…at last, an update! We are loving Eugene!

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After a long hiatus from blog updates and an even longer absence of the writing style of yours truly (Mickey) I am back!  I think when we last left off we had just moved into our glorious apartment and we were just settling in.  Well we are now becoming real Eugenians, complete with some friends, some bike routes memorized, and library cards!

Shortly after that last entry, the Becconator and I made our way Southward to Los Gatos to visit the beautiful and amazing Natalie Hale.  Natalie wined and dined us (gluten free of course) to our hearts’ delight.  Food seemed to be a general theme of this trip, it was just one big gluten free mother daughter love fest complete with carrot cake, 3 course breakfasts, and the best coffee/ hot cocoa either of us had ever had.  Unfortunately not all of our dining experiences ended in the delight we experienced when these various delicacies made contact with our taste buds.  The Becsters and I both learned a couple new lessons about our digestive systems on this trip.  Lesson 1:  Bec’s officially lactose intolerant (I will spare any embarrassing details here).  Lesson 2:  I cannot consume large quantities of soy anything.  ½ pound soy burgers apparently make me violently ill.  Despite our stomach perils we got to see the majesty that is Northern California!  We went on a magnificent hike surrounded by California Red Woods in Big Basin State Park.  My whole life I have heard about the mighty redwoods but there is nothing more inspiring than standing below a tree that preceded white people in this country!  Our last day before heading back to Eugene, thanks to Natalie and her beautiful red Prius, I finally made it to the Pacific coast! My first time since 1997, the water was cold, which didn’t seem to phase Bekachka but my scrawny butt was shivering like a wet Chihuahua! After a long romantic walk down the beach we headed off to dinner for the second night in a row at Dharma’s, an incredible vegetarian restaurant in Santa Cruz.  There I enjoyed the best, the only, and the LAST ½ pound soy burger I have ever had, (as mentioned above).  Overall our experience in Los Gatos was at least a ten-course adventure that exercised our stomach muscles, our walking muscles, and our smiling muscles.

Finally getting acquainted with the ancient Redwoods and Sequoias in Big Basin State Park

Fading away

Gluten free, flourless carrot cake with vegan coconut cream icing!

After a brief break from the job hunt to visit Natalie in Los Gatos we are back on the hunt for that elusive creature…the perfect job.  This morning we had the amazing news that Becca has an interview Monday morning with her dream job working for U of O as a writing tutor!  She will get the job but let’s send her some good vibes anyway.  I have not been quite so lucky but I ain’t givin’ up any time soon!  I have been hitting up the career websites, filling out countless applications, and hitting the streets, wish us luck!  Between the amazing natural food stores, complete with incredible local produce, the ability to ride a bike virtually anywhere, and the laid back culture we are very quickly finding our place here in Eugene.  The other day we drove ten minutes from our apartment to one of the most beautiful hikes of my life, we climbed Spencer Butte.  Spencer Butte was not one of the most impressive hikes I have ever done, a round trip of about 2.4 miles but it was pretty steep and the old growth forest was a sight to be seen.  Saturday will be the Eugene Celebration where the amazing Becksters will be in not one but two dance performances!  Becca is certainly finding her place very quickly in the Eugene dance community and to no surprise to anyone reading this she is much loved by all who are blessed with the gift of her presence!  I plan to join the Obsidians, a local group that meets a couple times a month to hike/ climb local and some not so local places all over the Pacific Northwest!  That’s all I got, surprisingly wordy for me!  I miss you all and I hope you read this in good health and happiness.

Shalom,

Mickey

Precious last moments together before our next visit.

A stroll around Los Gatos.

Splashing around in the Pacific.

Splashed, salted and ready for dinner!

Passing by Mt. Shasta on the drive north.

Hermes, our softspoken travel companion.

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…why, hello, Oregon!

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…and so, after nearly losing our minds to the last 400+ mile stretch of road, just as the sun was setting, we approached Mt. Hood. The sky unpeeled itself from the sun before us and ran apart, streaking color behind its heels.

Surely enough, an eagle of clouds welcomed us to our new home.

