Thursday, December 23, 2010

Moose out my window

Occasionly we have animals wander by my office window. So far this winter it has just been a pine marten every so often, and one fox. Imagine my surprise when I looked out the window and saw a moose! (And this is why you should always carry a camera with you like I do.)


Well, it's been awhile since my last post but that happens now and again. :) Things with me are going well. I have settled into life at Jackson Lake Lodge and the exciting news is that I have already been promoted! My new position is Reservations Supervisor and the position even comes with a free apartment. They are currently finishing putting in new floors and I should get to move in after the fist of the year. It's tiny, but it will be nice to have my own place (and not have to pay for it). Anyways here are just a couple of pictures for your viewing enjoyment. This was one night after work as the sun was just setting. We have had a ton of snow so far this winter. In fact the snow outside my door is currently hip deep. This weekend alone we had 16 inches fall. Crazy.

I'm heading home to Boise this afternoon for the holidays and am really looking forward to being back in Idaho for a bit and seeing all the family.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sunset on Jackson Lake

Psalm 121: 1
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains.....

Last trip to Yellowstone

This Sunday Ross and I headed into Yellowstone for one last tour of Yellowstone before the roads close for winter. We toured the Lower Loop stopping at Mud Volcano, Canyon, Norris Geyser Basin, Gibbon Falls, Firehole Lake drive and Old Faithful. It was a gorgeous day and we had a great time, the only animals we saw were bison and coyotes though. Farewell Yellowstone. See you again in 6 months!

The 2010 Capital Christmas Tree

This year the 2010 U.S. Capital Christmas Tree comes from the Bridger-Teton National Forest. More specifically it came from the Pacific Creek area which is about 5 miles from where I currently live. On Saturday the tree was cut down and then made it's way to Jackson for a send off celebration. The tree is now on its way touring the state of Wyoming before making it's journey to Washington D.C. where it will be lit in early December. It is an absolutely gorgeous tree and the fact that it comes from my backyard is exciting.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The First Snow and Dog sitting

My first Monday here is snowed. Actually it started snowing on Sunday night and I think is stopped sometime on Tuesday. In all I think it snowed about a foot and a half! Oh my, I could be in for a crazy winter with lots of snow.

This week I also was pet-sitting for my friends the Robinsons who live in a house at Jackson Lake Dam. Let's just say it was quite an adventure. The three cats were actually not too much of a problem. The problem all laid with the deaf, half blind and VERY old dog. The dog barked almost 100% of the 4 days I was watching him. He was barking when I left for work, barking when I came home, barking the WHOLE night through. And by WHOLE night, I mean the ENTIRE night! Grrrr.... Then came the adventures of cleaning up after him, feeding him (he will only eat heart)and getting him to go to the bathroom. In most places letting your dog outside to go to the bathroom is hardly an adventure. In most places though you are not living in the woods, a few miles from the closest house, in over a foot of snow and trying to fight off a fox who just wants to eat the dog as a snack. Oh my! Needless to say I went into Jackson the day I finished pet-sitting and treated myself to dinner with a friend.

Moran, Wyoming

The day after I left Yellowstone I started my new job at the Grand Teton Lodge Company. My office is located inside Jackson Lake Lodge and I live on the grounds there. The above picture is of my new place. And here is the view. I can still hardly believe I get to work here and can see the Grand every morning on my walk to work!

My new dorm is really nice, even though I still have a lot of unpacking to do. We each have our own room and bathroom. Then, in the center of the dorm building, there is a common living room and kitchen. I am BEYOND excited about the fact that I have my own kitchen again. The nice thing is that only a couple of us girls actually use the kitchen so it stays clean and we don't have to worry about other people taking our food.

As for my job I am working in the reservation office for GTLC. I already I know I love working in a reservation office and so far I am really liking working here. I think this is a great new change for me and I am really looking forward to everything that is to come.

Leaving Yellowstone

The last day of my summer contract was October 20th. The above picture is of my view as I was leaving Mammoth, the hotel and my office in the rear view mirror. It was another fantastic 6 months working for Xanterra and I truly cherish all the new friends I made this year.

And with that, I have left Yellowstone. Again.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I'm Moving!

