Tag Archives: Yellowstone River

Listeria – Inspiration Point

24 May

In the last post, I wrote about the list by True West of historic sites “that will make you weep.” That article contains a couple of secondary lists. One of those is “10 Western History Shrines That Will Inspire You.” Following are the ones that I have visited.

1. The Arch, St. Louis, Missouri – It is impressive to see. Driving into St. Louis, anyone can see that it dominates the skyline. However, I never saw it as inspiring. That could be because I have never been in it. I have been at its base and in the underground museum about westward expansion. However, my dislike of heights has kept me from going to the top. By the way, its real name is the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.

2. The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas – In the last post, I wrote about my disappointment with the Alamo. Any place where people gave their lives is a place of inspiration. However, I cannot get over my initial feelings about the site.

3. Custer National Cemetery, Little Big Horn National Historic Battlefield – Before you get to the welcome center or the battlefield, you pass the cemetery. Like other military cemeteries, this one makes you think about all of those who gave their lives for their country. Our nation has not always gone into a fight for a just reason, but that does not lessen the sacrifices of those who served.Montana 2012 and Other Stuff 123

4. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho – The last time I was in the park was with my dad, my brother and my nephews. We did not go into the heart of the park but walked around the Mammoth Hot Springs and the Yellowstone River. The natural wonders are amazing, and the power of the earth is inspiring. Everyone should see Old Faithful at least once.Montana 2012 and Other Stuff 275

5. The Palace of the Governor’s, Santa Fe, New Mexico – I could have been there this week but had other things to do. It is the oldest government building in the United States. Today, it is a museum, but it has witness great events in history. It has been under Spanish rule and American rule. Heck, it has also been under Confederate rule. Governor Lew Wallace finished his novel, Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ, within its walls.SONY DSC

6. The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California – My wife and I drove across the bridge on our honeymoon. It is a cool feeling to drive across one of the most famous bridges in the world. However, I did not expect all of the people walking and cycling across it. Just thinking about the power of the currents underneath is enough to inspire.image-25

8. Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Keystone, South Dakota – This is truly an amazing site. Looking up at George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln is an inspiring view. However, I cannot help but think that the Black Hills were taken from the Native Americans to get at its gold.

9. Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer, South Dakota – This one is also in the Black Hills and is the Native American answer to Mount Rushmore. Crazy Horse was a famous warrior, but I wonder what he would think about a mountain being carved into his likeness. There are no known photographs of Crazy Horse, so we have no idea if this looks like him. On top of that, they have been carving the mountain for decades, and it is nowhere near finished. When I see it, I cannot help but think that the Native Americans are getting shafted again.

There is another list called “10 Western Sites That Will Make You Misty.” Next time, I think I will skip that one and move on to another subject. I do not find it very interesting or misty.

To Yellowstone and Beyond

17 Aug

Our last full day on the trip was a good one because went to my favorite place, Yellowstone National Park. We didn’t have time to go into the heart of the park and see the geysers. However, just entering its borders provided a feeling of being somewhere special.

We exited the interstate at Livingston, Montana, famous for being the filming location of A River Runs Through It. Livingston is a small town that can easily be turned into a scene from the early 2oth Century.

This church can be seen in the movie.

Before it became a movie locale, Livingston was known as the “Gateway to Yellowstone”, as travelers disembarked at its train station to take coaches into the park. Although, the north entrance has little traffic today, at one time this is how everyone entered Yellowstone. It’s ease and its history makes it my favorite way to go in.

The road out of Livingston follows the Yellowstone River through a valley filled with farms, ranches and vacation homes. We passed livestock and people fly fishing. As everyone took in the scenery, my mind drifted into the past. I was last in Yellowstone fourteen years ago. I had spent some time doing research in Butte and decided to spend my last weekend at the Old Faithful Lodge. It was a different time and place in my life, and I couldn’t help but think how much things have changed.

Finally, we made it to the gate that, at one time, everyone went through.

Gateway to Another Dimension – a Dimension of Natural Wonders

This led us to Mammoth Hot Springs, one of the park’s least appreciated wonders.

It looks better than it smells.

After walking the planks around the hot springs, we had lunch at the Roosevelt Lodge, where a Tennessee girl was our waitress. It was nourishment, but that’s about it. But, I needed it because I hiked with my nephews at Tower Falls. Going down was a lot easier than coming up. However, we got some good pictures.

Tower Falls

Proof that I hiked to the river.

We left the falls and drove toward the park’s exit and Cooke City. From the back seat, I said, “This is the first time I have ever been to Yellowstone and not seen buffalo.” Around the next bend, we saw buffalo, the best thing in the park, and my trip was complete. There is nothing that provides me with the feeling of the West like seeing these majestic creatures, the ones that were almost extinct.

There was once millions of buffalo throughout North America.

We stopped in Cooke City for a short break before driving on. We knew that there was a beautiful drive ahead, and I seemed to remember going that way on my previous trip. However, we were not prepared for what was about to happen. We went winding up and up until we reached an elevation of 11,000 feet. It’s one of the highest roads in the United States. As we went up, the air got colder and the sky got darker. Before we knew it, we were above the tree line, and it was snowing. Pictures can probably describe it better than I can.

That’s some cold water.

Only George Custer would have a national forest named after him that had no trees.

Remember, this is early August.

As my nephews played in the snow, my dad, my brother and I were wanting to get off this mountain as fast as possible. We finally did that and found ourselves in Billings, the city where the trip began. We even got the same hotel rooms that we had on the first night. After checking in, we ate at Jake’s, in downtown Billings, and talked about the past week.

We all had a great time and saw some great places. However, the best part of the journey was completing it together.