So many adventures, challenges, and unexpected delights awaited us: a night on the floor in my dear (and out of town) friend Nancy’s apartment in Portland, a discovery of the most incredible, gluten free fish house in Portland, where we breakfasted like a fearless king and queen, and our eventual arrival in the funky, crunchy, bikey, green-thumbed wonderspot that is Eugene. We spent a day frolicking and dancing around at Faerieworlds, apartment hunted like fiends while staying in the basement of the bubbly and wonder-hearted Dan and Margarita, and have moved in and furnished our humble, lovable abode by now. We are on the JOB HUNT (please cross your appendages for us, dear supporters) and trying our best to keep homesickness, mental fog, temporary loss of motion, and loneliness at bay. We are DETERMINED to find our community here, and to build full, colorful lives. Starting out is never easy, but I know we’ve got enough magic in us.

Our new and just-furnished apartment! If you're Facebook savvy, you can view more photos here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2350042&id=21410611

We love and miss you all and will keep you informed on here, if you’d like! Let’s take a poll! WHO says we should keep our travel blog going as we travel into our new social, business and creative lives in Eugene? I promise not to be quite as long-winded and we will wine and dine you with colorful photos. What d’ye say? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Thank you for joining us on our journey. (The journey never stops, we are coming to realize.)

We love and miss you all!

Becca & Mickey

Soaking up sun at Faerieworlds, Eugene, OR

Yellowstone to Shoshone Falls to Boise!

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With nearly 500 miles to cover that day, Mickey and I booked it as efficiently and consistently as we could. At our friend Margarita’s suggestion, we stopped briefly at Shoshone Falls to view the “Niagara of the West:”

Well? It was gorgeous. If we’d come straight to Shoshone Falls from Cincinnati, I’m sure we would’ve been floored. But after gawking our souls out at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone two days before, we didn’t quite feel the immensity of the Shoshone falls as we could have. Ah, well. $3 well spent!

Elk in a pen. Not right!

Soon enough, we were in Boise, where we spent an evening and night with the lovely, vivacious Ben, Kristina, Zahna and Alex — the son and family of two of my dearest friends and superheroes back in Cincinnati. They treated us to a colorful, delicious, homemade Mexican dinner (we loved your black bean recipe, Heather!), took us on a bike ride around the university area of Boise, and offered us their basement apartment for catching up on major Zzz.

We loved Boise much more than we had expected to. Young, funky people everywhere, lots of bicyclists, a great university area, and beautiful scenery. (Sounds a lot like Eugene, I can now say. But we didn’t know that firsthand at the time.) We stopped along the Snake river, where we saw dozens of college students lazily floating on rafts, midsummer grins on their faces. We stopped by an incredible monument, the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial, where we filled our brains with the best of humanity, after filling our eyes with the best of nature.

Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial

We unfortunately left our cameras at the house during this trip, a little fuzzy-brained after so many hours on the road. And, with the children put to bed early and our own pillows calling our names, we didn’t manage to get a shot of the fully assembled crew before we all went our separate ways in the morning. (As one of my dear friends, Sam, would say, “FAIL.”) But we had a wonderful, sound night’s sleep after so many nights on the ground, and were so grateful to have a warm, love-full house to stay in, in a city where we hadn’t expected to know anyone! (Thank you, everyone — Wayne, Heather, Ben, Kristina, Alex and Zahna!)

After frying a couple of eggs and locking the door behind us, Mickey and I stopped by a local coffeeshop, Lucy’s Coffee and Espresso, to update our blog (who knows which backlogged entry that was), and before we knew it, we were on the road again!

Well-slept and ready to roll!

Casey, a truly sweet dog.

A chicken with PERSONALITY! Trust us on that one!

Of all the other things we didn't expect to find in Boise....

I typed away on my laptop as Mickey drove, documenting as many details as either of us could recall, churning out blog entries as swiftly as possible. It really didn’t sink in that, in that same day, we’d be in Oregon. Oh, we had only to wait!

Leaving Yellowstone, Uprooting the Heart

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Here you can trace our 3 overnight stays at Yellowstone: from Bridge Bay, to Grant, to Madison.

Morning sat down on top of us in our tent at Madison campground — frigid, unfeeling, beautiful, and heavy. We unstuck ourselves from each other (much as chefs must twist ice cube trays halfway around in order to pop the ice out), scrambled through our morning routines, threw hot cereal into mugs, and vroomed out of the campsite early. We decided to drive leisurely through the western edge of Yellowstone before reality hit us in the head and we’d need to hightail it to Boise. So we did.

