Southeast Tour: Christmas in Savannah

Oh what fun it is to ride…🎶

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fullsizeoutput_829dSince our grandson’s family would not be with us during this Christmas holiday, Sally proposed a road trip to celebrate her birthday and Christmas with her twin sister Julie in Savannah, Georgia.  When older sister Jo disclosed her intention to also join us in Savannah, the trip plan was locked in.

Deciding to take our camper to make a grand sight-seeing / camping tour, we determined to stop in St Louis to visit friend Doris, re-explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and visit cousin Jackie in Tennessee.  On the return from Savannah, we planned to bask in the sunshine throughout the warm sunny south, touring the Natchez Trace, antebellum mansions in Natchez itself and finally do some camping and hiking on the Ozark Mountains of Missouri and Arkansas.

Most of our plans came to fruition however, due to unseasonable cold weather bringing snow and ice to portions of our intended route, we had to make some changes and regrettably our shorts and sandals never were unpacked.

Driving across Kansas and stopping in Saint louis, we spent a couple of nights with our friend Doris who lived across the hall from us in Shanghai, China.

Continuing on, we arrived in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as the temperatures began to drop and the clouds rolled in.

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Cade’s Cove Road, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Continue reading “Southeast Tour: Christmas in Savannah”

An “Old-Fashioned” Wyoming Horseback Elk Hunt

Grizzlies and Wolves and Elk, Oh My!

My son-in-law, Ben, and I recently returned from a guided horseback elk hunt with Lynn Madsen, at Yellowstone Outfitters, Afton, Wyoming.  It was incredible!

Here’s what Lynn has to say about his outfit:

“Our Hawks Rest Camp is located in the Teton Wilderness northeast of Jackson…It sets off the southeast corner of Yellowstone Park between the Yellowstone and Thorofare Rivers (Area 60 on a Game & Fish map). It is one day-pack 28 miles, from our base camp at Turpin Meadows…The Hawks Rest camp holds the reputation of being the furthest spot in the continental United States from a road in any direction. Not only will you be hunting in one of the best trophy elk camps in the United States but you will also be hunting in country that looks the same as it did 100 years ago.

Our fully equipped camp consists of a large cook tent, shower tent, sleeping tents with cots, foam mattresses, and wood burning stoves along with plenty of fire wood. We are proud to say that our camps hold an excellent reputation earned by hiring reputable licensed guides, maintaining a clean comfortable camp, serving good food and supplying both good horses and mules and equipment.”

Well, our experience lived up to Lynn’s promotional material and then some.  We had a “once in a lifetime” experience.  Read on, if you are interested in the details.

Ben flew in from California and the following day we made the 8 hour drive from Fort Collins, Colorado to Jackson, Wyoming, where we spent the night.  You can fly into Jackson’s small airport, but it’s kinda expensive and you have to pay hundreds of dollars to ship your elk meat back home, so driving seemed like the frugal option.  Besides we were able to enjoy each other’s company and the lovely Wyoming scenery as we motored along.

On Monday morning October 9th we rose early, ate breakfast and made the 1 hour drive north and East to Turpin Meadows where we met Lynn, our guide, four other hunters and were introduced to our horses who would become our new and closest friends for almost 10 hours today.

Lynn provided quality, well cared for horses that are a cross between big, strong draught horses (for strength and stamina) and quarter horses (to reduce the size).  They are still really big, tall horses and getting a leg up into the stirrup was my yoga/stretching challenge each time we mounted.  Getting off was no issue, but is was a long way down.

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The yellow marker highlights the beautiful pack trail into camp.  We cross the Continental Divide at Two Ocean Pass and gain over 1,300 feet in elevation over the 28 mile trek.
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Hunters “chew the fat” while pack mules wait patiently

Heading up the mountain, we were passed by Lynn’s string of mules bringing our gear and replenishing needed supplies.  On the way in we passed several sets of grizzly and wolf tracks.

Nearly there!  Riding through the Yellowstone Valley, soon to cross the Yellowstone River, Hawk’s Rest Mountain in the distance.

Continue reading “An “Old-Fashioned” Wyoming Horseback Elk Hunt”

A Beautiful Family Photo Shoot in the back alleys of Shanghai

by Wang Gang Fang, Gang Of One Photography, January, 2006.

Having lived in Shanghai, China from 2000 until 2007, we wanted to create a fun remembrance of our adventures.  We had previously commissioned traditional Chinese costumes to be sewn, so I contacted Gang of One Photography and he chose some atmospheric Shanghai back streets built around the turn of the century for our venue. Continue reading “A Beautiful Family Photo Shoot in the back alleys of Shanghai”

Why I like Birthdays at the Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado

Snowshoeing in nearby Rocky Mountain National Park, February, 2016

My lovely wife has given me a surprise birthday present: a weekend in Estes Park at the historic Stanley Hotel, accompanied by our travel buddies, Ray and Shirley Yang.

The Stanley Hotel’s front entry

Continue reading “Why I like Birthdays at the Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado”