MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2016: Blog en-us (C) MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2016 (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2016) Thu, 29 Jun 2017 18:59:00 GMT Thu, 29 Jun 2017 18:59:00 GMT Rocky Mountain Front June 2017 My company and I headed up to the Rocky Mountain Front with a goal of getting to Wood Lake and we did.  Here are some of my photos to share and I'm so thrilled it is so green!  We also stumbled across a waterfall I did not know existed and honestly probably doesn't run all year.  The waterfall photos are all off my iphone as I had to bushwhack a bit to get to it and didn't want to risk the expensive camera.


]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2016) Thu, 29 Jun 2017 18:58:46 GMT
Tizer Gardens June 2017 Have never been here this early in the season so it was fun to see different blooms!  I also walked out with an amazing pressed flower picture and an new metal dog sculpture for my collection!


]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2016) Tue, 27 Jun 2017 16:03:18 GMT
Lewis and Clark Caverns I have never taken pics inside the caverns as honestly hauling a big camera on the 3/4 mile uphill hike to the entrance has not appealed to me and honestly to have a big camera banging around inside isn't a great idea.  But this time I had my iphone with me so what you see here is from that device, not that great but they give you the idea.  We had a brand new guide and he did a marvelous job but if you want to go, get in on the first tour of the day as that hike is on a south facing slope and it has little to no shade, so it gets unbearably hot.  Also, the tour is fairly rigorous and not for EVERY health level.  The cavern entrance is in the mountain side to the right in the panorama, you can see a little dark green spot not too far from the top of that farthest hump....if you can't see it that is okay too!


]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2016) Mon, 26 Jun 2017 14:05:14 GMT
Reservoir Wildlife Sorry I am so far behind.  We are so busy with work and by the time I sign off from there the computer is the LAST on my list of things to do.  Ask my friends I email with!  LOL   So I go out and work on yard and house projects instead of computer stuff.  I saw only one set of babies in the nest and they look fairly well along.  The owlets were gone (probably fledged).  The turtles were a happy surprise!

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2016) Fri, 23 Jun 2017 16:33:04 GMT
My Garden Blooms - June I thought I'd share some of my lovely garden blooms that, with all the moisture we have had are going nuts.  I also spent one entire weekend planting pots to have back by my pergola and have finished another project back there that I'll share later.   Hope these make you happy as they do me!  I am so happy to have so much color around this year and for the first time ever in my 20+ years up here I saw my first swallowtail butterfly.   She stopped by to approve of my potting selections!

This is the change up I did in front of my house.  We had these great stacked pots for the past few years but they were hard to keep watered properly and the pots all needed repainting.  So I saw this operation on a PBS show and ordered one.  Not very thrilled with the quality of it for the price but it will work for what I need (see how crooked it is, that is wobble that couldn't be tightened down).  I will try to remember to take photos of it later in the season if the top fills out as I hope it will.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2016) Fri, 16 Jun 2017 02:56:26 GMT
Tetons, Wyoming Part 2

These last 3 were taken from the same spot and someday I'll actually stitch them together for a panorama.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2016) Mon, 12 Jun 2017 21:52:19 GMT
Tetons, Wyoming Part 1 Sorry I am running late here, between job demands and visitors, I haven't gotten back to my blog!  So here are some more photos from the Wyoming side of the Tetons.  We did a loop drive and I'll share photos in a couple of posts so I don't overwhelm you all in one.  These are from the Mormon settlement and the main highway leading up from Jackson Hole to Yellowstone.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2016) Sun, 11 Jun 2017 17:23:22 GMT
More Idaho Scenery Or otherwise known as "the backside" of the Tetons.   No less amazing I have to say and I really wanted to share just some of the other sites we saw and the AMAZING sunset we got one night.   Hope you enjoy and next posts will be from the Park side (east).

Finally the swans on Swan Lake right off the highway by Island Park.  We'd driven on by a bunch of people pulled off there on the way to the rv park and made a mental note of where it was.  Luckily the loop for the byway took us right by it the next day and I had to stop and get at least one shot!

