Monday, May 28, 2012

Final stop in Montana...Little Bighorn

We had one last Montana adventure... a trip to the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.

The first spot you come to in the monument is a National Cemetery.
We are so grateful to those who gave their life serving our nation and for the
families that supported them.
Next stop, the visitor center--working on those Junior Ranger badges!
Seeing the lay of the land during Custer's Last Stand.
Our favorite quote, found on General Custer's sword:
"Draw me not without cause; sheath me not without honor."
We all learned so much about the battle that took place here.  The NPS does a great job educating the public about BOTH sides of the conflict and what led to the battle.  Both sides were fighting for their way of life, both sides battled heroically.

Next, we made our way out to the battlefield.  There are great interpretative signs along the way to explain what occurred, troop movement, etc.  There are markers placed where US soldiers and Indian warriors fell in battle.

This is a view to the north.  All the white markers are US fallen.
A view to the south, here lie Indian scouts (that served the US).
See the Little Bighorn River in the distance?
Indian warriors had red markers.
We found this one and Jolie said, "That should be MY Indiana name!"  :)
We never can sneak up on any wild animals while hiking... and this is why :)
Love my Jolie Cait, aka Noisy Walking!
Wild horses also roam the land of the battlefield.
Monument for the Indians

These plaques share the contributions of the tribes that were involved.
This monument is in a circle:

They even remember the horses...

Last Stand Hill

The fourth marker from Jon's elbow, the one with the black letters is:

We walked one last trail before turning in the jr. ranger booklets,
the Deep Ravine Trail.  This warning was near the trailhead...

We watched the ground intently while we walked!
And looky what was found!
The kids and I never felt safe on the trail after this :)
Junior Rangers...and "Old Bison" of the Crow nation.
(That is her real Indian name.)
This wonderful lady shared some of her life story with us.  Her ancestors played key roles in our nation's history.
She is holding a book that includes her great grandmother.
We were honored to have met "Old Bison".

Time to head to Rapid City, South Dakota!

Montana is a beautiful state.  We'd love to spend more time here exploring it.  It's so rugged and wide open.  Maybe someday, on the next RV adventure.
Montana-Big Sky Country

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Grand Tetons NP, Wyoming

Since we're short on time until we need to be in Kentucky, we decided to squeeze in the Grand Teton National Park while camping in West Yellowstone instead of making a separate stay down there.  We almost didn't go because it was a 3 hour drive to get there, since the south entrance of Yellowstone and the north entrance road to Grand Tetons were still closed for "the season".  We're SO glad that we made the long drive and that we didn't miss this park.  It is amazingly gorgeous!

To get there, we had to drive through east Idaho... early in the morning we saw this and it made me giggle:

Arnold Seed Potatoes
We finally found Idaho potatoes!

Jackson Hole, Wyoming:
Love, love this town!
Monty and I are coming back someday to ski the slopes of Jackson Hole, WY!!!!!
Those runs look amazing!
Jackson Hole city green

Grand Tetons:

You know our routine...first stop is always the visitor center for maps and Jr. Ranger booklets.
We've had the most spectacular views out of our windshield the last few weeks!
We were getting hungry, so we picked a spot for a picnic lunch.  
Nice spot, eh?
Picnic on the banks of String Lake.

The only other people there was a couple... and the husband is a photographer.  He took this photo of us.  He actually sat down in the sand to get the angle right!

We played along the banks for a little while, but then we needed to move on.  The couple that we ran into suggested hiking the Jenny Lake south trail.

Jenny Lake with my blessings :)
The kids were more excited about rocks to climb and jump on than the view behind them :)

The whole time we were in these two parks, I wanted to see moose.  Well...this is the closest I came to my dream :)

Fresh moose scat
 At least there were a lot of chipmunks and other critters to enjoy...

One of my favorite critters on the trail:
Thankful we got the scoop about the trail...
 After we completed the hike, the kids had finished their requirements for their junior ranger badges.

Exploring a new road through the park and we found these guys:

This is how I spent much of my time!

Oxbow and the Tetons

These elk were swimming in the creek.

We found a new bird!
A Yellowheaded blackbird...

Our last trail to explore this day:
Lakeshore Trail on Colter Bay
We had this trail and area of the park totally to ourselves!  

View from the trail


Another rock walking challenge
Success! do we get back?
They had to jump really far to reach the island from the last rock.  The jump wasn't possible in the reverse.
So we spent time throwing large rocks to them from the shore :)
Eventually, they had a pile and a plan.


Good-bye Grand Tetons, we loved you!
 Sunset on the Idaho side of the Grand Tetons

I love this building...with the sunsetting through the little window.

The west side of this building as the sun was setting...

Saying good-bye to West Yellowstone, as it's time to head east.
We're thankful for all our experiences here this week, as well as so thankful for the ones not experienced:
like a run-in with a grizzly on a trail!
God is always Faithful,
even in Grizzly country.