As I mentioned last time I have some news regarding where I'm off to next since my last day in Yellowstone is Wednesday. Well, I am happy to announce that I am moving south to Grand Teton National Park where I have accepted a position with the Grant Teton Lodging Company. I'll be living and working on the grounds of Jackson Lake Lodge. I am pretty excited about the change, being close to several good friends and being close to Jackson.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Well, it has been almost a month since my last post and I have been busy, busy, busy since then. Here’s a run down of what I have been up to since then:

Weekend of September 24-26
Once again I headed to Blackrock for the weekend after I got off work on Friday. (Since I don’t think I have mentioned it before Blackrock is the Forest Service compound where Ross lives, right across the street from the Blackrock Ranger Station which is about 12 East of Moran Junction) Ross’s brother Warren had a friend Sean staying with them at the house for a couple of weeks and the three of them had steaks grilling on the BBQ when I arrived at the house. Yum! After dinner we (Warren and I) opened birthday presents. Warren’s birthday was the week prior and mine was a few days away. It was the perfect ending to the week. I truly enjoy relaxing with good friends, good food and fantastic views at the end of the day.

On Saturday we all had plans to go see the Bar J Wranglers. I had never been before but had heard nothing but good things about them. The Bar J Wranglers is a dinner & cowboy show near Jackson, WY where they host about 700 people a night all summer long. You must make reservations but then seating is first come, first serve. Because of this it is often suggested you send part of your party down a couple hours before the gates open, this is the job Ross and I were selected for. We were not early enough to get the good bench seats under the covering, but we were not far away. We passed the time chatting, people watching and following football games on my phone. Finally the gates opened and we were in! After paying for our parties meals and getting our table assignment we made our way into the barn like building to get our seats. Even though you are assigned a table, seating at the table is still first come, first serve. Soon afterwards Sean and Warren arrived. We were then waiting again, passing the time chatting, getting drinks and fresh biscuits from the dutch oven. Before we knew it dinner was about to begin. They serve dinner buffet style and I was totally amazed they got everyone through the lines in less than a half hour. Now that takes practice and efficiency! For the meal you choose your main entrée, (I went for the pork ribs), and then everyone is served chuckwagon beans, applesauce, baked potato, cornbread and spice cake. All of it was very tasty. After awhile everyone starts clearing their tables and the wranglers get ready to start their show. The show includes 5 Bar J Wranglers who sing cowboy songs and put on a good show. They were all fantastic singers and pretty funny comedians as well. This was also the last night of the season so a few pranks were pulled. If you are ever in the Jackson area in the summer and looking for something to do I would highly recommend the Bar J.

On Sunday all 4 of us went into town to run a couple errands, eat lunch at Ocean City (the best Chinese/Thai restaurant) and then drove home through Grand Teton National Park. The fall colors were at their peak this weekend and I wanted to capture some of it’s beauty, not such an easy task with a point and shoot. I had a good time and ended up with some good pictures.

September 27th
My favorite day of the year, my birthday! I turned 33 this year and hopefully it will be as good a year as the rest of my 30s have been. The day itself was pretty un-eventful, as I had to work. After work I headed down to Blackrock though as I had an interview in Jackson the next morning. The evening was spent enjoying my delicious Strawberry Cake.

September 28th
This evening I went to Chico Hot Springs with my friends Laura and Delwyne to celebrate my birthday. We had a decent dinner at the grill and a good soak in the pool as the sun set. Unfortunately, it was a slightly warm day and they were pumping hot water into the pool, as opposed to the cool water they normally do, so we didn’t stay long. I normally love swimming in the Chico pool., it’s so relaxing nestled up against the mountains and under the stars.

Weekend of October 1st-3rd
Well, this weekend was a very laid back, relaxing one. I drove down to Blackrock on Friday and once again the guys had dinner ready, well almost ready, when I got there. This week Sean cooked Chicken Alfredo from scratch. Saturday we headed to Riverton where I got the oil changed in my car and we visited the casino again. The drive over was horrible based on the road construction, multiple delays and very slow construction vehicles. I enjoyed the trip to the casino again and did fairly well. I went in to the casino with $40 and left with $160, all in all a good day for me. Let’s just say Ross did not fair well, however. Nothing much else happened this weekend, except that I baked my 1st batch of pumpkin cookies for the season. Those always bring a smile to anyways face.

Weekend of October 8th – 11th
I took Columbus Day off this year in order to go home to Boise. It was a quick trip, but very enjoyable. Like normal I headed to Blackrock Friday after work. Saturday morning I hit the road early and drove to Boise. It was an enjoyable drive as I was in completely different scenery than normal on this drive until Idaho Falls. I also had an audio book playing which passes the time quickly for me. I rolled into Boise about 4pmish, stopped at the house long enough to say hi to the parents and Rocket and pickup Heather. By 5ish we were down at BSU stadium and ready for the game. BSU was playing Toledo and we won 59-14. While it was not the most exciting game it was fantastic for both of us to actually be at a home game. I also was excited to see my friends Ernest, Greg, Adam and Tom during the game.

