Upper Pond: A Ghost Town, a Scenic Pond, and Stepping on a Hornets’ Nest

A Failed Attempt at the Santonini Range…

What up Road Trip Warriors!? I wanted to share with you some hidden gems in the Adirondacks and the terrible way I found out about them! My boy, Sleez, and I were planning on hiking the Santonini Range to tag three more High Peaks. Unfortunately, we were given the wrong trailhead by an individual without conducting our own research. Due to this….we had the opportunity to see some abandoned homes in Tahawus (I’ll share some history on this ghost town), ended up 5 miles in the woods where beavers ruined the trail, and spent some time at a beautiful secluded pond. Let’s begin!

Summary of Upper Pond

  • Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
  • Length: 7-8 miles round trip (for Upper Pond)
  • Hiking Time: It took about an hour and forty-five minutes to reach Upper Pond from the trailhead. I’m only going to include how long it took to reach Upper Pond. There isn’t much point in hiking further than that since beavers ruined the trail at Lower Pond making it impossible to pass. 
  • Photo Opportunities: There are plenty of areas to get some cool historic photos around Tahawus as well as in the Adirondack forest. Before the parking lot at the end of the road, there is a large stone furnace that you can visit. As you drive towards the large lot at the end of the road, you’ll notice an abandoned home and many abandoned chimneys where the homes were moved. Signs around the area explain the history of the area and how it was a major source of iron. Also, Upper Pond is a beautiful pond to photograph if you find yourself hiking along the trail to Duck Hole.

Tahawus (Brief History)

Tahawus was a town that dates back to the 1820s when iron ore was mined here. In 1826, Archibald McIntyre and David Henderson created the Adirondack Iron and Steel Company. They built a village to house the workers, but in 1856 the company was shut down due reasons such as transportation issues and iron ore impurities. The workers moved out leaving the village deserted.

A hunting and fishing club moved in two decades later, repopulating the ghost town. They renamed the area Tahawus and the National Lead Company started a titanium mining operation here. There was many years of success, but the workers were eventually transferred to Newcomb and the village became a ghost town once again in 1962. 

I feel that this last piece of history is often overlooked, but this ghost town has an important place in American history. The most well-preserved building in the village, McNaughton Cottage, was where Theodore Roosevelt was staying in 1901 when he learned that President McKinley had been shot. He had made his famous midnight ride from Tahawus to Buffalo to take over for McKinley. (This historical information was pulled from Adirondack.net, and more can be found there). 

Abandoned Chimney

Directions to Trailhead

The trailhead can be found at the end of Upper Works Road in Tahawus. The best way to get there in my opinion is to take exit 29 off I-87 towards Newcomb. If you were heading North, take a left once you get off the exit. Follow Blue Ridge Road for about 18 miles. Eventually you will reach a wooden sign that says “Tahawus” and there will also be a hiking sign as well. You will want to take a right here. It is rather self-explanatory. Then, just follow this road until its end. It should be around 6 miles. The trailhead register in the large lot is in the picture below.

Upper Pond Trailhead Register

Take notice of Upper Works Parking towards the bottom right of the map. Our plan was to hike up to Duck Hole and wrap around it making our way down towards the Santonini Range in the bottom left of the map.

Upper Pond Trail on ADK Map

Making Headway Towards Duck Pond

We signed in at the register around 8:50 AM and started making our way into the woods. The trail was well-marked, and the signs pointed us in the direction that we wanted to go. The first sign came out in a clearing and was not the most legible. We were able to make out “Duck Pond,” and took a left. 

First Sign to Duck Hole

The trail is very well marked and you’ll encounter a couple other wooden signs like the one pictured above. Use these signs to keep you on track towards Duck Pond. Shortly after the sign pictured directly below, you’ll cross a wooden bridge over running water.

Upper Pond Trail sign (three signs)

Upper Pond

It took about 3.5 to 4 miles to reach Upper Pond. It was a surprise destination because I didn’t plan on hiking to this pond nor did I know it existed! Upper Pond was one of the prettiest ponds I’ve seen in the Adirondacks, perhaps because of its isolation. On a Saturday, there was no one else there but Sleez and I. It was peaceful, secluded and a great place to eat some food and skip some rocks. Although I typically prefer hiking mountains, I think I’d want to get back out to Upper Pond to camp out for a weekend with some friends. 

Upper Pond Small Wave

Skipping Rock on Upper Pond

Attacked By Hornets

We left Upper Pond to continue making our way towards Duck Pond. This turned out to be a terrible decision. About an hour after we left Upper Pond, we were momentarily confused at where the trail went. It took us a few minutes to notice one of the trail markers had been partially ripped off of the tree it was nailed to.

While looking, I heard Sleez swear behind me yelling that something had bitten him .I picked on him for being a wimp…until I got stung on the calf! We happened to be in the midst of a hornets’ nest and they weren’t fond of us whatsoever. Sleez got hammered by another hornet and we darted through the forest. Every time we tried to stop, they were still following us. I had forgotten how aggressive those bugs could be. Finally, after running at least a quarter of a mile, they seemed to have disappeared. We were relieved that we had escaped their wrath…..for the time being.