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2016) Fri, 02 Jun 2017 13:23:10 GMT
Mesa Falls Scenic Byway Part 2 Mesa Falls has a lower and upper falls, quite a ways apart so we stopped at both.  The lower falls you really cannot get to but you can see it and with the high runoff right now it was pretty spectacular.  Looking down upon it you can tell there is hiking trail to the head of the falls (no thanks) and I believe there might actually be trail you can go on to hike between the two.   With bears and vertigo that isn't going to be on my list though.

Lower Mesa Falls

The upper falls has the visitor center and and absolutely astounding maze of metal walkways that take you down to the falls, literally.   There are some serious stairs but well worth it and many points where you can sit down and just enjoy.  That second photo shows some of the walkway and my friend Robin hanging over taking photos.

Great places to stop and just amazing the amount of water going over right now, with our "normal snow fall" this winter they will be roaring for quite a while I think.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2016) Wed, 31 May 2017 16:16:44 GMT
Mesa Falls Scenic Byway Part 1 Am back from my latest camping trip which was planned specifically to get over to the Grand Tetons National Park in Wyoming.   After finding that there really wasn't any good place near Jackson to camp (lots of spots to dry camp in the woods but with temps still getting into the low 30s and a big ol snow storm only days before I left, that wasn't so appealing).   I had made a reservation for night one on the way over at a little park called Aspen Acres outside of Ashton, Idaho so was thrilled when they let me extend and just use that as base camp.   Fabulous little park with full hookups out in the middle of the massive farmlands in the area and it also has a golf course!  Recommend you check it out if you are looking for a place to camp at and tell Rick and Sherri that I said hello.

Day one was a drive on one of the scenic byways in the area.   The Mesa Falls Scenic Byway is a great trip and easily done in a day.   A number of things to see and of course some of it for me was off road.    We tried to get up to Cave Falls but best laid plans were stopped, even for 4WD by snow and downed trees.  I was bummed however we did find a couple of small cascades on the way so all was not lost!    The falls (and one of the two Sheep Falls in the region) are all in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest which offered a number of places to go hike (watch for bears) and meadows to run the poodles.  We did a great deal of exploring on the back roads in that national forest but honestly, there were soooo many trees down on the roads  that it will be a long time before some are open.   Remember the political state in Washington as you try to get back into some of these great natural areas and cannot.  There is that hiring freeze put down by the new administration - so guess what?  No seasonal employees to get out there and move trees (or take care of campgrounds).  Those of us that live here in the west in particular will be seeing more of that I believe, especially on our federally managed wildlands!  

Enough political enlightenment.....

This momma will soon have a fawn or two to care for it appears!

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2016) Mon, 29 May 2017 19:28:37 GMT
Bryce Part 2 Another moody day but we were committed and could skip the first few stops we had already done.  The climb up to 10,000 feet is amazing and it really does just make one stand in awe and wonder.  As my Mom says "God don't make no Junk!"   Some HDR in here that I messed with some - hey otherwise it is all just red rocks!  Depending on your monitor they may look funky.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2016) Thu, 18 May 2017 17:39:54 GMT
Bryce Part 1 We did two trips to Bryce so I'll try to put the photos in two posts for each day.    Hard to choose what to put in here!  The long skinny ones of course are off the editing there.

I personally loved watching the weather go through but the others in the group were not as thrilled with the cold and the wind.  I could have stood at some of those points all day and just taken different shots.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2016) Wed, 17 May 2017 00:07:37 GMT
A Walk up to Mossy Cave The cave wasn't the draw but the waterfall was!   Of course.  I did however take one picture of the moss in the cave just to prove it is there! On the way back out it started snowing.....


]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2016) Sun, 14 May 2017 20:40:23 GMT
Kodachrome Part 2 (and Grosvenor Arch)  

Views around the park and from our drive to Grosvenor Arch.  All part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2016) Sat, 13 May 2017 00:41:58 GMT
Kodachrome Part 1 We love State Parks and I will say that the 2 Utah ones we've stayed at definitely told me that they are cared for as well as the Oregon ones I adore!   I met my family (we had 3 spots together) and had a lovely time with them.  They were game by day 2 to try a short hike so we hooked up Teddy and Epic and they were troopers, hiking up on top of one section of the park and we had amazing views!   I'm probably at this point going to start just posting photos until I get to the post for Bryce.  I have LOADS as every time the light changed the colors and beauty changed as well. 

