Crackdown on undocumented people begins

Aside

This post is a departure from my usual travel blogs, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about for awhile so I’m trying it out.  If you do read this short post I’d be  interested in hearing what you have to say.  It’s not enough to be in favor or opposed to the immigration roundup — it’s important to understand how we’ve come to this point — I believe that history matters, and the majority of people don’t have a clue that when it comes to immigration, the sins of the parents are being visited upon us — the children.

(link to the New York Times article on Trump’s immigration crackdown.)

Do you ever ask yourself why people are willing to leave home and family  and make the dangerous trip here from Mexico and South and Central America?  Sometimes parents have to leave children behind with grandparents and they aren’t reunited for years.  Then they come here and need to hide while trying to make money to live on and send home.  There are powerful factors motivating them or they couldn’t muster the courage.

They do it because their countries are impoverished and/or in chaos and WE — the govt and the C.I.A. and the armed forces and the business people and yes — we — the consumers of the U.S.A. —  have contributed mightily to their poverty.

A tiny bit of history: In 1935 General Smedley D. Butler wrote

“I spent thirty-three years and four months in active service . . . [in] the Marine Corps. . . . during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the bankers. In short I was a racketeer for capitalism. . . Thus I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank to collect revenues in. . . I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras “right for American fruit companies in 1903.” (from “Open Veins of Latin America” p. 108)

 

Thoughts?  Agree?  Disagree? More to add?

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Aside

Buffalo-mts-flock We left the Tetons On July 15 and headed to Bozeman, Montana where we met up with our son Jake and attended his friend’s (also named Jake) wedding.  Bozeman was mostly about visiting family and catching up on internet and laundry, although we did take the time to go to Norris Hot Spring.

Followers of this blog from last year might remember a more sunburned Terry last summer. Anyway, Norris was a great day -- lots of unchlorinated hot mineral water.

Norris was a great day

The drive from Bozeman to Norris is beautiful and then we get to a dry dusty parking lot and walk into the pool, surrounded by flowers and hills and statues of Buddha plus organic lunch offerings.

The drive from Bozeman to Norris is beautiful and then we get to a dry dusty parking lot and walk into the pool, surrounded by flowers and hills and statues of Buddha plus organic lunch offerings.

After five days we headed east and north to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.  Along the way we stopped at Pompey’s Pillar National Monument — where William Clark (of Lewis and Clark fame) camped out. Even though we had several hours to go, I told Terry that it was important that the journey be part of the adventure and that we needed to stop. He agreed.

This was one of those nerve wracking side of the road stops on the highway, but it meant a lot to Terry

This was one of those nerve wracking side of the road stops on the highway, but it meant a lot to Terry.

This flower spoke to me as I snapped Terry in front of the Terry, Montana sign

This flower spoke to me as I snapped Terry in front of the Terry, Montana sign

William Clark stood on this rock, carved his name into it and wrote in his diary that the mosquitoes were horrible -- kept him up all night. We saw nary a one. It was probably too hot for them.

William Clark stood on this rock, carved his name into it and wrote in his diary that the mosquitoes were horrible — kept him up all night. We saw nary a one. It was probably too hot for them.  It was definitely too hot for me.

We made it -- and saw what William Clark saw.

We made it — and saw what William Clark saw.

I was already regretting our rash decision to climb this rock at high noon, but Terry could not be deterred

I was already regretting our rash decision to climb at high noon, but Terry could not be deterred

The stop was nearly a fatal error because it delayed our arrival at Theodore Roosevelt NP by about an hour, and we almost didn’t get a campsite.  This would have been a real bummer, since it was five miles into the campground from the entrance, on a twisty pot holed road, and we really didn’t want to have to turn around.  We managed to squeeze into the tiniest site in the campground and collapsed.

I love the shape of this mound

I love the shape of this mound

Next morning we went looking for a different site, and I was so intent on finding one with a view that I didn’t stop to think that, when it is 95 degrees and no electricity for air conditioning, shade is more important than the visuals.  I will definitely remember that in the future.

Anyway, for now I’ll gloss over how hot it was and how we suffered, and concentrate on what was the most important part of our stay — Buffalo!

Buffalo wallow

Buffalo wallow

Buffalo were everywhere -- alone and in herds.

Buffalo were everywhere — alone and in herds.

We needed to pass through Yellowstone both on our way to and from the Tetons and each time we were ecstatic to see a buffalo (interchangeably called bison).  in Theodore Roosevelt we saw herds of bison as well as individual bison.

Bear Jam

Bear Jam near Signal Mountain Campground in the Tetons. We literally could not get through the road.  Having just seen Lewis the day before we did not join the bear jam.

A word here about spotting wildlife.  In Yellowstone and in the Tetons there were traffic jams when wildlife were spotted.  It was pretty amazing that when we saw Lewis the Bear in the Tetons there was no one else around.  And in Theodore Roosevelt there were other people watching the bison with us, but no traffic jams.Blogyellowfloweridentify

Spotting that bear so close to the place where I’d just been swimming made me a little nervous about hiking, especially on little used trails.  It drove Terry crazy, but I would sing when we hiked.  Other people carried bells and even played rock music.  We never carried bear spray but many people did.  We were skeptical as to whether we’d be able to use it effectively if (God forbid) we needed it.  But I just read about some hikers in Yellowstone who did use it last year and lived to tell the tale.  They sprayed and then played dead.

