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

 

 

 

Tetons — Wrapup

Aside

Goatsbeard

Goatsbeard

As I write it is Monday, July 27 and we are camped near Lake Superior in Marquette, Michigan.  It’s been almost two weeks since we left the Tetons.

Very unoriginal I know — but it’s a big country.

The return east is a bunch of mixed emotions. We’re passing through places that would be nice to visit for awhile, but home and its responsibilities — and its joys and satisfactions — are calling us.  We have plenty of hours in the car to deliberate the Big Question — and all the sub questions — Retirement.  If Terry retires, where will we live?  How will we structure our life?  Will traveling give meaning to our lives — will it replace the community and the institutions in which we’re presently entrenched?

It’s easier to just keep writing about the Tetons.

As I mentioned in my last post, our leisurely mornings invariably find us hiking at the hottest time of day. But I found a good way to cool off -- soaked my shirt and scarf in cold water and stayed cool while those around me were sweating.

As I mentioned in my last post, our leisurely mornings invariably found us hiking at the hottest time of day. But I found a good way to cool off — soaked my shirt and scarf in cold water and stayed comfortable while those around me were sweating.

We were all prepared to visit Yellowstone — had five guide books from our last visit 25 years ago — were familiar with the campgrounds — knew the places we wanted to re-visit.  But I’d not researched anything about the Tetons — So the first few days were a kind of orientation,  recalling what we’d heard, stumbling upon interesting hikes and just figuring things out.

I had what I think is the brilliant idea of eating our breakfasts at scenic points while we contemplated our day.

This picture was taken at the Jckson Lake Dam -- a favorite stop off place. At Idaho's requestthe water was dammed up and diverted to Idaho at the beginning of the 20th century. Great sunsets happen here and we ate breakfast and lunch here.

This picture was taken at Oxbow Bend — a favorite stop off place.  That is the Grand Teton in the distance.  We overheard a tour guide describe the glacier as being in the shape of a guitar, but I definitely see a St. Bernard.

I'm not sure what button I pushed on the camera, but here is a black and white closeup of the Grand Teton glacier.

I’m not sure what button I pushed on the camera, but here is a black and white closeup of the Grand Teton glacier.

While we were at Jackson Dam we ran into Dixon from San Diego -- Terry introduced himself when he saw that Dixon was using a Hasselblad -- with real film. The two of them happily talked cameras until the sunset sent them both running to set up their tripods.

While we were at Jackson Dam we ran into Dixon from San Diego — Terry introduced himself when he saw that Dixon was using a Hasselblad — with real film. The two of them happily talked cameras until the sunset sent them literally running to set up their tripods.

Sunset at Jackson Dam

Sunset at Jackson Dam

Skyrocket Gillia

Skyrocket Gillia

Sticky Geranium

Sticky Geranium

Ansel Adams picture of the snake river

Ansel Adams’ picture of the snake river — 1942

Terry's picture of the Snake River -- standing in the exact spot where Ansel Adams stood -- circa 1945

Terry’s picture of the Snake River — standing in the exact spot where Ansel Adams stood in 1942 — notice how the trees have grown.

Blog-purpledaisies

The view from Signal Mountain is a prominent stop -- This is a view from part way up the mountain.

The viewpoint from Signal Mountain is a prominent stop — This is a photo taken from part way up the mountain.

Breakfast with Chabad -- These Jewish teens were on a three week adventure across the country and one of the counselors invited me to chant morning prayers with them.

Breakfast with Chabad — These Jewish teens were on a three week adventure across the country and one of the counselors invited me to chant morning prayers with them.

Two weeks was really only enough time to familiarize ourselves with the Tetons.  Someday we’ll go back — we have to get a good picture of a moose 🙂

Talk to you soon — and by

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.

Monkshood

Monkshood — Taking pictures of flowers is a lovely way to rest — save face — when climbing.

The thing that differentiates the Tetons is that there are no foothills.  They start at the lake and immediately go straight up.  A week after we arrived, we took the five minute shuttle boat from the Jenny Lake boat launch and started climbing.  We had a choice of two hikes, and we opted for the longer one.

There was a narrow switchback trail that was loaded with people of all ages, which meant that literally every few yards we had to step aside to let people pass. That wasn’t such a bad thing actually because we got to stop, take flower pictures and breathe (these flowers are all courtesy of Terry)

Pale Mountain Dandelion

Pale Mountain Dandelion

The hike was longer than we’d thought it would be but we staggered on.  People coming down assured us that it was totally worth the effort — we’d be beyond inspired when we reached the top.

Colorado Columbine

Colorado Columbine

Finally we got to a place where the path opened up, and I could see the actual mountain peak — and get a glimpse of mountain climbers.

View from the trail at a place where it kind of leveled out.

View from the trail at a place where it kind of leveled out.

Climbers  Just before we got to the end, some people ahead of me were looking to the left of the trail and snapping pictures, and it turned out they were looking at a marmot, which is a fancy word for a large squirrel.

Marmot

Marmot.

I was a little ahead of Terry, and then I rounded a corner and there it was.

The View

The View

Was that it?  Where had these people been, that they thought this was so inspiring?  The chocolate in my fanny pack was completely melted into the paper, not that we were hungry, and now we faced the down hill climb, completely uninspired.

I seriously wondered if we’d need to be helicoptered out, but as someone coming down had said, “I don’t care what they say, going down is a lot easier than going up.”  And he was so right!

Sickletop lousewort

Sickletop lousewort

We easily made it back to the shuttle boat (except for a knee ache here, a foot ache there) got back to the marina, I jumped into the soothing ice cold waters of Jenny Lake and we started driving back — just in time to see — remember last week’s post — Louis the Bear!!!!

