We started our day picking fresh eggs from the chickens at our farmhouse that the kids promptly ate for breakfast. From there we headed to Clava Cairns, an ancient burial ground estimated to be 3000-4000 years old. The area was peaceful and beautifully lit with the morning sun. As we entered each tomb, we noticed the construction – choice of boulder size, height of the rock layers, and distribution in a close circle. The three tombs were separated by a few hundred feet, and each was surrounded by a circle of boulders. The light poured in and lit the boulders like a clock.
After our exploration we were ready for brunch and headed to Simpsons garden center. Unlike garden centers near our home, this was also a beautiful home goods store and restaurant that served an amazing assortment of house-made desserts and traditional Scottish breakfast foods. We were thoroughly impressed with this garden store!
Our drive back to Edinburgh took us through the gorgeous hillsides of Cairngorms National Park and a quick stop in “Killiecrankie”, a new favorite name. After returning our car, we checked into our Glampground, stored our bags, and headed back into the city for a few more moments enjoying the Fringe performers, the ferris wheel, and a super dinner at the Printing Press restaurant.
Overnight was exciting as the heavy rains made us grateful to be in a (mostly) waterproof, raised tent-pod with raised beds. The campsite is next to the airport, making it an easy commute to our next stop – Bielefeld, Germany.
An early rise on our last day led us to Boiling River just a few minutes north of Mammoth. Boiling River is where a large hot spring enters the Gardner River, allowing the hot and cool waters to mix into a temperature comfortable enough to bathe in. We spent a few hours enjoying this natural hot tub, relaxing from a few days of hikes, enjoying the natural beauty around us. While quiet when we arrived, by the time we left there were many visitors.
Later in the day we visited the Travertine Terraces near our hotel. The terraces have been described as fountains frozen in time or inside-out caves. However you view them, they are unique and remarkable. Each had its own style and grandeur. How are they formed? “The Travertine terraces are formed from limestone. Thermal water rises through the limestone, carrying high amounts of the dissolved limestone (calcium carbonate). At the surface, carbon dioxide is released and calcium carbonate is deposited, forming travertine, the chalky white mineral forming the rock of travertine terraces. Colorful stripes are formed by thermophiles, heat-loving organisms. Travertine formations grow much more rapidly than the more common sinter formations in the park because of the ‘soft’ nature of limestone. Due to the rapid deposition, these features constantly and quickly change.”
We said goodbye to Yellowstone and began our trek to Bozeman, where we met up with Phatty and had a fun night out on the town.
5 days / 3 inns / 36 miles hiking / 8 wildlife (Chipmunk, Bison, Wolves, Deer, Prong horn, Sand hill crane, Horses, Osprey)
1211 E Main St, Bozeman, MT, United States
My morning began way too early as my body clock refuses to accept it’s new time zone. Lucky for me, Captain Mark was on security duty and provided coffee before civilization arose. Kathleen also woke early, so we started the day’s adventures with a morning drive to the Mud Volcano. On the way, we stopped at a seemingly common roadside area. It happened to be the Great Continental Divide, where an easy-to-overlook small river of water covered in lily pads sends its waters to both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. It was peaceful and beautiful in the morning light. Further on our way to the Mud Volcano, we met some deer and bison and experienced the grand Lake Yellowstone.
We were approached by a bison on our drive. He decided to stroll down the center lane and we caught a great video of him as he walked past us. We saw another bison in the mud volcano area who seemed to just want a nap in the morning sun. Another bison was at the bottom of the trail as we tried to leave. Our ranger Cane West (aka Kanye) told us how the bison are just starting their mating season and are a little unpredictable, so best to stay clear of the aggressive males!
The mud volcano area sputtered about as if the witches were brewing a morning porridge. The thrush of force at churning cauldron could be felt as we approached, and made black dragon’s cauldron seem wimpy in comparison. We chose to take in our morning breakfast at Sour Lake, enjoying the calm beauty and noticeably lower sulphur smell than its neighbors.
After the morning adventure, we headed back to the Old Faithful area to check out the more powerful geysers, as Kathleen wasn’t impressed with OF’s max heights. Lucky for us, Grand Geyser and Beehive were predicted to erupt within a few hours of each other. Grand was just that – enormous at about 185’ and a spray of “rain” on us that was amusing and refreshing, lasting for a long run of 5-10 minutes. After Grand, we went to Beehive, where we set up chairs and had a lunch picnic, barely noticing the crowd forming behind and around us. Beehive graciously waited for us to have mostly finished our lunches and then she exploded like something you see only in movies. She is known as the most powerful and tallest 200’ geyser in all of Yellowstone, and she didn’t disappoint.