Anyway, besides bison we saw some wonderful scenery, but we needed to break our habit of hiking at noon — our second day in the park we actually left for our morning hike at 6 A.M.Grasses-front-mounds

Sunrise Walk

Sunset Walk

Cone Flowers -- We saw them in the Tetons when they were just beginning to flower

Cone Flowers — We saw some in the Tetons when they were just beginning to flower.  These were at their peak.  I think.

Sunset Walk

Sunset Walk

Our sunset walk ended at this point -- just before we turned around Terry saw a herd of wild horses in the distance. I was thrilled to see them and it also justified the binoculars I'd schlepped. They were too far away to take photos.

Our sunset walk the second day ended here — before we turned around Terry spotted a herd of wild horses in the distance. I was thrilled to see them, and it also justified the binoculars I’d schlepped. They were too far away to take photos.

Just before we left for our sunrise walk, I walked to the campsite across the road and snapped this photo. Next time we'll make reservations and camp at this spot -- it had shade AND a view.

Before we left for our sunrise walk, I walked to the campsite across the road and snapped this photo. Next time we’ll make reservations and camp at this spot — it had shade AND a view.

We came home through Minnesota and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and down through Toledo to the Finger Lakes.  I’ll post more about that and I’ll also add some of Terry’s pictures AND his bison video at a later date.

 

With love,

Ruth

 

 

 

The Grand Tetons — Jenny Lake hikes

Aside

Blog-Dam-water-glassTerry and I are blessed with the gift of time.  To spend two weeks in the Tetons meant that we could leisurely learn about the park. It also meant that we could recuperate from long days of hiking and sightseeing.  And I do mean recuperate.

No one is giving us awards for physical fitness. When we’re home we try to walk regularly (with the emphasis on “try”) but we don’t set any speed records, and we certainly don’t do any endurance training.

So that — plus the altitude change — plus we usually start hiking at the hottest part of the day — is probably why we were ready to collapse after climbing to Inspiration Point on Jenny Lake. Continue reading

Daily Life in the Tetons

Our home in the Tetons

Our home in the Tetons

For two weeks, Loop L in Colter Bay Campground was our home in the Tetons.  We didn’t have the perfect site — there was no amazing view — but it was fairly private, there was room to do yoga, generator free and more important than I like to admit — close to the restrooms.  This was particularly important because we had to haul fresh water to refill our tank and haul our gray water to the campground sink every time we did dishes. The rangers are sticklers for keeping the campsites neat and tidy — not a single thing related to food is to be left out if we aren’t there.  This is because of wildlife in general and bears in particular.  We are constantly reminded that if bears are attracted to food in campsites they become a menace and sometimes have to be killed as a result.   The rangers left notes if you were particularly clean or particularly dirty.  We got neither note.

You can never have too many wash tubs on a camping trip.

You can never have too many wash tubs on a camping trip.  This photo must be enlarged to be truly appreciated.

Continue reading

From Starved Rock, Illinois, to the Grand Tetons — Writing from the laundromat at ColterBay Campground, Grand Tetons

If you’ve been following this blog you know that we are presently in the Grand Tetons.  This post is an attempt to catch you up on what we experienced between Maumee Bay State Park in Ohio, and the Tetons.

Fun Fact:  Roaches can live for several days after their heads have been cut off.

We learned that from a children’s book on insects we bought at the Visitor Center at Starved Rock Campground in Illinois.

That was about the only thing we learned because the constant rain caused so much flooding that our hearts weren’t in hiking.

The second night we were there, three tornadoes occurred within five miles of our campground.  That morning we pulled out and landed in a campground near Des Moines, where the rain never stopped; the campground manager told us that if the tornado alarm sounded we could take shelter in the bathrooms. Terry woke  me up in the middle of the night to inform me that we needed to build an Ark. Then he fell back asleep and left me to think about the details of escaping from floods and tornadoes. Continue reading

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE BEAR KIND — July 11, Jackson, Wyoming

Aside

 

I’m interrupting the chronological details of our trip to describe our encounter with a bear this past week in the Tetons.  Since Terry was master photographer, I’ve given him carte blanche to write the story:  Reminder:  Clicking on the photos really shows you what we saw.  And clicking on the back button takes you back to the text.

The mountain backdrop

After Ruth’s daily swim in frigid Jenny Lake, where the water is so cold that ordinary mortals’ lungs would freeze solid if you stepped in up to your ankles, we climbed into the car, and began the 1 mile long drive along the gravel access road toward the main loop. No one in sight. All of a sudden, Ruth (who was changing out of her bathing suit in the back seat) yells “Stop! There’s a bear on the side of the road!!”

approach_4frontal_2

And indeed, there was. Calmly foraging in the sagebrush, he looked at us and smiled. We don’t know if it was a “he” or a “she”, but I’m assigning him a gender, and calling him Lewis. He was definitely a Lewis. Continue reading