Foraging

Foraging

 

So maybe Inspiration Point was a fizzle, but if we hadn’t done exactly what we’d done at exactly that time, we would not have been in the right place for Terry to take 250 pictures of the bear.

And THAT was inspiring.

Anyway, the following week we returned and took the shorter hike to “Hidden Falls,” and that was lovely, despite the same crowds of people.

Hidden Falls

Hidden Falls

Til next time,

Ruth

 

 

 

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.

When we first arrived, it was hazy — this may have been because of the wildfires in Canada — we don’t know.  But as the days went on, the mountains got clearer.  We discovered a couple of paths from our loop through the woods to the Jackson Lake shore, and on a few days the walk along the beach was enough to keep us busy.  I was particularly happy because when planning the trip I’d fantasized about lake swimming, and the great thing about the Tetons was that I could swim wherever I wanted.  True, the water was cold, but we had some hot days when ice cold water was welcome — to me.  Terry thought I was crazy. 🙂 Blog-Ruthonbeach

Thistle

Thistle

Log-on-shore Island-lake-through-trees Shore-View-of-.Tetons-through-treesjpg

Harebells in the storm

Harebells in the storm

We think this is buckwheat

American Bistort

Unidentified as yet

Wild Buckwheat

So here’s the thing about flower identification.  Terry purchased several books on wildflowers in the Tetons, and he is steadily working at identifying the photos we both have taken.  But this is taking him awhile to do in a scientific, methodical way and I am impatient to publish the blog posts.  So if you see a misidentification, feel free to let me know. Orange-Mountain_Dandelion-7:11Orange Mountain Dandelion 

My favorite swimming hole -- because I could walk to it

My favorite swimming hole — because I could walk to it

Closeup of the thistle

Closeup of the thistle

Red twinberry  -- note how it rests on the leaf -- From what we have learned it seems to be related to the honeysuckle plant and is too bitter to eat.  We don't think it is poisonous but haven't confirmed that

Red twinberry — note how it rests on the leaf — From what we have learned it seems to be related to the honeysuckle plant and is too bitter to eat. We don’t think it is poisonous but haven’t confirmed that

That’s all for now, Ruth

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.

Anyway — there were no tornadoes — only 6″ of rain — and in the morning we drove to Sioux Falls where we camped in the Lyon Fairgrounds Lyon_Ruthand I got to take pictures of wildlife.Dog_ruth's_best

We have learned that prairie dogs are actually a kind of ground squirrel.  I sat outside the trailer for about half an hour and just shot away as they poked out of tiny holes in the ground.

We have learned that prairie dogs are actually a kind of ground squirrel. I sat outside the trailer for about half an hour and just shot away as they poked out of tiny holes in the ground.

We took walks along the Falls of course, and went to our favorite Cambodian and Vietnamese restaurants. Sioux_Falls_2

Heron at the Falls

Heron at the Falls

We also developed car trouble — nothing serious, just a car alarm that started going off for no reason at all — constantly. Unless we left the car unlocked. These things always happen on weekends, but we were able to make an appointment with the Toyota dealer in Sheridan Wyoming for the following Tuesday.  Until then we needed to leave the car unlocked.

When you’re from an urban area, that is definitely a counter intuitive thing to do.

From Sioux Falls it was on to the Badlands, where the sun shone HOT, but prior to our visit, the area had received 15 inches of rain in one month, and the mosquitoes were horrible. When we went out for our sunrise walk, Terry was positively swarmed.

He is now a “Deet” person.”

Prickley Pear

Prickly Pear

white

Bighorn Female.  We thought they were deer, but then we saw the description at the Visitor Center and they seem to be female Bighorn.  Note the tails.

Bighorn Female. We thought they were deer, but then we saw the description at the Visitor Center and they seem to be female Bighorn. Note the tails.

To me it looks like a Buddah, but I need to go back and get it at the right time of day.

To me it looks like a Buddah, but Terry doesn’t see it.  I need to go back and get it at a different time of day.  The next photo is a picture of the same scene with more surrounding details.

Blog-scenery-with yellow-tint

Sceney-sharp

We thought a Badlands rabbit looked different from an eastern rabbit.

We thought this Badlands rabbit looked different from an eastern rabbit.

                                                          To see Terry in this next photo you need to click on it

Blog-scenerywithterry Blog?Scenery

From the Badlands we went to Sheridan, where the campground owner greeted us with bags of produce from his wife’s organic garden.  Not much to take pictures of, but the showers were amazing!!! We got the car fixed on Tuesday morning and then started driving, unsure exactly where we were going.  We’d planned on Yellowstone, but were not looking forward to the competition for campsites.  Along the way we decided to go to the Tetons. We got to Colter Bay Campground at 5:00 and to our delight they had plenty of availability.

Glacier-distancae

The next post will start to detail our time in the Tetons.

With love,

Ruth

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.

He's leaving us and Terry's backing up the car and photographing at the same time.

Lewis strolled in the meadow, and I snapped about 300 photos within the span of about 15 minutes, all from the driver’s seat of the car, through the passenger window. I had to back the car up slowly along the road while taking photos to stay close, but we were the only people there, so no harm was done. Just us and Lewis.

Foraging

Foraging

A close-up

A close-up

Lewis burrowed in the ground for roots, lumbered across the meadow, and at one point, approached the car directly for a better look at us. Ruth implored me to close the windows at that point, which I didn’t do. Lewis clearly was more interested in the vegetation than us, and we were inside, after all. 300 photographs later, Lewis said goodbye, and wandered off into the distance. A truly peak experience.

Mountain backdropgoodbye

Til next time,

Terry and Ruth