My two complaints about the campground was the presence of too many ferel children cutting through people's campsites and too many parents that even though they might be with their kid (say on bikes) were letting their children pester other campers.  I am NOT a fan.  My dogs were better behaved than well than at least 3 of the kids camping there.  That said, there were also a few brave families there with their children that were absolute joys to behold.  Well behaved, helping their parents, etc.   Okay, so a pet peeve of mine is that campgrounds of any sorts put loads of restrictions on people with pets, but nothing for those with kids....just sayin!   The other was that they took the time to make lovely paved sites, but they were extremely unlevel.  I was up on 4 blocks on one side of my skinny trailer to get even close.   

Okay on to the photos, these are either from the campground proper or from our hike that first day.

I love these guys and we were really glad it wasn't summer hot when we did this hike.  The one in the lead with Teddy is my Mom - turned 80 while we were there!  Very proud of her!

It was so interesting how this stuff looks like it would be wet mud but it isn't (it probably is during the rains) it is solid sandstone.

Many more to come!  



]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2016) Thu, 11 May 2017 20:13:40 GMT
Highway 12 Scenic Byway After my lovely stop north of Salt Lake City, I headed out fairly early on Sunday morning and headed south, then east, then west.  Yeah I know but hang in there with me.   I will here and now say that the 100 miles from Willard Bay sucked!   Even with no horrible traffic it was stressful hauling the trailer through the city, but we made it without too much trouble.  I did start scouting for gas stations as I got out of the big traffic areas so I knew where I could fill before heading back into the city in a week or so.   I spotted the most lovely, easy access, HUGE parking lot station in Mona, on the exit for Young Living (they make lovely essential oils there at the farms AND host a massive draft horse show each Fall).

I had planned my route to head east at Scipio and then to Selena and a pop back west to catch the Highway 12 Scenic Byway.   Yeah, I should have researched more!   First off, that scenic byway is WAY better going west to east (but I knew going home I didn't want to take the time and effort to do that - when I'm headed home am like a horse headed to the barn).   The other thing I didn't realize (although it wasn't an issue for us) is that there are like 3-4 major mountains you "get to" climb over and not a one of them that you could get a run at.  I thanked God it was cool out!   NOT recommended for large motorhomes or big trailers for sure.    Because I was going the wrong direction AND because I had the trailer I didn't get to pull off and get photos of many of the scenic pull outs that I wanted to.  Oh well.    It was gorgeous but it is a very slow (I knew that going in) drive on curvy mountain roads with speed limits around 30-35.   My recommend, camp at Kodachrome or around Escalante somewhere and then plan a really long day to head over towards Torrey and back with just a car.  It is totally worth it!  I'd also highly recommend getting the pamphlet on the US 12 Scenic Byway and Backways at whatever end you start at (check with the Visitor Centers or online).   

I will say it is a bit hair raising (and I'm used to the mountain driving) driving the backbone of part of Grand Escalante Staircase but there were some nice pulloffs (luckily not much traffic) to get some photos.   So I am going to start the masses of red rock pictures with these couple!  I couldn't stop for long as I needed to keep pulling uphill mostly and didn't want the truck to overheat and didn't want to pull into camp at dark (was meeting my family there).  Tally Ho!

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2016) Tue, 09 May 2017 19:24:04 GMT
Great Salt Lake Here We Come - Oh the Birds! After a 2 night stay in Dillon my friend Robin headed home and the dogs and I headed south to our next stop.   I had reservations at a Utah State Park north of Salt Lake City.   I am a HUGE fan of staying in State Park campgrounds if I can get the services I need.  I'd found this one of course back in December when planning my trip and reserved a spot for 2 nights with a full hookup.  Willard Bay State Park is absolutely lovely and I cannot say enough for the behavior of my fellow campers - most with families.   There were kids (pre-teens especially) wandering the Nature Trail the entire time but they were very well behaved.  The big group a few spots down was playing horse shoes and I'd say at least 50% of the campers had dogs - none of which were running loose.   What a treat!   I also had the honor to meet a camper couple that pulled up across from me with the cutest little tear drop like I'd never seen before.  It was called an A-scape made by the people that make the A-liner trailers.   On my way out on Sunday they were the only ones up and moving and I needed a pair of eyeballs for a trailer light check.  The husband came over, I commented on their trailer and I got a tour (didn't even have to go in).  They'd moved up from a traditional bed only tear drop as hubby had back issues and wanted a trailer he could stand up in.   This was compact and AWESOME.  Come to find out it was one of the first off the line and they'd just gone to AZ to pick it up.   Had a lovely little solar panel on the roof, a/c, a dinette/bed up front and a full kitchen with an under counter fridge.  Nice and light inside and very light to pull.   As we visited before I left I found out the live in Stevensville, MT.   Made me smile.

