February, 2004

Gary, Pauline and Arthur travelled to Bozeman for winter break. Kendal had to stay home for Color Guard practices.

Listening for this trip was Ender's Game, an intense psychological science fiction novel. Reading for the trip was Surviving the Extremes, a fairly technical medical treatment of adventures into several extreme circumstances. We recommend both.

We were joined on this trip by Pauline's son Dan and his girlfriend and by our friends Mike and Lisa.

Pauline's son Dan and his girlfriend Kristina arrived before us (Wednesday night) and were there to greet us when we arrived Saturday night. Sunday morning, we took them on a snow shoe tour of the property. They had been on their own tour earlier in the week, but we had something special to show them.

In the picture at left, Dan and Kristina pose on Attila's Throne. After getting them to pose, Gary informed them that the legend of Attila's Throne says unmarried persons who sit on it will be married within a year. Our Bridger Canyon throne had the same powers for Gary and Pauline, so we are now waiting to see if the effectiveness of our own legend persists.

Sunday evening, we picked up friends Mike and Lisa at the airport. They live in Sacramento, but Mike once lived and worked in Bozeman, and was the person who first suggested we should look there as a nice place to live.

On Monday, we all (except Arthur, who skied) went to the north entrance of Yellowstone Park and hiked around the Mammoth Hot Springs area.

At the Canary Hot Spring, the constantly changing nature of the park was evident: some walkways were being torn down and new ones constructed to accommodate the new path of water flows. One of the advantages of a winter visit is the opportunity to see how the thermal waters interact with the cold, as in the picture at right. Here, the flow from the spring had changed to run through some trees (which killed them) and the steam collected as ice on the dead branches.

The temperatures for our stay were between 20°F and 40°F. We'd prefer that it stay colder because things get muddy once the thawing starts. At least it wasn't the "Mud Season" (April and May).

We skied two days at Bridger Bowl. The weather was generally good on those days, and we were able to find some nice powder in the trees.

We drove down to ski at Big Sky on Wednesday; however, the weather was so bad (too warm and raining) that day that we decided to drive back and spend the day shopping and seeing the sights in Bozeman.

On Thursday, we took Mike and Lisa on a 2 hour snow shoe tour of the property, starting with a climb up the gully east of the Carriage House, pictured at left. The snow was not as deep as it had been for our trip just after Christmas, but it was still deep enough that we occasionally switched off breaking trail to avoid getting tired.

We did not see any elk on the property on this trip - in fact, there was no sign that elk or deer had been around in the past couple of weeks. We assume that there was too much snow and they had gone somewhere else to forage. Arthur spotted some mule deer one morning, but they were soon gone.

Contractor Kevin gave us a picture (at right) taken from the Main House parking lot in December showing a large herd of elk extending down toward the location of Attila's Throne. More elk were in the trees; the total must have been close to 100. We hope they continue to return once the Main House is complete!

More Pictures Here!