Monday, September 13, 2010

Beartooths and Chico, MT.


The first week of September included visits from three people I met this spring at the Elks Lodge in Petaluma, Ca where I parked my motorhome while doing all the things I normally do while I am in town.

Don Peterson was a friend of friends. We had been in email contact for a while as I searched for classes in computer photo editing in the Tucson area. A fellow photographer, we went out on a couple of shoots while we were both there. We did the same here in Yellowstone. He went on one of my photo tours and then we spent some time exploring the park and area with cameras in hand. The photo above of the pika and the photos below of the waterfall, mining equipment and the 10, 947 foot summit were taken on our trip to the Beartooth Hwy northeast of the park.
Pika are a tiny member of the rabbit family. They live in rock piles in high elevations where the temperatures are cold. They are one of the species being studied as bellwhethers of climate change.
Linda and Howard Stilley went on my photo tour out of Old Faithful. It was a morning with great lighting and Linda got some great shots and learned some new techniques with her camera. Good chance I will see all three again this Fall as we all have reasons to be back in that area for a bit.

Don atop Beartooth Pass

After my years working in Bodie, I am intrigued with old mining equipment and mining towns. This battery box, fly wheel and cam shaft sit in front of an old log cabin in Cooke City, MT. The dogs next door seemed formidable, barking and snarly when we stopped the car. But despite the barred teeth, they never left their unfenced yard and eventually got used to us photographing next door. The waterfall was along the way.

Treating myself

The next weekend was a retreat for myself. It started off with the simple idea of a soak and Chico Hot Springs, north of the park. And the thought of a soak brought on the idea of a massage.
I could have stopped at that, but I have heard for several years that the dining room there is one of the finest places to eat in Montana. The only reason I haven't eaten there before is that I have not wanted to make the long trip home to Lake area of Yellowstone in the dark. I know the roads well, but bison and elk on the road at night are a serious consideration.
No rooms were available at Chico. Part of the facility dates back to early in the last century with nice rooms and baths down the hall. It was in my price range. Then there are newer additions at higher prices. But with nothing available, I asked if they had other recommendations in the area.
What sependipity. I ended up in the Homestead Cabin. Set up for 4 people, it seemed like a bit much for me alone. But once I met Sarah, the owner, and walked inside, I knew I had found the perfect place for a little retreat, for a break before the last weeks of work in the park.
Sarah is one of those unconventional, bold, active, independent women who I admire. She has done a magnificent job of restoring the cabin and adding all kinds of small touches which make it a perfect place to unwind.
I took a walk through the remains of Old Chico. This is an old mining community. The sky was still stormy after snow and rain the night before, so the lighting was great. And I knew Fall was here because that is when the Rabbit Brush, my nemisis is in bloom. But you have to have one non-perfect thing to keep all the rest of the experience in perspective.
After a dinner in the Chico Hot Springs dining room which fully lived up to all my expectations I headed to the cabin a mile and a half away.
I sunk into the feather bed in the loft, thinking I would watch the stars out the window. By nightfall it was totally clear, there were no lights to interfer, the sky was perfect. But I only lasted minutes. I didn't know another thing until daylight the next day, when I climbed down the ladder and fixed a cup of tea in the kitchen.

Above is Chico Hot Springs. I've soaked there several times. This time I added dinner and a massage the next day.

Interior scenes of the Homestead Cabin. I slept in the loft above. The ladder to it shows in the left of the photo on the right.

scenes around the cabin (hinge) and around the community.

Love old equipment. If this were current discards I'd probably think of it as trash. Somehow when it is rusted and tells the story of an earlier era, I like it.

1 comment:

Don Peterson said...

Thanks for the photo tours and good company and for making my first visit to Yellowstone a special event.

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