The only warning about the campground is that due to it's location to the water and confirmation from other campers, come warm weather it is overrun with skeeter and bugs.   I was not surprised so this was the PERFECT time to be there.

I had also noticed that this campground was fairly close to the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and of course I saw the opportunity to possibly do some photos of birds.   Of course I was up and out of the campground fairly early (the sun doesn't come over the mountains though till after 8).  Here are the photos from that adventure.  The visitor center wasn't open yet but luckily the flooding had subsided (happens every year) and I was able to enjoy the drive in to the auto tour.   So here are birds and beautiful scenery from the area.  I will say I was very impressed with myself and the way the bird photos turned out.  Yes, I deleted a LOT but these I was very happy with (and I am my worst critic).

Am going with Glossy Ibis here only because the bird book said you cannot tell it from a White Ibis except in breeding season and even then it appears that is hard to tell....although I think the first photo might just be a White Ibis, the other two definitely fall in the Glossy Ibis category I think.    I saw more ibis here than I've ever seen anywhere.  They were very literally EVERYwhere.   That was so surprising to me.  I just didn't realize there would be so many in this area of the country.

A Cinnamon Teal and his girlfriend.  Was very happy they were so calm and the light was decent.  Aren't those red eyes just striking?

Not the most fabulous photo as these Long-Billed Curlew's were really moving snagging their breakfast.  Still wanted to show it since I did see quite a number of them.

Another hard to photograph bird as they are about as freaky as ducks.  Gotta love those American Coots though (and those freaky green feet).

I couldn't resist the line of swallows.  They really have the cutest faces.

A little bit of shadow but this Meadowloark serenaded me and well, it really is my most favorite bird song ever.

There were amazing numbers of American Avocets out and about and I couldn't resist showing you all some of the preening activity going on.  It did appear most were already paired up.  I am getting to the point with some of my wildlife photos that I'm not looking for perfect portrait things anymore but rather photos that show more of who they are and what they do.

One particular reed and cattail bed was really close to the road and there was so much blackbird activity going on I couldn't resist.   Both Red-Winged and Yellow-Headed blackbirds were hanging around as well as some super quick songbirds that I couldn't capture or identify.   Always a challenge getting the right backgrounds when they are so busy but the last one is kinda different/cool.

A male Northern Shoveler.  He was hanging with his girlfriend but they couldn't figure out if they wanted to stay together.  Another hard to photograph dude because of light, freakishness and that light and dark.  I have a closer one of him but I think I like this one better.

Most of the Western Grebes too were pretty freaky about anyone looking at them.   Still some pretty good shots for far away and knowing they can dive and swim a loooong way before you get the camera focused.

These Black-Necked Stilts were so fun to see in such large numbers.   I was very pleased with these first two shots (oh the challenges of black and white birds) but the water images after were some of my favorites.


I saved the best for last!   This Snowy Egret is a first for me but I will totally admit that had it not been for another guy parked along the road behind his car with a camera I would have missed it!   He of course had the prime light but I'm still pretty tickled at these!



]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2016) Sat, 06 May 2017 18:22:01 GMT
It Was Great Back from a great vacation and have many photos to share.  I'll get the posts out as quickly as I can but I came back to work with a new large scale project and am pulling 10 hour days and by the time I'm done, looking at the computer is the LAST thing I want to do.  Still I want to share my adventures with friends, family and the pups so here we go....