Trail Ruined at Lower Pond

As we made our way through the wilderness towards Duck Pond, we found ourselves confused again. We noticed the trail had numerous branches and tree limbs laid across it. This typically means to find another route, but there wasn’t one. Any individual with a brain would have turned around, but not us. We decided to go over the small barricade because we refused to go play tag with hornets again. 

Unfortunately, after about a half-mile, we found out why the trail was barricaded. It came to our attention that the trail was gone. Beavers had opened up Lower Pond causing vast amounts of water to pour over the trail. There was no way around it and we realized that we would have to go back the way we came. We were disappointed that we couldn’t hike any High Peaks, but still planned on making the most of the hike by spending more time at Upper Pond.

Turning Around

The worst part about turning around wasn’t the fact we weren’t going to add more High Peaks to our hiking resumes. It was that we knew we would be facing those sting-happy hornets again. We knew (roughly) where we were attacked and hoped we would be able to avoid them. 

As we made our way back towards Upper Pond, we reached that same dreaded area where we were stung before. We figured that if we kept moving, we wouldn’t get attacked again. Well, it turns out, we were wrong.

Attacked by Hornets (Again)

It didn’t take long before I heard Sleezer yell again. It took me too long to realize that he was frantically spraying his bug spray around us. I was hammered in my achilles tendon by another hornet stinger. I had stepped right on their nest this time and they poured out around us. After getting hit in my tendon, I darted off through the woods making my way back towards Upper Pond as quick as I could. I slid down dirt slopes and leapt over boulders until they were finally gone again. I waited for Sleez to catch up and we wobbled in pain to Upper Pond to recover.

Licking Our Wounds at Upper Pond

Not all was lost. Although the day turned out far from what we expected, I was able to get some beautiful photographs at Upper Pond. I really enjoyed it here, probably because it was such an unexpected surprise. I plan on coming back out here at some point, maybe to camp or maybe just to take more photos and eat in good company. I highly recommend it for those looking to get some outdoor exercise without the strenuosity of a mountain. 

Upper Pond - Rocks and Branch in Water

Sun Hitting Upper Pond

Heading Back to Car

The hike to Upper Pond is an out and back trail, making it easy to get back to the trailhead. You’ll just hike out the same way that you hiked in. The trail is well-marked so you really shouldn’t have any issues as long as you pay attention.

Dog-Friendly

This hike through the Adirondack wilderness is dog friendly. It’s all relatively flat and I believe your dog would do just fine as long as he/she is kept hydrated and fed.

Fam-Friendly

This hike is easy to moderate because of its length. There is very little elevation gain or loss, making it more of a hike through the woods across streams and around ponds. Upper Pond had a site for camping nearby and it seemed more isolated than other campsites I have seen in the past in the Adirondack wilderness. It seems like a great spot to camp with the fam in my opinion. 

Clothes Worn

  • Timberland Boots
  • Nike Compression Leggings
  • Athletic shorts
  • Athletic T-shirt
  • Light athletic long-sleeve top
  • Winter hat
  • Hiking socks

Gear Brought

  • 3L of water
  • Almonds and peanut butter sandwiches
  • Wind/Rain pants
  • Underarmour
  • Rain jacket
  • Balaclava 
  • Winter gloves
  • Extra hiking socks
  • Extra shirt and shorts
  • Knife
  • Paracord and two carabiners
  • Emergency tents and blanket
  • Water-proof matches
  • LifeStraw (water filtration, costs about $20)
  • Trekking poles
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Garmin inReach (satellite device that has a GPS, can send texts, send SOS, and has many other helpful features)

RTW Note

Thanks for taking the time to read this post about my less-than-ideal hike in Tahawus. I promise we made the most of it and we got some great stories to tell! There is nothing quite like getting attacked by hornets deep in the woods!

I also hope you enjoyed reading about the history of Tahawus and the history of the area. I found it all very intriguing and seeing the area in person makes you wonder what it must have been like. It is difficult to imagine such a remote area being a bustling mining operation. I also never knew that Teddy Roosevelt first learned of McKinley being shot while staying in Tahawus!

I also wanted to emphasize that although our hike did not go to plan, Upper Pond has a camping area nearby and the pond itself is so pretty. If you’re looking for a campsite away from the crowds, you may want to consider this spot. Anyways, if you enjoyed this post, hit the like and follow buttons! I appreciate any and all support! If you’d like to reach out, feel free to leave a comment! In the meantime, keep on adventuring!

-Ant

 

 

 

Pillsbury Mountain: Southern Adirondacks

Pillsbury Mountain: Fire-tower Hike

What up Road Trip Warriors!? I wanted to share some info about a great fire-tower hike located in the Southern Adirondacks! It is one of the highest mountains in the area that is not an Adirondack High Peak. So if you want to escape the crowds of the High Peaks Region, I suggest coming here!