Who’d ‘ve thunk it, but as we drove towards the bank of the Madison river, where we planned to stretch our legs and make one last tobacco offering before condensing ourselves back into the car, we passed a lone buffalo who was breakfasting, bleary-eyed, just along the side of the road. And if we thought we’d come away with at least one wonderful shot of a buffalo from the Badlands, we most definitely were mistaken:

Beauty

It brought to mind a breathtaking Osage song, here translated by Francis La Flesche:

The Rising of the Buffalo Men (from the Osage Rite of Vigil)

I rise, I rise,
I, whose tread makes the earth to rumble.

I rise, I rise,
I, in whose thighs there is strength.

I rise, I rise,
I, who whips his back with his tail when in rage.

I rise, I rise,
I, in whose humped shoulder there is power.

I rise, I rise,
I, who shakes his mane when angered.

I rise, I rise,
I, whose horns are sharp and curved.

from Francis La Flesche, “The Osage Tribe:  The Rite of Vigil, “Thirty-ninth  Annual Report of the Bureau of American
Ethnology 1917-1918
, Vol. 39 (1925)

The Madison river soon curved out before us in cerulean, serpentine beauty:

Mickey and I warmed ourselves in the new sun which had begun to reignite the heart of the morning which earlier had so gracelessly sat down on our heads. And, unable to stop ourselves, we frolicked:

Minkey Moose!

Soaking it in.

Call of the Outdoorsman!

Yellowstone, we recounted in that chill, lightly scented morning, had been so good to us. It had gifted us with wonders beyond our previous imaginings. It had revealed so many of its wild creatures to us simply because we had desired to see them. It had coated our backs with sweat, wrung calories from our skinny bodies, gotten us hopelessly lost (or rather, our halfwitted GPS had done that), infused us — if only in instants — with an understanding of history and a fleeting sensation of belonging. It had pushed our patience (when trapped behind our car doors, en route in the midst of seas of tourists, or just plain hungry, at any given hour of the day), motivated us to dropkick our expectations and light a fire under our communication skills, nestled us in its pine-scented, life-teeming bosom, and proved to us that the beautiful West, the all-seeing trees, the instinct of the bear, the howl of the wolf, and the rustle of native wildflowers, all the beauties of which we’d heard, have been and always will be real, for as long as the federal government protects these 2, 219,789 precious acres.

How could we not love her?

Forever a Monkey.

We’d spent our last night camping for how long? Spent an evening cooking in bear country, surrounded by uppity ground squirrels, for the last time…for how long? We both understood that the rough-and-roadweary adventures we’d enjoyed would soon be replaced by a new, more challenging, and inevitably responsibility-laden kind. Ready or not, here WE would come, into the mouth of the West.

And so we made one last ceremonial tobacco offering to the river, mopped up my eyes (yes, collectively) and hightailed it to Boise. There was a feeling not unlike the swift, furrow-browed removal of a bandaid as we left. With eyes, minds and cameras full of memories, at least we had each other.

Beware of Bears AND Buffalo!

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Hello, all! [FYI, Mickey and I are settled with an apartment in Eugene by now, all is well and we’re safe and sound, but we don’t have any internet access at our darling little pad, therefore we are SERIOUSLY behind in blogging! Here’s an attempt to catch you all up and bring us up to the present!]

Just a word on the dangers of wild beasts that we encountered so closely in Yellowstone. Nearly everyone’s aware of the threat grizzlies pose to campers who don’t guard their food, either by locking it in a car, locker, or hoisting it up in a tree, making sure that their pockets are devoid of crumbs and that they snatch every last granola bar out of their camping gear before crawling in their tents for the night. BUT! As hunting is, of course, prohibited in Yellowstone, there is no significant predator aside from the brutal Yellowstone winters to keep its largest mammals’ (ex. bear and buffalo) populations in check. And its bears are growing in population, and as it would seem, succumbing to deviant temptations to stave off their hunger.

This happened only THREE days after Mickey and I left Yellowstone. For those of you who have not yet heard of the unprovoked grizzly attacks at Soda Butte Campground in Montana, just outside of Yellowstone, do read this: Soda Butte Grizzly Attack

And while we were IN Yellowstone, on July 23, a buffalo attacked a tourist and gored her in her thigh. Regrettably, another tourist DID provoke the buffalo in this attack by deliberately approaching it (and, by some accounts, throwing something in its direction?!) Yellowstone’s visitor centers and bathrooms are plastered with fliers brandishing data on the number of buffalo attacks in recent years. Our recurring favorite is this one:

In any case, here’s the story on the unfortunate buffalo attack that occurred while Mickey and I were actually in the park: Buffalo Attack

