12-40mm 2.8

Tetons and Yellowstone Part II

I forgot these photos on the last post…I entered Yellowstone, and got welcomed with sunshine bursting through the trees at a waterfall.

I woke up at 6am to drive over to old faithful before the crowds came. Lucky for me a bison without a care in the world was hanging out right in front of it, and I got to see it erupt after waiting only 10 minutes! I went to the next geysers, sapphire pool. I explored a bit, but at this point, it was 10am and getting swamped with tourists everywhere. This is when I go back to camp and relax until 5, where I head back out for sunset

I head over to the yellowstone falls - “the grand canyon of the north” beautiful, and worth the hike around there.

the next morning I used some tips that people told me there was a grizzly bear in Heyden Valley. So I head out there first thing, and find the spot. It was all socked in with fog. after waiting 1.5hours (mid 30F) for the fog to clear, there was no bear :(. I did see a coyote out hunting though

that night I got treated to another excellent sunset. Also checked out the mud volcano. crazy stuff

the next day I took the drive up to Lamar Valley - “the serengetti of the united states”. I hung around a couple hours as there was a carcass nearby. I ended up saw Wolves in the distance (the black dogs), tons of bison, pronghorn, and more. with the wildfires going on, and I was treated to a sky on fire.

the next morning I headed east of the Lake Yellowstone for a little hike. Saw that marmot, squirrel, sunrise, elk all that morning. the views were beautiful over there, naturally too

later that day, I experienced some thunderstorms that left the coolest orange color in the sky. The sun burst through the clouds afterwards and flooded the valley with sunlight.

that night, i went back to that carcass, and finally saw a grizzly bear! First one I’ve seen in the wild!

My first grizzly bear in the wild!

My first grizzly bear in the wild!

So every night, there was a big bison or elk that came to my tent and would eat the grass around. once I figured out it wasn’t anything to be worried about, II was able to (barely) get some sleep. The last night I was there, my neighbor asked if he could leave his stove in the car. I said yes, no problem (in yosemite the bears rip off doors). So I went to bed, noticing the stove was still out, but he was still awake. Figuring he would put it away, I went to bed.

About 3 in the morning I was awakened by all sorts of critters wanting to taste the stove drippings. Sounded like some crows, squirrels, etc. after listening to them for 15-30 minutes, something spooked them all and everything scurried away. I then hear footsteps past my tent, followed by snorting and deep grunts. I tried to grab my bear spray without making noise, but of course my sleeping pad makes a crunchy sound, and my sleeping bag swooshed. The bear was more interested in the stove, thankfully.

Exhausted, I get up and adventure on my final day:

Bull elk exhaling on the roadside

Bull elk exhaling on the roadside

headed over to Grand Prismatic - one of the coolest stops in the park IMO

more beauty at grand prismatic:

As I’m leaving, I stop for some bison crossing the road, and 15 minutes later, I’m on my way. As I’m leaving, no lie there was thousands of cars held up from the bison. the line of cars was easily 2-3 miles, and probably 3+ hour wait! Allow plenty of time to get around the park.

I got into West Yellowstone, and stopped at the Bear and wolf discovery center. You get to see and learn about the animals here

additionally, they had some birds of pray there as well.

then I made the 14 hour drive home. I made it to twin falls, ID, which was about 6 hours away. including the drive out of the park, I was already at my 8 hour limit and starting to get fatigued. Twin Falls was a beautiful town surrounded by boring farmland. I’m glad I discovered it

The rest of the drive was a boring, uneventful 8 hour drive back.

Thanks for following along! cheers.

Tetons and Yellowstone Part 1

I started my trip off by leaving early on Friday August 31st to get a head start on my drive. It is a 12 hour drive from Portland to Tetons, and My limit is about 8 hours of driving in a day. I got to Dead Man’s Pass in Eastern Oregon (~4.5 hours away) at about 9:45pm. The Stars and Milky Way were already incredible! I pulled over on a feeder road and star gazed for about a half hour. (first milky way shot). I stayed at the rest stop there, which was the first time ever staying overnight at a rest stop. It went well, except I was a little cramped, as my folded seats were not tall enough to stretch out enough, when laid flat.

The rest of the drive to the Tetons was uneventful. Woke up at 6am and headed out, for a great sunrise over the mountains! I was going to find a campsite outside of the Tetons that Saturday night, but I called one of the campgrounds in the park, and they said they had 30 sites still available, but quickly filling, as the other campgrounds were full and sending people there. I was an hour away and booked it over. When I got to the CG, they were full, and sent me 10 miles up the road to another CG (last few miles were potholed and terrible). The people I was following took the last site at that CG, and I was getting ready to find a place to crash in my car again. Luckily the host stopped me and let me (and a few others) stay in the day use area for the night!

My camp neighbors invited me over to their bonfire, and we talked for a while. It was a father and son that were driving from Austin, TX, and on the road for over a month. They were in the Olympics, Yellowstone, Banff, etc!

tetons at sunset (below)

tetons at sunrise

Two Oceans Lake and Oxford Bend

Sunrise at Tetons - It dropped to 30F at night!

