higher as you can see by the debris and small rocks atop this large boulder!

    The views up the canyon were amazing!

    The farther you go up the canyon, the narrower it gets.

    Eventually, we could go no farther.

    No kidding!  Those steps lead right into the river!

    Some one had been busy along the beach!

    These stacks of rocks were amazing.

    May of them were very precariously balanced!

    But they were all so whimsical.

    It must have taken some patience to get them balanced just so.

    I didn’t test my skills!

    But here is what Zion is all about–the cliffs!

    I must have taken 75 photos just of the canyon walls.

    I’ll spare showing you THAT many!

    But I have to share a few with you.

    It was an overcast day, so the colors aren’t as vivid as they would have been otherwise.

    And while most of the cliffs were dark red, some were white!

    The shapes were incredibly varied.  We took several hikes and enjoyed the many views.

    The surroundings made you feel incredibly small.

    Finally, we got a little bit of blue sky!

    As we travelled from the west to the east, the rocks really began to change.

    The erosion patterns were very different.

    These looked more like windswept sand dunes.

    You could see layer after layer of rock.

    And fabulous shapes like these.

    The colors are so pretty…

    …and so varied.

    I highly recommend a visit if you ever get a chance!