In essence, anyone who visits Yellowstone National Park is lucky to emerge without any scrapes or holes in them and flesh intact. After all, the park itself is an active volcano which could blow at any moment. Add onto that the opportunity to flash-fry your flesh in the hot springs or geysers, the chance to fling yourself in a dozen different directions via a grizzly’s jaws, or the gamble to resemble a salt-or-pepper shaker after a close encounter with a buffalo. Yellowstone’s rangers and media moguls are quick to remind you that your safety is never guaranteed, not in any moment. But that’s the inevitable and beautiful risk of wilderness trekking. The first peoples who lived on this continent and any of ALL our ancestors lived in wholly natural environments subject to the elements and fraught with inevitable peril, while all the while suffused with a raw and truly awesome beauty from which we, in our light-polluted midnight dwellings, are sheltered. It’s all about following the call of that wolf, or eagle, or broad-headed skink, or opossum, or magpie that dwells inside you, and shaking off your accustomed and cushy shackles, heading mind-first into the thick of it! Imagine, a sky bigger than your mind could ever be, shaking its hips at you, and laughing:

We love you all.

Becca & Mickey

…and…………GRIZZLY!

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Now, where was I?

Oh, yes! Mickey and I are camped right next to the woods, with stoves and plates full of delicious, hot, steaming food on our picnic table, enjoying the serenity of the evening, with our thin layers of clothing, short, dull canines, clipped fingernails, nearly hairless bodies and NO natural defenses to speak of within reach, aside from one military issue ka-bar knife stashed under the driver’s seat, when

ALL OF A SUDDEN —

rangers tear into the camp on speeding wheels! They hop out of their jeeps, vests on, blinking rapidly, and head off into the woods just next to us! One of them has a gun! He’s sweating through his shirt! He meets our eyes for a split-second, and manages to get out, “Secure your food!” before high-tailing it into the lodgepole pines.

And, from my proximity on the picnic bench where I’m kneeling, spatula in hand, WHAT do I see not 50 yards from me, a bullseye, straight ahead of my skinny bones, there in the patch of woods???

THIS!

A large and hulking Yellowstone grizzly as they come, stalking us, freshly made pesto on the brain!

No, I did not take that picture. If I did, it might’ve been the last one I ever took. And no, the grizzly I saw was most definitely NOT this close. Imagine this grizzly engulfed in tall, lodgepole pines, a bit lighter in color (think golden wheat, with a cinnamon stripe along its spine), stalking and walking to and fro on colossal paws.

“Mickey! Mickey! GRIZZLY!” I half-whispered, half-rasped, smacking him on the shoulder in a fit of baby bird panic. By the time he’d craned his neck around, the rangers were already pushing her back into the woods; all he saw was her rump. His eyes ballooned. “Let’s get everything into the car!”

In the space of 3 minutes, the camp was in chaos. Some idiots actually FOLLOWED the rangers AND grizzly into the woods, hoping to get a peek. Some stood on top of their RVs with cameras, some just jumped up and down. A little girl near us burst into tears, afraid that the rangers would kill the grizzly because it came so close to us.

One ranger, newly arrived on the scene, assured Mickey and me that they were familiar with this particular grizzly, that she was not tagged, nor trackable, but that they had been tracing her movements lately. “She covers a lot of ground, that one,” she nodded. “Pretty bear, she’s got beautiful coloring. I’d say she’s 200, 250 pounds. They’re just gonna scare her away, yell at her, shoot some sand-filled bean bags at her butt, make sure she understands she won’t have any fun if she comes back to this campsite.” Her gaze hardened. “You two be VERY careful tonight. Wash all your dishes in the dish room by the restrooms. Don’t leave anything out. No water bottles, chapstick, food scraps. You hear?”

Mickey and I nodded rapidly, well aware of the protocol when camping in bear country. Food lockers aren’t exactly few and far between in Yellowstone, but they aren’t guaranteed at each campsite. We’d been securing everything in our car (as secure as that can be). It crossed my mind that the wool jackets we were wearing, by that point, surely reeked of delicious vittles. We’d planned to sleep in them, naturally.

“Y’all have a nice night!” she grinned, and drove off.

Here's a nod to the first woman ranger/naturalist ever to wield her sharp wits in Yellowstone (1927-1930), Herma Albertson!

When the rest of the rangers returned from their bean bag blasting, whoop-and-hollering grizzly hootenanny, they assured the gathering throng that they’d chased off a “little black bear,” and that he was long gone by now.