Sunday I went over to my moms and we spent the afternoon together. First we went to lunch at the Cheesecake Factory (Thai Lettuce Wraps are one of my favorite things to eat) and then did a little shopping at the mall and Target. It was great seeing her, I only wish we could have had more time together. Later that afternoon I headed over to my parents for Sunday dinner and to celebrate their 25th Anniversary. All 5 of us kids, 2 dogs and parents were there. Quite a change from their normal Sunday evenings I’m guessing. It was great to see everyone though, eat dinner, play games and draw names for Christmas.

Sunday I headed back to Wyoming after eating lunch with my old roommate Cynthia and her fiancé Alex. They just got engaged on Thursday and I am so happy for both of them, I love them both. Now to plan their wedding present, he he.

Well, now you are caught up with my happenings and whereabouts. My contract here in Yellowstone ends on October 20th and big news about where and when I am going next will be posted shortly. I have 2 definite job offers and a tentative one. The tentative one, which is of course the one I want, should be final this afternoon and then I’ll clue you all in.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Montana Governor's Cup Half Marathon

Well, I did it. Again. This weekend I ran and completed my 2nd half marathon of the summer. I still can hardly believe that I can run a half marathon, let alone 2 of them.

This race was the Montana Governor’s Cup in Billings, Montana. The race started SW of town on the road to Molt, Montana. It was pretty chilly in the morning, which made things interesting. Shortly after the race started it became VERY foggy, which did not help my already cold legs. Eventually the fog lifted and the sun came out. The majority of the race ran either along busy streets or through neighborhoods and then it ended at the high school track. It was an exhausting race but I am so glad to have another half marathon under my belt.

After my race, Ross and I drove through Red Lodge, MT and over the Beartooth Mountains on our way back to Mammoth. The Beartooth Mountains were gorgeous, especially with all the aspens turning bright yellow.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

BBQs and Google Sky Map

I had another great weekend full of BBQs and friends as fall has begun to descend on us. (Although you would never be able to tell from all the traffic we still have throughout both parks.)

Friday – As soon as 5pm rolled around I hit the road and zipped on down to Blackrock, pulling in just about 8pm. It was a chilly evening and Ross’s brother Warren had been cooking a pork roast in the crock pot all day. Ross and I got busy in the kitchen fixing up potatoes and corn to go along with the pork and we all set down to dinner. The pork was delicious and I loved being back “home” with my guys after a long, busy week at work. Later that evening we spent some time outside on the porch playing with Google Sky Maps on my phone. The app shows all the stars, constellations, planets and galaxies in the sky. Just point it to where you are looking and it will tell you what you are looking at. Definitely my favorite app. It was during this time that we noticed our friend Chris stumbling through the compound. In fact he was stuck up against some logs and couldn’t quite figure how to get around them. Well, Chris had had a few drinks and was trying to get home. He had lost his shoes and cell phone by the time we saw him. Ross ended up going and rescuing Chris and getting him to his cabin. (We saw Chris again on Sunday and he had found his cell phone, but still no clue where his shoes were. Lol.)

Saturday – Well, I was supposed to go into town this morning and run in a 5k race. When I woke up everything was covered in frost, it was 28 degrees and my shin splint was really hurting. Needless to say the couch, a cup of coffee and a relaxing morning with Ross were much more appealing to me. Eventually we, along with Warren, made our way into Jackson for some shopping and errands. It turned into a gorgeous, sunny day and we stopped several times to get pictures of us all and enjoy the sunshine. Later that afternoon I made a Peanut Butter Pie for a BBQ we were going to at our friends Larry and Judys. The pie turned out delicious; although it was too rich too eat more than a few bites at a time, at least for me. As evening rolled around we headed to Larry and Judy’s for the BBQ. The evening was spent playing horseshoes, chatting, eating, talking and enjoying the evening. Of course my phone and the Google Sky Map came out again. Did I mention how cool that app is?

Sunday – Sunday turned into another gorgeous day. Ross and I headed into the Tetons for a drive through the park and to visit the Moose Visitor Center, which was recently redone. After our Sunday drive we headed home to pick up Warren real quick and then headed to Moran for a town BBQ to benefit the fire department. The fire department puts on the annual BBQ with ribs, chicken, brownies, coleslaw and potato salad. It was all pretty good (at least I thought so) and the place was hopping. It was a fun afternoon chatting with friends, meeting new people and eating good food. After the BBQ we headed back home to relax a bit. Ross and I took a walk around the compound and down to the river, enjoying the warm sunshine. That evening we all headed out again for another BBQ at our friends Ken and Denise’s place with several other Forest Service people. It was a great evening meeting everyone. We had delicious tacos and just ate, drank and talked the night away. So much fun in fact that there was no way I could drive home that evening and ending up staying Sunday night at Blackrock as well.

It was once again another great weekend.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

Are sunsets not just one the best joys on this Earth? I think I could sit and watch them for hours, luckily this weekend I was blessed with several gorgeous ones.

I had a very busy weekend, but enjoyed it all. The fun started on Thursday night when I went to Chico Hot Springs with my friend Delwyne. It was a perfect night and I loved soaking in the pool for awhile. Later that evening my cousin John met us there. John is doing his dental internship in MT this summer and it was great to spend a little time with him. Friday I had to work and John explored the park and fished some. When I got off work we met up again, went to dinner, baked brownies and chilled.

Saturday morning John and I said our good-byes and then I headed to Old Faithful where I had a date to meet Ross at noon on the Old Faithful Inn porch. As I drove into Old Faithful I noticed that Beehive indicator was going off. Beehive is one of my favorite geysers that I don't get to see that often. Ross and I sat for quite awhile waiting for Beehive to erupt, unfortunately it never erupted. (Apparently Beehive gave several false indicators that day.)After giving up on Beehive we went for lunch at the General Store grill and then headed out to the Fountain Lake Drive.

Great Fountain geyser was predicted to erupt that afternoon and we were determined to see it erupt. Great Fountain is a geyser that erupts about every 8-15 hours and I had only see it erupt once. We sat on the boardwalk and were not disappointed as the geyser erupted about 15 minutes after we got there! I was so excited, the eruption was fantastic!

After our afternoon Ross and I headed home to Blackrock. We rested for a little and then headed to Leek's Marina with Ross's brother Warren for pizza dinner. I love the pizza there but the views of Jackson Lake and the sunsets are even better.

Sunday Ross and I headed to Riverton for a little fun at the Wind River Indian Casino before running a few errands in town. I had a good time at the casino and even came out ahead, I went into the casino with $40 and left with $200! I had won a little bit more but we had fun playing on it for several hours. After the casino we ran errands, ate dinner and then headed back home. The sunset was again stunning and the stars were gorgeous when they came out later.

This week I was lucky and didn't have to be to work until noon on Monday so I was able to stay Sunday night at Blackrock as well. I enjoyed the extra time and am grateful I only have 3 days in between visits this week.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Brooks Lake

This past weekend the weather turned. Saturday's weather included rain, hail, thunder, lightning and more rain, ALL DAY. It made for a restful day as I spent the morning shopping around Jackson with Warren, then we met up for lunch with Ross who had to work the fire that day, and then home to bake. I made lots of chocolate/butterscotch chip cookies and orange julius cookies. Yum! I love baking and the bug sure hit me this weekend, good thing it was a rainy day.

On Sunday we had planned to go rafting. The weather was originally predicted to be a repeat of Saturday so the trip was canceled. Wouldn't you know it, Saturday morning turned out to be gorgeous! Oh well. Instead Ross and I headed out for a little Sunday drive over Togwotee Pass and up to Brooks Lake. We then took the Turpin Meadows road home. I had never explored any of this area and it was GORGEOUS! This is part of Brooks Lake. There is a nice little campground on the lake and a lodge across from it. Hopefully we will make it back up there one day to hike and explore some more.

Monday, August 23, 2010

More weekend fun at Blackrock

I just got home from another great weekend at Blackrock. I absolutely love spending my weekends down there with great friends, I just wish I lived a little closer.

Saturday was our lazy day and it was wonderful. After slowly getting ready and enjoying our morning Ross and I headed into Jackson to run a couple errands. Ross got his haircut, I picked up a new shirt, we had lunch at Quizno's and we got a few groceries. After our errands were done we headed back home for naps and to get ready for the evening. Later that afternoon we met up with our good friends Larry and Judy and headed south to Granite Canyon where we were going to spend time in the hot springs and picnic. On our way out of town we had to stop at Smith's to grab a couple of things and Larry needed a snack. (Now let me just say that Larry is one of the funniest guys I know, yet he would do anything for you. He also has an appetite, and I don't mean that lightly. In fact I have never seen someone who can eat as much as he does.) When we got back out on the road Larry pulled out his "snack". It was a piece of chicken breast! It gets better though. As soon as he was done with the chicken breast he pulled out a drumstick! It had Ross and I in stitches we were laughing so much. Our goal for the evening was to head to Granite Hot Springs which is located up Granite Canyon in the Gros Ventre Wilderness. Well, this also happens to be an area where a large fire is burning. As we started up Granite Canyon we ran into some firefighters that Ross and Judy worked with and chatted with them a bit. We also watched as one of the helicopters stopped to fill up with water in the creek and head up to the fire again. It was cool to watch. We continued up the canyon to the hot springs and had a wonderful soak/swim (despite the tons of kids and very talkative old man). After about an hour in the pool we got out and headed down to the campground to grill our dinner. We had a delicious dinner of grilled steak, salad, pasta salad, bread & cheese and toasted s'mores. It was dark by the time we headed out of the canyon and we were able to see actual flames on the ridge. It was a perfect Saturday even though we got home and to bed very late.

