Tag Archives: Wyoming

*Travel Log* – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming – June 5, 2009

We’ve Had Better Days

Yellowstone National Park to Helena, Montana

  • Bad night – Bob’s not feeling well.
  • Day is cloudy – the sky’s the same color as the steam and sprayfrom the geysers and fumaroles, forecast includes rain.
  • Breakfast at Old Faithful Inn Dining Room.
  • Nancy snaps a few pictures, watches Old Faithful one more time and goes to the temporary visitors center – the new one is taking shape.
  • Grazing BisonWe see a couple of bison grazing very close to the road, also a larger bison herds in meadows plus elk, a pair of nesting bald eagles and a muskrat swimming down the river.
  • Before leaving the park we stop at the Junior Ranger Cabin near Madison Junction.
  • Route US191 from West Yellowstone to Belgrade, goes through the extreme western portion of the park, then follows the Gallatine River for miles and miles.
  • Route US287 from west of Three Forks to Helena – broad valley with mountains in all directions, lots of wheat fields irrigated from the wide Missouri (River).
  • Wingate Hotel, Helena – this is a good facility and good value.
  • No prime rib at Silver Star Steak Company tonight, no Great Northern Carousel ride, no fun!

*Travel Log* – Dubois, Wyoming – June 3, 2009

Centennial, Colorado – Dubois, Wyoming

  • We had to slow down for miles of thick fog between Fort Collins and Laramie.
  • Early June is ideal for crossing Wyoming – recent rains have turned everything green.
  • National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center – Dubois, worth the stop.
  • Sheri Howe – Go Togwotee Trail Public Involvement Specialist – learned about the Togwotee Trail Poject, major improvements to 38 miles of US26/287, a major and scenic route to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks.
  • Sundance Cafe – Exceptional food, chef/staff and atmosphere, loved this place.
  • Twin Pines Lodge & Cabins – #23, Kitten Creek, cozy and comfortable.

Painted Ladies


Being easily entertained I found this sign interesting. Perhaps they don’t make cowboys like they used to, can you imagine John Wayne being caught at the Painted Ladies Salon?

Old Faithful Inn – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Snag a Cancellation – It Works!

Old Faithful Inn Exterior In a previous blog I shared hints from Xanterra Parks and Resorts for securing reservations at some of the country’s best National Park Lodges. “Be persistent,”  they say, “Rooms open up due to a variety of reasons. You might be the lucky one to re-book that room.” Today was my lucky day – I snagged a reservation at Old Faithful Inn on June 4th.

We’ve had the privilege of staying at Lake Yellowstone Hotel, Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel but never the venerable Old Faithful Inn. As a young girl I remember lunch there on my family’s first trip West in the 1950s. Two years ago our Yellowstone National Park vacation included lunch and a interpretive tour of the inn. An overnight was on our “Some Day” list.

Old Faithful Inn Interior 2 In a few days we’re leaving on a road trip to the Pacific Northwest. Two months ago I checked the Xanterra website for a room at Old Faithful Inn without success; I looked again 30 days out since that’s when group tour operators must release rooms they’ve booked but haven’t filled. The last few weeks I’ve occasionally searched the website for availability. No luck until this morning when almost as an after thought I logged on. There it was, a room with two doubles and private bath. It didn’t take long to request and confirm our reservation. Old Faithful Geyser

One additional hint I’d share is to register on the Xanterra site with your information when you begin your searches. That way you’re in the system and can quickly make a reservation when something opens up. Try it – maybe it will be your lucky day.

Xanterra Parks and Resorts operates nine lodges within Yellowstone National Park as well as restaurants, gift shops and activities. Plan your visit at their Yellowstone specific website. They are also official concessionaires at Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Death Valley and Crater Lake National Parks.

Old Faithful Inn - Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Old Faithful Inn – Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park – Wyoming

Plan Now for Summer Fun & Learning

ynp-wolf-viewingAdd an element of discovery and learning to your summer vacation plans in America’s oldest national park. Even if you’ve been a tourist in Yellowstone, going back for a field seminar will provide amazing experiences. The Yellowstone Association Institute, the park’s official educational partner, offers summer field seminars, backpacking courses, lodging & learning programs and private tours.

Creative, historic or scientific, there’s a course sure to peak curious minds. “Whether you are ruled by your ‘right brain’ or your ‘left brain,’ we have a class for you,” said Jeff Brown, director of education for the Yellowstone Association Institute. A sampling of the more than 1oo courses offered during the 2009 summer season:


  • Nature Photography in Yellowstone: The Digital Image
  • Poetry + Ecology =Creative Fusion
  • Writing the Natural History Essay


  • Wolves – Reality and Myth
  • Birding for Beginnersynp-hikers
  • Wildlife Watching in Grizzle Country


  • Day Hiking the Beartooths
  • Fly Fishing for Novices
  • Day Hiking the Wild Yellowstone: Northern Range Area


  • Yellowstone’s Northern Roadside Historyynp-hot-pot1
  • Hiking the History of Yellowstone
  • Ghost Hotels of Yellowstone – Northern Loop


  • Mammoth: 320 Million Years in the Making
  • Exploring the Lower Geyser Basin
  • Tracking the Heat: Yellowstone’s Hot Spots and Calderas 

Taught by college professors, research scientists, park staff and other experts most courses last one to four days. Participant numbers are limited. Many courses are held at the Institute’s Lamar Buffalo Ranch field office campus, others are based at park lodges.


  • Backpacking Courses– Wilderness experiences that allow participants to visit remote areas of the park under the guidance of professional outdoor leaders and Yellowstone experts.
  • Lodging & Learning Packages – Mix education and recreation for visitors wanting to learn more about the park, returning to park lodges at the end of each day.
  • Private Tours – Ideal for families and small groups desiring an introduction to Yellowstone wildlife, geology or a guided hike. Eight-hour trips focus on Yellowstone’s Northern Range, Lake Yellowstone and Canyon area or the Old Faithful area.

ynp-bisonWhen You Go: Complete information available from the Yellowstone Association. Reservations for field seminars, backpacking courses and private tours can be made at 307-344-2294, Lodging and Learning reservations at 866-439-7375. Lodging and visitor services in Yellowstone National Park provided by Xanterra.

The Latest from New York Times Bestseller Author

cj-box-new-bookC.J. Box – Wyoming  Writer

The latest thriller novel from C.J. Box hit bookshelves January 6. Box says, “This is a very dark story, very dark.”  The book is set in Denver, Colorado, a departure for Box. Three Weeks to Say Goodbye takes the reader through a heart-wrenching tale  – a sinister struggle between adoptive parents and teenager birth father and grandfather, a powerful, intimidating Federal judge. Real events involving friends of Box form the basis of the story.

Seven Joe Pickett books demonstrate Box’s ability to build suspenseful plots. Pickett is a Wyoming Game Warden pitted against evil and violence. Box has crafted a protagonist with strength and sensitivity – not an easy task. I love Box’s ability to create a very real sense of place, skillfully transcending imagination to reality. As I’ve read the Pickett series there’s often that “ah-ha” moment of knowing I’ve been in exactly that location, whether it’s a lonely Wyoming back road or a steaming Yellowstone fumarole. A gentleman at the book signing tonight commented to a friend, “When I read his books I want to get in the car and drive to Wyoming.”

cj-box-21Box’s last stand-alone novel, Blue Heaven, was a New York Times bestseller. Retired LA cops and missing children in the woods of Northern Idaho – the spellbinding story has been optioned for a film. Blue Heaven has recently been released in paperback.

After initial signings in Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming, Box came to Denver to introduce Three Weeks to Say Goodbye. A Western book swing will take him through Texas, Arizona, California, Montana and Wyoming. We saw him at Murder By the Book on South Pearl in Denver before he appeared at Tattered Cover. Guess what my next read will be.

2008 Travel Favorites, Picks, Best of… Part 1

Wrapping Up 2008

Everyone seems to be making lists this week. I’ve looked back over this year’s travel experiences and put together highlights and favorites. We didn’t travel as much as usual in 2008 but many fine memories were made along the way.

  • elk-mountain-inn3Best Historic Inn – Elk Mountain Hotel in Elk Mountain, Wyoming — A superbly restored 1905 historic hotel combining the elegance of a by-gone era with the comforts and amenities of the 21st century. Three miles from Interstate 80 but a world away, surrounded by ranchland, this was the best escape we could have imagined. A graduate of  l’Ecole de Cordon Bleu in Paris, Owner/Chef Susan Prescott-Havers, presents an incredible fine dining experience. Susan and husband Arthur are congenial hosts with fascinating backgrounds. An amazing retreat we plan to repeat.

  • water-street-inn2Dream Room – Water Street Inn, Santa Fe, New Mexico – Room 4—We’ve slept around at this Inn for years, staying in many different rooms. This year we found the one I’ll want on every future visit. All the best features we’ve come to expect at our favorite Santa Fe lodging  plus spacious room, kiva fireplace, king four-poster bed, sleeping banco, and chaise lounge create my idea of perfection.

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