“Oh, good!” exclaimed one mother. “Just so long as he wasn’t a grizzly!”

Mickey and I gaped at each other, then winked. I guess white lies are the price you pay to keep the public from lapsing into panic attacks. At least WE knew! We’d seen! We’d heard! And we knew what was dangerously what!

We later attended a “Ranger Talk,” complete with a savvy powerpoint presentation projected on a large screen on the edge of the woods, where we listened with delight to one of the most humorous, eccentric and enthusiastic “wildergeeks” we’d ever encountered. He giddily informed us of the raw, audacious wonders of “Winter in Yellowstone.” Our ranger’s favorite catch phrases were: “Imagine! 3 million annual visitors in the park, all crowded into the park in the months of June, July and August! It’s insane! Go to Old Faithful at high noon on any summer day and you’ll hardly have any elbow room! So many people! That’s just crazy! It’s insane! Can you imagine? The native monkey flower is the first flower to bloom every year, in the dead of winter, growing just on the edge of hot springs in the park! Flowers blooming in winter! That’s INSANE!

Said monkey flower.

Growing sleepy, we headed back to camp and skipped the conclusion of the presentation, and the Q&A, where I’m sure at least a dozen campers must have picked the ranger’s brain about the potential dangers of “little black bears.” Oh, my.

At long last, we bundled up in our zero degree sleeping bag and down comforter, respectively, and sank into a deep sleep. We had seen the last wild creature on our wish list, though not from behind the safety of car doors. I don’t even know HOW the rangers knew where she was, and when. If they hadn’t swooped in at that precise moment, who knows what would have become of our food, cooler, camping stoves, car, or us! It was, essentially, an unexpected thrill.

Thanks to our lucky stars and a few Wyoming-based leprechauns, we woke up…unmauled!

It was time to bid Yellowstone farewell. But we didn’t quite have it in us.

Yellowstone, Day 2: the Continental Divide, Old Faithful, the Old Faithful Inn, the Imperial Geyser, Bald Eagles, Moose, the Fairy Falls Trail…and…and…

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We woke up at our Grant campsite mind-numbed and half-frozen, broke down camp, and filled ourselves with hot cereal, coffee and cocoa. The sun was out and spilling beautiful light down our faces, but nonetheless our bones danced around inside the chill of our bodies. Mickey shook it off by demonstrating his early morning brawn:

Shake out dem pine needles, break it down now!

We cruised out of the sight and geared ourselves up to do some serious touring. On our second (and last) full day in the park, it fully permeated our minds that we were really, truly here. Dangerous, wild, spirited bison; large, hulking moose; ground squirrels; American white pelicans; ospreys; mule deer; elk; wolves; coyotes; black bears; yellow-bellied marmots; bald eagles; 45 different species of fish; glorious butterflies and dragonflies; mosquitoes galore; and, don’t you know, the great GRIZZLY BEAR!

We made a mental list of our “dream wildlife” which we’d already been lucky to see:

-buffalo (of course; they were probably tired of seeing us by this point)

-elk, grazing by our Bridge Bay campsite the morning before

-a beautiful American white pelican along one of Yellowstone’s rivers

-a beautiful doe and two mule deer fawns napping on a small river in the midst of Gibbon River (how I wish we’d managed to capture that image, it was blissfully surreal)

-ospreys flying above the Lower Falls in the Grand Canyon

-cheeky little ground squirrels

-of course, insects galore

I vaguely recalled hearing a lone wolf’s howl at around 1 a.m. on our first night in Yellowstone, as we violently hit the pillow in our tent, half out of our minds with road weariness. I never heard a howl again before our departure. Apparently there are perks to sleep deprivation when in nature; we diligently floated downwards into, rather than hit our pillows, after that first night.

We declared to all the wild around us that might hear that we would LOVE to glimpse moose, bald eagles, perhaps a wolf or coyote from a distance, and, if at all possible, a grizzly – but ONLY from within the safety of our car! We tossed it out for the Universe to hear and make do with it as it pleased, and floored it (within 45 mph Yellowstone limits).

We literally stood on the Continental Divide! Beautiful water lilies sprouted on this particular patch of river marking the division.

Butter blossoms in the morning light.

I really need to work on my sneaking skills.

Did you KNOW: under the signage of then President Ulysses S. Grant, Yellowstone –– every pristine 2.2 million acre –– became the world’s first and oldest National Park in 1872? Ken Burns’ recent documentary series, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” will rock your world. Please do check it out from your local library or from Netflix if you have any inclination to learn more! It will stir your spirit almost as much as standing nose-to-nose with a moose!

