My camping equipment

My camping equipment
Campsite setup

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Summer Trip 2019, Paonia State Park, Colorado

Spruce Campground

Paonia State Park is located in Gunnison county east of Paonia, Colorado. This park is in a canyon surrounding the Paonia reservoir on the north fork of the Gunnison river. Spruce campground is just north of the reservoir on the banks of the Muddy Creek. It is nicely forested with old growth trees. There is no electric, however there are restrooms and spacious sites with fire rings & picnic tables. 

View of the surrounding mountains from Spruce campground

Our campsite

Muddy Creek near our campsite

Enjoying a campfire at our campsite
The north end of the Paonia Reservoir 

The Paonia Reservoir 

During our three night stay at Paonia State Park we drove to the mountain town of Marble about 11 miles north of our campsite. Marble is a mining area where many parts of our country get there supply of white marble. We were lucky enough to be there for the month long marble carving workshop that is held once a year in July. The workmanship and skill level to carve marble is truly an art form that is fascinating to see. We saw great pieces of artwork either completed or in the process of being created. Marble, CO is a great place to visit while in this area of Colorado for not only it's amazing marble background but also for the many outdoor activities centered in the scenic Rockies.

Marble from the quarry ready to be shipped

The bell tower in Marble,CO

Crystal Falls

Marble and bronze carving

One of the instructors at the workshop working on very detailed carvings

The carvings are of all sizes with a good deal of content

High powered tools are required to sculpture white marble
Beaver Lake 

The mountain town of Paonia, CO is just west of the park. It is a wonderful place to visit with its many wineries, shops, and bed & breakfast providing a hospitality that is centered around this organic farming community. The areas residents are skilled in the arts, farming, craftsmanship and just down home friendliness that makes visitors feel welcomed. We enjoyed a day walking around town and visiting the local establishments in the area. 

Mural on a side of a building in downtown Paonia

Big B's orchids hand pick organic produce market just west of Paonia, CO

UP Coal train carrying a load of anthrisite from the mines north of Paonia in Somerset, CO

Local artist creation, great RV of the streamline variety
Elsewhere Studios for artist residency programs

For my readers who do not camp the The Wisehart Spring Inn is a great bed and breakfast to stay while your in town. Art and Erin have done a wonder job building a castle like upstairs that will accommodate up to eight visitors. I meet Art in downtown Paonia at the Thai takeout stand where I had lunch. The folks in Paonia are friendly and engaging giving visitors a warm welcome while they are in town.

The Wisehart Springs Inn

The view from the back of the Wisehart Spring Inn

The back yard at the Wisehart Springs Inn

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Summer Trip 2019, Buffalo Bill State Park

Buffalo Bill State Park, North Fork Campground

Buffalo Bill State Park is not far from the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park near Cody, Wyoming. North Fork campground has electric, restrooms & showers.  It is located at the end of the reservoir on the banks of the North Fork of the Shoshone River. The reservoir was created by the Buffalo Bill Dam, a tall historic structure that was built in between 1905 & 1910. The dam is amazing feat of engineering that visitors can explore the history of at the visitors center at the top of the structure. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and was named a National Civil Engineering landmark in 1973.

Our campsite at Buffalo Bill State Park

Our camper from a distant point of view showing the tall canyon walls in the park

The Buffalo Bill dam reservoir 

Kayaker out on the waters of the reservoir

During our two night stay at Buffalo Bill State park we drove into Cody, Wyoming to visit the Buffalo Bill Center of the West If you are in this area if is a must visit where can you spend literally hours visiting the various museums in this amazing place. This includes the Draper National History museum with it's collection of animal exhibits of all kinds, the Plains Indian museum, the Buffalo Bill museum and the Whitney Western Art museum. The displays and content provide for a great educational experience of the old west that is unparalleled in scope.

The Buffalo Bill Museum of the West

The Draper Natural History Museum

Bull Moose

Male bull Elk

Pronghorn Antelope 

Golden Eagle gallery

The Plains Indian Museum

Indian themed sculpture in the gardens

Buffalo Bill museum

Photo of Buffalo Bill with his sister

US mail stagecoach 

Buffalo Bill's saddle

Poster of the Buffalo Bill Wild West show for the queen in London

This area of western Wyoming is full of history and beautiful scenery. It is great place to stop on your way or way back from Yellowstone.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Summer Trip 2019, Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park, Grant Village Campground

Yellowstone is the very first national park in the United States to be formed by the United States congress. It is full of natural geothermal wonders such as hot springs, geysers and steam vents that beckon to the parks volcanic legacy. Yellowstone is a super volcano with a caldera that encompasses a vast portion of the park. No where is this feature more noticeable then in the parks many geyser basins such as the Old Faithful geyser basin. 

Old Faithful erupting

Crested Hot Springs

Female Elk in the waters of the Gibbons River

Old Faithful Lodge

Heart Hot Springs

The Lion geyser grouping

Grand geyser erupting

During our visit to Yellowstone we stayed at the Grant Village campground next to the West Thumb area of Yellowstone Lake. The campgrounds here have no electric however we were blessed with flush toilets and showers that were in the common area near the campground store. The nights were cool with lows in the 30's at night which is not uncommon due to the elevation of the park that averages about 7,800 feet. Yellowstone Lake is the largest Alpine lake in the world. I would say it is perhaps one of the most beautiful as well.

Our campsite at Grant Village, because of bears we had to keep our food stored carefully

West Thumb portion of Yellowstone Lake

Kayakers enjoying the calm waters of Yellowstone Lake near our campsite

Yellowstone is a very diverse ecosystem with majestic canyons and towering mountains that create a sense of awe for those who come to visit this unique park. Even pictures can not capture the grandeur of the landscape that is beyond what images can reveal. One has to actually see the natural wonders of this park to truly understand how special it is. All I can do is plant a seed with my images so that one day you may explore this beautiful place.

Artist Point, Yellowstone Canyon

Buffalo family in Hayden Valley 

Inspiration Point, Yellowstone Canyon

Dragons Mouth Spring, just south of Hayden Valley

Lower Falls, Yellowstone River Canyon

Large bull bison walking down the grand loop road in Yellowstone

The winding Yellowstone River making it's way through Hayden Valley
The sheer majestic qualities and the abundant wildlife of Yellowstone should always be preserved and cherished. It is up to us to protect our national treasures so that one day our children's children will come to know how special nature can be. Our planet is a precious jewel that is our only home. We need to preserve our natural lands so others can come to know the joy of visiting our countries beautiful national parks & protected wildlife sanctuarys.

Mother Elk with sibling at West Thumb Geyser Basin

Fishhole hot spring, West Thumb Geyser Basin

Paddling the waters of Yellowstone Lake off of the West Thumb Geyser Basin
Cliff Geyser erupting, Black Sand Geyser Basin

 Hot spring jewel, Biscuit Geyser Basin

White Doom Geyser erupting in the Firehole Geyser Basin