I took off the first day with trailer in tow but not after some drama in that as I was ready to hook up, I noticed a low tire on the truck.  Thank goodness we were leaving later in the day and only had 150 miles to go.   With 90 minutes before Robin would arrive to follow us to Dillon (thank goodness I was pretty much packed up) I had to run to the tire place and get it fixed and the rest checked.  Sure enough - there was a screw in it.  Crisis avoided but more drama to start a vacation than I'd like!

We took the back roads to Dillon and I now have a "go to" route to take if I go that way again (and I did on the way home).   Have done I15 more times than I can count and this was much prettier.   We arrived in Dillon, got setup at camp and ran into town to find La Fiesta Mexicana - a converted school bus that is owned by Mexican immigrant and serves THE BEST Mexican fair I've ever had.  On paper plates with plastic wares but amazing and a ton of food for the price.  So glad we went!

The stay at Countryside RV (where I've stayed many years ago) did not disappoint either.  Lovely spaces, green grass (already mowed), lots of birds out in the irrigation areas.   Reminds me I need to get my Campendium reviews done too!  I also got to use my new gate made by friend Maria for the xpen yard.  OMG it is so nice and so much easier than dealing with unhooking expens.   A+ for that!  I have decided thought I'd like one more expen to make the yard a bit larger -  or at least have the option especially when we are parked on pavement with the skinny trailer.

The next morning we got up and I couldn't get the stove to light, and the water heater was out.   Hmmmm, we had hot water the night before!  Monkeyed around with switching propane tanks and at least got my coffee going but they both were showing all but empty.  The first trip of the season is always spent working out the kinks.

We took off for Bannack with all the dogs loaded up and it was chilly!  The now State Park was awesome and even though the weather wasn't picture perfect we almost had the place to ourselves.  I got some photos of Robin (on her camera) that she wanted and after we were done wandering through the ghost town we went back with the poodles for some fun shots (channeling my friend Carol - not nearly as good as hers but still fun).


First stop the Bannack Cemetery which honestly if you aren't paying attention you'll miss it.   I'm always fascinated by the memorials left (and that no one has run off with those coins).   The wooden head markers that now are all but gone, leaving the dust left under them as a mystery and the amazing iron work that was done back in those days.   This cemetery was very large and most of the markers and fencing are gone but still very interesting to read the stories (or imagine them).   The pebble work on Mabel's grave below is something I have never seen before and I thought it was very cool.

Next stop the town of Bannack - our first State Capitol!  Hope you enjoy the photos....I am sure you will see some of the things that caught my eye, but I leave you to find your own.

And some photogenic poodles!  Well they kinda look like convicts in the first shot!  LOL  We'd found the wagon wheel area taking photos of Robin so I knewwwww that we would have some interesting things there.

Back to the trailer mid afternoon and loaded up the propane tanks and went into Dillon in search of propane.  The gal at the Cenex was awesome, filled em up (and no they were NOT empty) and explained that the last time they were filled it was likely the person who did it (the actual propane place here in Helena no less) didn't take the air off the tops so there was an air lock that we hit.   Nice, but hey, she did it right and all was well the rest of the trip.  Relief and off to Muffaletta's for early dinner.  Another foodie place in Dillon I had heard about.  It did not disappoint!  THE best EVER grilled cheese I've ever eaten and I've eaten a LOT!


]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2016) Fri, 05 May 2017 00:32:02 GMT
That Time of Year Since I've been joyfully watching many snow geese and swans fly over my home and watching them down on Lake Helena, I felt it was a good time to share again some photos from previous years at Freezeout.   I will say I think I have seen more around the Helena Valley this year than in previous and it makes me very happy.

We are happily getting ready for Spring (my garden bulbs are up and the crocus are already done blooming and there are buds on many bushes), not really enjoying the windy days and could use some moisture.  

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2016) Wed, 05 Apr 2017 16:19:14 GMT
Eagle Patience and Rowdy Ravens

We were kind of hoping the eagle would take flight to get over to the carcass when the coyote left.  Nope, she ran her little legs off and high-tailed it over that way.  

Now these two spent a good half an hour flying around arguing about everything.   It was rather comical actually so I had to try to capture them.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2016) Sun, 26 Mar 2017 22:11:15 GMT