Speaking of excitement, Mickey and I decided to try Old Faithful on for chill-inducing size:

Old Faithful in all its splashy glory.

Well, it wasn’t really anything to write home about. It could be, of course, that at that time of day, or in our presence alone, the good ol’ geyser wasn’t feeling particularly in the mood. But compared to many of the other wonders we’d seen…de nada, amigo.

More interesting and exceedingly intriguing were the other geysers that circled Old Faithful in a rough semicircle:

Buffalo hoofprint. Water hot enough below to singe off your eyebrows.

Incredible color pallete. My eyes could never get enough.

Sky in water.

After a liesurely stroll among the hot springs and glaciers, Mickey and I grabbed our picnic lunch from the car and stepped into the Old Faithful Inn for some rest and refueling (the only kind of R&R we really need, having insanely rapid metabolisms and perpetually voracious appetites!) My GOODNESS, were we blown away!

Lobby of the respendent Old Faithful Inn.

Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Inn is an incredible structure, a U.S. National Historic Landmark, and on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Its original architect was 29-year-old Robert Reamer, who worked for the Great Northern Railway. Its construction began in 1903. It used only wood from native lodgepole pines (which to this day comprise 80% of Yellowstone’s forests) and rhyolite stone, and upon its grand opening in 1904, it boasted electric lights and steam heat. The Old Faithful Inn is the largest log hotel in the world and quite possibly the world’s largest log building as well. Its fireplace alone consists of 500 tons of rhyolite, quarried from a nearby hillside, and is actually 8 fireplaces in one. Have a look:

It was SO beautiful, warm and cozy inside the Old Faithful Inn that, for all the beauty looming outside, we truly didn’t want to leave. It was the most at home we’d felt in what seemed like a long time. We dreamt of how we’d build/decorate our home in just as warm and earthy a tone someday, if we ever come to that adventure.

And then we set off into the sunshine again!

We drove over to the trail leading to Fairy Falls and the Imperial Geyser. We were just setting off on the trail when, up on a mountain to our left, we spied TWO bald eagles perched in a bare tree, the female one branch above the male. A nested pair! Our camera lens wasn’t quite capable of capturing their majestic profiles, but CHECK OUT THESE MAGNIFICENT SPOTS!

Soon afterward, we encountered a sweaty-necked, zesty-grinned hiker who had just scrambled down an adjacent mountain, who, in between gulps from his nalgene bottle, told us that we absolutely MUST hike to the top of said mountain and that the view of the Imperial Geyser from the top was incredible, no matter how steep and treacherous the climb!

And so we did. The result:

VICTORIOUS!

Two things I love - wild, scenic beauty and Mickey.

We scrambled back down the mountain and headed our separate ways for an hour of solo hiking. I encountered a bizarre bird tree; Mickey encountered the Imperial Geyser up close:

Imperial Geyser

My goodness, this is a long, if colorful and hopefully spicy, blog entry? Are you ready for more? (This was a momentous day.) Ok, ok, here we go!

Mickey and I wrapped up our adventure by returning to the bald eagles’ tree with binoculars in hand (again, sorry no photos). We then took our last snapshots before plunking back into our car seats and heading towards our third campsite, Madison (named after the Madison River).

Bridge over the Firehole River - one of the Madison's two main tributaries.

On the way to our campsite, we passed through an incredible smaller canyon. We basked in the shade and let the squint from our eyes uncurl.

Rapids in this small, beautiful canyon (the name o' which I done plum fergot).

Tired after hours of hiking? My eyes reveal it!

A beautiful female moose we glimpsed en route to our campsite.

And so, we checked in at Madison Campground, at a decent, dinner-appropriate hour, 6ish. We set up the tent and went to town cooking up just about everything that remained in our cooler. Vegetarian chili, hemp milk rice pudding, and a big batch of basil pesto wish sautéed zucchini over rice pasta. We were just finishing up the pasta, making faces at the ground squirrels that scuttled around our ankles, greedily scouring the dirt for crumbs, enjoying the scents of our own cooking and barbecues that wafted around the site, and enjoying the view of the tall, slender lodgepole pines behind us, as we were on the very edge of the campsite, next to the woods, when

ALL OF A SUDDEN ––

well, wouldn’t you like to know?

Leave us a comment and read on!

B & M

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