I did a hike around Jenny Lake

As soon as I got into YS, I saw tons of Bison. The viewings continued (Part 2)

Umpqua lighthouse trip 8/3/18

Went on another camping trip down to Umpqua Lighthouse State Park, on the Oregon Coast. we started off stopping at the Cascades Raptor Center in Eugene. The Owls were exquisite:

All of the raptors here have been brought from all over the states for rehab. The birds that can't be reintroduced into the wild for various reasons, end up as residents here. Birds of prey are my favorite, so I had a blast here, naturally.

who knew turkey vulture feathers were irridescent??

we made it to our campsite at the state park, and set up camp. We did a walk around the lake that was connected to our campground, and headed out to the lighthouse for sunset. 

once it got dark, we were treated to an awesome light show from the lighthouse, and then dazzling stars

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We headed down to Coos Bay. Nice and sunny! It was low 70s on the coast on Friday, but Saturday was a little cooler, in the 60s. 

then it all turned to fog

with all the dunes in this part of the coast, brings in all the ATVs.

some weirdness on the coast...with full overcast there was no sunset or stars :(

It's Sunday. so we mosey our way up the 101. We stopped at Haceta Head Lighthouse, which was another cool, old lighthouse. Being near the sea lion caves, there were a bunch of sealions swimming around.

Some more from this park. Beautiful views everywhere!

Next up is actually probably my favorite spot on the coast! Cape Perpetua/Thors Well near Yachats, OR. the ocean is so dramatic here, and you really fee the power of the ocean here.

waves splashing out of the well

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Cape Foulweather: known for its amazing whale watching - we saw some distant ones!

That's all for now!

Day 26- 30 Wanaka and West Coast (part 1)

I left my campsite behind to go to a music festival on New Years eve, called Rhythm and Alps. I had a great time and discovered some great new bands! Lots of Australian and European bands played. Got to enjoy the fireworks there as well. They played music till 7am, but I am no longer 21, so I bounced at 1am.

I didn't have my big boy camera, so here was an uneditted phone photo.

I didn't have my big boy camera, so here was an uneditted phone photo.

After the show, I headed back to my campground for one last night before heading out to Wanaka. The next morning, I stopped by Queenstown Hill to do a bit of that hike, and then made the drive to Wanaka.

Queenstown Hill hike - I didn't have the energy to do the whole hike, but still was beautiful

Queenstown Hill hike - I didn't have the energy to do the whole hike, but still was beautiful

After exploring Albertstown a bit, I headed down to lake Wanaka for sunset. The sky turned all sorts of lovely colors! This tree was awefully popular, and there was about 30 people around snapping pictures of this tree!

The next day was another beautiful bluebird day. It was really dry and in the upper 70s/low 80s! I did the Mt Iron hike .I really wanted to do the Roy's Peak hike, but wasn't ready to do more than 4 mile hikes. (was 8 miles if i recall). A couple days after this, there were wildfires that broke out on the Roy's Peak hike unfortunately.

That night I hung out around camp in Albertstown. Another Stunning sunset that lit up the mountains in a pink shade (called alpenglow). While walking around, I found a dumped wallet. Everything was taken, except for his countdown card and a credit card. I figured he'd at least want some closure, so I dropped it off at the local bank before I headed out to the west coast. The bankers were thrilled, and I felt good.

The drive around the lake Hawea was both incredibly moody and jaw dropping. Some say it's the most scenic in NZ.

I stopped at the incredibly busy Blue Pools for my first stop in Mt Aspiring National Park. The water really was THAT blue! The water is glacier run off water, so as you can imagine, it was quite frigid. I did not jump in. This place also was very thick with sandflies. They really like the swimmers that come out of the water :O. As refreshing as I'm sure it was, I'm good.

I honestly don't remember the name of this hike. It was ranked as "30 minutes" so I gave it a try, figuring I'd be back in the car 30 minutes later. Well, surprise! it was extremely steep, and pretty much climbing stairs the whole way up. I was dripping in sweat, and heart beating like crazy. Not what I was expecting at all! Good views at the top, but probably not worth it.

Next stop was fantail falls. Check out all the cairns lined up!

I grabbed a campsite in Haast, and headed out to Munro Beach to see if I could find any penguins. The Hike goes through an old growth rainforest, to a secluded beach with nobody except deer, dreaded sandflies, and and

I made it to ship creek for sunset. West Coast sure has the best sunsets! This beach was right off of highway 6.

The next day I headed south to check out a really remote section of NZ - Jacksons Bay. I did a short hike, and again-had the trail and beach (at the end) to myself. After the hike, I did something extremely dumb. unlocked the trunk (with key), and tossed my keys down while I grabbed some stuff, and shut the trunk, locking my keys behind -.- Luckily I ran into a local woman who got her husband, to help me. he had a mechanic coming to visit him anyways, so we waited for him, as our efforts to break in failed. After a couple hours, his friend shows up, tries a few things that didn't work, and then we put our brains together and broke into the rental. I will not be sharing what we did, just in case the wrong person reads this.

Thats all for now! stay tuned for west coast part 2!