Our successful geyser hunting ended just in time for us to take the Old Faithful Inn tour, which was truly a treat. Our tour guide Ruth had been at the Inn for 28 years, and her depth of knowledge and storytelling was impressive. We learned that the Inn’s architect Robert Reimer was a first time architect who “was in the right place at the right time” to win this job. His vision was to bring the forest into the hotel, a concept that was unheard of at the time as many hotels tried to model the interiors of the big cities. Construction took 1 year with only 50 carpenters and doors opened in 1904. The interior is 70” tall, similar in height of the common pine trees, and all the wood was sourced within 4 miles. Even the grand fireplace was made from volcanic rock that was locally sourced. We toured an original room and learned what the activities were like there at the time. We also learned that the wealthy visitors would take a 5 day trek in horse and carriage in order to reach the OFI! We heard the touching story of a guest who brought her grandmother’s diary of her trek in that era and her room at OFI, which she got to sleep in 2 generations later. It was touching.
We meandered our way to Mammoth, stopping to see the Artist’s Paintpots (including its slightly repulsive mud volcano), cool off in a swimming river, check out roaring mountain, and finally made it to our next location. After a great dinner in town, we are finally ready to start again tomorrow.
Yellowstone National Park, Yellowstone National Park, WY, United States
Kathleen had driven 10 hrs from Seattle to pick me up in Bozeman. It was another 1.5 to Livingston, where we stopped for pictures with a selection of Livingston signs. Livingston was the first railway station serving Yellowstone, and a cute city center grew up as a result. It looks like it stepped right out of the 50s.
After Livingston, we went the fine dining restaurant at Chico Hot Springs in Pray MT. It was on a resort campus complete with cabins and day spa with gorgeous views of the surrounding mountain range.
We then drove along a mountain range to Gardiner. We passed Livingston Peak, Mt Delano, Black Mountain and several others on our way to the grocery store just outside the park. After loading up, I drove from there to old faithful which was a few hours in the dark.
It was quite the adventure driving to Old Faithful Snow Lodge in the dark – lots of deer crossing right in front of us, a major road closure that required us to drive an extra 40 min and then all the way the other path around the grand loops.
When we arrived the reservation system was down so we requested tea and the security guy took care of us. Turns out Mark is a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer and a super knowledgeable park volunteer where he and his wife retired here as campers May-Oct in his dad’s 1930’s Boy Scout sleeper tent that went back to the days of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
He told us about the Great Depression and how families sent their kids to the parks for work and the kids sent money home to support their families. Many trails were established back then! The CCC was vital force in the development of national parks across the US. The CCC aimed to help decrease the number of unemployed youths in America.
He also talked about ecosystem development, the importance of keeping animals where they are so that ecosystems aren’t harmed, like not moving endangered wolves elsewhere and having an ecosystem collapse because without the wolves the elk would eat the grass and there would be no bugs to feed the fish.
After our lesson, which drew in another late night check-in couple who was equally impressed by Mark, we got our room keys, I unloaded the car, and we finally settled down and unpacked in our lovely 2- queen bed suite.
"Social" is revolutionizing all aspects of life, from our personal communications to how work is accomplished in an organization. Social business can transform the enterprise: enterprises are increasingly applying social tools to become more efficient and gain a competitive advantage, and soon these tools will reach deep into an enterprise's architecture. The demand for interoperable social standards is growing, yet the landscape of specifications is fragmented, making it difficult to create new software that serves the needs of both users and organizations. At the same time, specifications like the Open Graph Protocol are gaining widespread traction.
W3C and OpenSocial are jointly organizing a Workshop, hosted by AppFusions, to address a number of important questions:
What use-cases and requirements are driving social business?
What technologies can be standardized to solve the problems facing social business?
What is the overall architecture of social business?
What is the difference between standards inside the enterprise and across enterprises?
What approaches are organically emerging as best practices in areas without standardization such as user engagement?
What are the next steps for social specifications, ranging from OpenSocial to the Federated Social Web (Open Graph Protocol, ActivityStreams, PubSubHubbub, PortableContacts, Salmon Protocol)?
The OpenSocial Foundation and W3C believe that now is the time to make progress on the standards in this space. These standards will enable the transformation of today’s enterprises to tomorrow’s cross-enterprise social businesses and to create a whole new round of innovation across the Web.
If you are interested in understanding what the government bail out of AIG could mean to people, listen to this episode of Fresh Air. Michael Greenberger, professor at University of Maryland School of Law, has a very consumable way of explaining the complexities or our fragile finanical situation.
We took over maintenance of the building’s garden when the gardening-extraordinaire-neighbors moved out, thinking it would be fun. Well, we underestimated how much time and care they put into the garden throughout the summer.
Tired of the jungle look (which also hid garbage and animals, ick), we ripped everything down 3 weekends ago. After 5 hours of digging and cleaning, this is what the garden looked like when we were done.
The following weekend, we cleaned and dug more and set the stage for our garden vision by laying out grass seed and a dirt mound for future flowers and plants.
We just added a little splotch of fall color for now and some seeds for grass. Five days later the grass started to grow! (Thanks to watering 2 times a day and great weather.) Today this is what the garden looks like.
Our job is mostly done here for now. We’ll keep watering until the 2 week growth period is over. We’ll do our basic trimming, but the real fun in designing the garden mound won’t come until next spring.