Lamb Update: September 2003

Labor Day Weekendwedding

Leaving HarveyRV at the Freightliner Repair Shop in Salt Lake City for a new air compressor, we began the Fall with a trip to Tucson for Allison's (Annette's sister) wedding.




coffee pot rapids

Coffee Pot Rapids, Island Park - Early September

Upon returning to Salt Lake City, we spent a beautiful day driving to Island Park, Idaho, just west of Yellowstone National Park. After Annette took a quick trip to Toledo and got her Fall IUPUI classes rolling, we decided to spend a couple days exploring. We took short drives to West Yellowstone, Montana, through the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, and to Big Springs, Idaho. We also took an overnight trip to Jackson, WY on Reclamation Road. This gravel road took us on an historic backroad between Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.

Below you'll find two photos taken along Coffee Pot Rapids Trail near Island Park. The one on the left shows Annette looking over a cliff. The one on the right shows the beautiful rapids.


coffee pot rapids


We enjoy a fun sport called Geocaching. It involves using a GPS device to locate hidden treasures such as the coffee can below. Annette's putting Bob the Tomato (a travel bug) into the Coffee Pot Cache. A teacher gave the travel bug to Annette at the NECC (National Educational Computing Conference) in Seattle in June. She's been so busy she hadn't had a chance to place it in a cache to continue it's adventure. To learn more about our geocaching experiences, go to Geocaching: Mobile Mavericks on the Move.


coffee pot cache

coffee pot cache


Sawtell Peak, Island Park - Early September

Fall is approaching quickly. We're at 6536 feet elevation, so we're really in mountains. It got down to 26 degrees last night and there's a chance of snow tonight. It's in the 50s and 60s during the day. Perfect weather for hiking.

We were right, it snowed in the mountains last night, so we took a drive to the top of Sawtell Peak. We visited two geocaches and dropped off two more travel bugs: Larry Boy and Nikki the Singing Elephant.

Our first stop was near the peak called Sawtell Peak geocache. The cache was in a cool old tree.


sawtell cache
sawtell cache


sawtell cache 2Our next stop was at the Sawtell Peak 2 geocache to drop off another travel bug. We also took at hike on the Sawtell - Rock Creek Basin Trail. It was snowy, but easy walking. By the time we got back to the Jeep much of the snow was melting.


swanYellowstone - Mid September

Heavy traffic and road construction has become the norm in Yellowstone National Park. As a result, we considered skipping a trip to the park this time.

On the other hand, we were only a half hour from the west entrance, so we decided to give it a try during the week. Although there was some traffic, it was much less crowded than our past experiences during high season.

Although we didn't see any moose, we did see many other animals including lots of swans, geese, ducks, and other birds. We also saw a bald eagle!




elkOne of the highlights of the trip was the elk rutting and bugling. Fall is the time of year when the male elks gather their harems (groups of female cows) for mating. We spent some time watching the process along the Madison River.

In the photo on the right, you'll see a large bull elk coming across the river to "steal" the cows from the younger elk in the foreground. As the bull crossed the river he began to bugle his intentions. The smaller male gave up quickly. The large bull then led his new cows back across the river. In less than an hour this bull acquired over a dozen new cows for his harem.

Because it was early in the season we didn't see any fights. Once the females are ready for mating the males will become much more aggressive. Read more about it on our Naturescapes: Elk page.


bisonHerds of bison could be seen throughout the park. We particularly enjoyed watching the new calves that were born in the spring.

The bison wander throughout the park and don't seem to be bothered by the roads or the cars. Read more about it on our Naturescapes: Bison page.


slough creek trailWe decided to try a hike in one of the more remote areas of the park. The Slough Creek Trail follows a historic trail through the woods to a beautiful moraine. We enjoyed getting a close-up view of a group of mule deer along the trail.

Although we didn't see moose in the tall grass along the creek, we still enjoyed the hike.


island park aspensIsland Park - Mid September

The cool weather was reflected in the changing aspen leaves. Because aspens share a single root system, entire groves change at the same time. Ranging from lime green to dark orange, aspens are beautiful against a background of pine trees. The photo on the left shows the view from near our campground.




Our last adventure before leaving Island Park involved setting our own geocache. We took a drive north from Red Rocks Lake National Wildlife Reserve. Passing Elk Lake we arrived at Hidden Lake and walked out to Otter Lake. At Otter Lake (below left), we set a geocache on the hill. Check out our Otter Lake Geocaching page for more information.

The undergrowth along the trail was turning red, yellow, and orange. In the photograph (below right), Annette is checking her GPS to see how much further it is back to the jeep.


otter lake Annette with GPS


Island Park, ID to Missoula, MT - Late September

We spent a few hours moving from Island Park, ID to Missoula, MT. Along the way, we enjoyed the sites.

Virginia City, MT. One spot we particularly enjoyed was Virginia City, Montana. This was the first capital of Montana. Now, it's half ghost town and half tourist attraction. We loved the old cars and buildings along the main street.

Annette, Car, Virginia City Virginia City MT

Deer Lodge, MT. Our other stop was Deer Lodge, Montana (below left). My great, great, grandparents came to Deer Lodge in the late 1880's. While my great, great, grandfather enjoyed ranching and mining, my great great grandmother decided life was too hard and headed back to the midwest. Much of the downtown area buildings were built when my family lived there in the late 1800s.

One of the highlights of our trip was a stop at the Montana State Prison Hobby Store (below right). They are known for their prisoner-made, horse hair hat bands, belts, earrings, and key rings. Annette got a belt and Larry got a hat band. An inmate works at the shop and our purchases were made by inmates. Their names are attached to the crafts, so we had an interesting time checking out their records online.

Deer Lodge downtown Deer Lodge prison store

Our last stop was the Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site. This ranch was established in the 1850s and was in operation when my great, great, grandparents lived there. I wonder if they ever visited this ranch.

Grant-Kohrs house ranch

Annette (below) is standing next to the motorhome of the 1800s.

Annette and Wagon


teepee at Big HoleMissoula, MT to North Fork, ID - Late September

The drive from Missoula, Montana to North Fork, Idaho is beautiful. In the mountains between Montana and Idaho is Big Hole National Historic Site near Wisdom, MT. The site is a memorial to the people who fought and died during a conflict between the US Military and the Nez Perce people in 1877.

A recently produced video shown at the visitor center did an excellent job discussing the cultural clashes involved in the conflict.

Big Hole is part of the Nez Perce National Historic Park that traces the movement of the Nez Perce people in the late 1800s.



North Fork, ID - Late Septembersalmon river

We spent a few days at a small campground on the Salmon River. The area contains some of the most remote wilderness in the US (outside Alaska). There are lots of backroads to explore and enjoy. Someday we want to come back and raft the river.





Salmon RiverSalmon River


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Created by Annette Lamb, 9/03.