Sunday morning we got up and going early. It wasn't very easy since we stayed up late the night before. We got our stuff together and out the door in time to meet Larry and Judy, along with other friends Karl and Michael, at Signal Mountain Lodge for breakfast. We had a delicious breakfast, even though our waitress was lacking. With full tummies we headed out on our hike to Toppings Lake. It was a gorgeous hike, though most of it was straight up to the lake. The trail was also lined with huckleberries which thrilled me to death, I even filled up a sandwich bag full of them on the hike out! The lake was gorgeous and well worth the hike UP. The lake had some serious blow down around it from a storm a few years ago which made it very interesting for Judy and I to scramble over, under and around them. We're tough and managed though. After a break for lunch and some fishing by Michael we made our way out the lake via the other side from which we came in on. It was SO much easier, despite the mud Judy stepped into up to her ankles.
This is where we all separated. Michael and Karl took off for the trailhead while Ross and Larry climbed a spur trail which took you up to the top of the ridge above the lake. After Judy's shoe dried out we started hiking out but stopped at the trail junction where we were to wait for Larry and Ross. Well, the trail to the top was obviously a little longer/harder than the boys thought because Judy and I sat on a log chatting for close to an hour before they showed up again. Once the 4 of us were together again we headed down the trail. The hike out went pretty fast, despite our many stops to pick huckleberries. Once back out to the car we headed to a little cafe on the Buffalo Valley road for dinner. We sat outside on the porch. By the time our food came it was raining and I was freezing though. Brrr. After dinner we picked up my car and headed home to Blackrock where we packed my car up and I said good-bye until the following weekend.

August Visitors

August started out with visitors the first 2 weeks of August. I love having people come from home and visit. The first weekend my friends Marie and Catherine came for a few days. We stayed at Madison Campground and had a great time traveling around the park, taking a small hike and just chatting. I loved have friends from home to hang around for a few days. The only thing we didn't see was a moose and a bear. (I neglected to tell them that I saw a moose driving down to meet them and a bear after I left them.)

The 2nd weekend in August my mom, brother and sister-in-law came to visit. It was Jessica's first time to Yellowstone and I was so excited to show here all around the park. We stayed the first night at Old Faithful and the second night at Roosevelt Lodge. We saw a lot, drove a lot and visited a lot. I really enjoyed having my family here. The other exciting part about their trip was my new "nephew" Jack. Jack is Adam and Jessica's new dog. He was 15 weeks old and is as big as my Nalgene bottle. Everywhere we went, everyone wanted to pet and play with him. I admit he is cute, but no where as cute as Rocket. :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Cascade Canyon and Lake Solitude

My latest Teton adventure was hiking the 14.5 miles round-trip up Cascade Canyon to Lake Solitude. It was a GORGEOUS day, but HOT.

On Saturday morning Ross and I set out for Jenny Lake and took the boat across the lake to the trailhead. (Best $10 spent because you sure are not about to hike around the lake on the way out.) Once you leave the boat it is fairly packed on the trail as everyone heads to Hidden Falls. Past the falls the people slowly start to thin out as you climb up to Inspiration Point, shown below.
After the point, the trail starts to even out as you gradually climb back the canyon. At one point I finally looked behind me and realized we were actually climbing the canyon to the backside of the Grand. Words just can't explain how gorgeous it was. Words can explain how hot it was though. Yuck! Luckily there were several little streams coming out of the hillside that Ross dipped his shirt off and patted himself down with. I just dipped my hat in and let that cool me off.

Eventually the trail started climbing steeply up the mountain. The back on the canyon was in site and we knew what waited at the top; Lake Solitude! Lake Solitude sits at 9035' and is just gorgeous. After lunch I dipped my toes in the water to cool off. It was COLD, but felt great. We played around the lake a little, sat and enjoyed the silence and then started the hike down.

The hike down went quickly, could have been that we were tired, hot sick of the flies and trying to make sure we made the last boat across the lake. We did make the boat and it started raining just as we reached our car. Another great hike in the Tetons and another canyon crossed off our list.