Summary of Pillsbury Mountain

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 3.2 miles round trip
  • Elevation: 3,597′ above sea level
  • Hiking Time: It took about one hour and twenty minutes to reach the summit from the trailhead. We took occasional water breaks too. 
  • Elevation Gain: 1,500′ (Approximately)
  • Photo Opportunities: The summit is wooded with an abandoned cabin and worn-down fire-tower. Both of these provide great photo opportunities. The best views can be seen from the fire-tower. The top is locked off, but you can climb the stairs to be rewarded with some commanding views of the Southern Adirondacks. Be careful climbing the stairs as most of the wire railing in this tower is now gone. 

Trailhead

The trail is located near Speculator, NY and can be found after driving on some rough dirt roads for six to seven miles. The signage for the trailhead in the parking lot is pretty self-explanatory. I have read that some may need to park at Sled Harbor Clearing and walk an additional 1.5 miles to the trailhead. You can see below the sign you will see in the dirt parking lot that will get you headed towards Pillsbury Mountain.

Trailhead sign

Trail to the Summit

The trail is a gradual climb and easy to follow. There are some sections that are steeper than others, but none that required any bouldering or scrambling. The trail climbs 1,500′ through the woods of the Southern Adirondacks with really no views along the way. After hiking 1.6 miles through the woods, you’ll reach a clearing where the steel fire-tower stands tall and a dilapidated wooden cabin rests.

Pillsbury Mountain Summit

This mountain has a wooded summit, but I wouldn’t let that prevent you from hiking this  one. If you have the guts to climb the fire-tower that is missing its wire railing, the views once you get above the tree-line are pretty phenomenal. Just be careful while climbing the stairs. Keep in mind that the cabin at the top of the fire-tower is currently closed and you will not be able to get inside.

Pillsbury - fire-tower Sony a6000

Pillsbury - Scenes from fire-tower

The wooden cabin is clearly starting to fall apart, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some great pictures of it! It’s a part of Southern Adirondack history and there is just something aesthetic about wooden cabins tucked in the woods.

Pillsbury - wooden cabin

A Couple Other Pictures..

There is a summit marker at the top of Pillsbury Mountain. Here is a photo of it so you know what to look for!

Pillsbury Summit Marker

Below you can also see a different perspective of the surrounding forest and some mountains looming in the distance with a shot I took through the wire railing on the fire-tower!

Pillsbury - pic through wire railing

Getting Back to the Trailhead

This trail is an out-and-back so you’ll only have to hike out the same trail that you hiked in on!

Dog-Friendly

This hike is dog-friendly. I saw a few dogs hiking along the trail. Bring extra water for your pup and one of those collapsable dog bowls. There wasn’t any scrambling or bouldering involved with this hike so your dog shouldn’t have any issues!

Fam-Friendly

This hike is easy/moderate because of its length and dependent upon your fitness level, but most individuals should be able to do it. This hike can still get you enjoying the outdoors and getting a workout in all the while avoiding the crowds of the High Peaks Region.

Clothes Worn

  • Timberland Boots
  • Nike Compression Leggings
  • Athletic shorts
  • Athletic T-shirt
  • Bandana (great for keeping the sweat out of your eyes)
  • Hiking socks

Gear Brought

  • 3L of water
  • Almonds and peanut butter sandwiches
  • Extra hiking socks
  • Extra shirt and shorts
  • Knife
  • Paracord and two carabiners
  • Water-proof matches
  • LifeStraw (water filtration, costs about $20)
  • Trekking poles
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Garmin inReach (satellite device that has a GPS, can send texts, send SOS, and has many other helpful features)

RTW Note

Thanks for taking the time to check out this hike in the Southern Adirondacks! I hope it was helpful/informative for those looking to escape the crowds of the High Peaks and explore a different area in the Adirondacks. I recommend it for new and experienced hikers alike! Hit the like and follow buttons if you found this post helpful or enjoyed it in any way. Leave a comment if you want to reach out. As always, I look forward to sharing more!

-Ant

Haystack Mountain: Saranac Region

Saranac 6er Number Four!

What up Road Trip Warriors!? It has been a few since I posted last! As soon as I got home from my road trip I started a new job and have been focused on that. I did get a hike in though that I wanted to share with you all! It was my fourth Saranac 6er mountain, Haystack, and it was TERRIBLE. I have never had a hike I disliked until this one. It had nothing to do with the length, incline, or any of that…..it was the mosquitoes!!!! I have never been attacked by more mosquitoes in my life while out in the woods…..anyways, I wanted to give you all some info about the hike and what to expect!

Summary of Haystack Mountain

  • Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
  • Length: 6.6 – 7 miles round trip
  • Elevation: 2,878′ above sea level
  • Hiking Time: It took us just under 2 hours to reach the summit. We didn’t take many breaks to avoid being eaten alive by mosquitoes…
  • Photo Opportunities: The summit of Haystack offers some good views, but I wasn’t able to see them. It was extremely overcast and the fog was thick.

Beginning of the Hike

The trailhead is right off off Route 86 near Lake Placid. There is a large parking lot with a trailhead sign that is hard to miss. Here is a picture of the sign below.

Saranac Haystack Mountain Sign

Saranac Haystack:McKenzie Mountain Sign

The Trail

The trail follows blue trail markers for a couple miles through thick woods. On the day we hiked this mountain, it had just rained and the amount of moisture in the air made the hike more daunting. The trail traverses a few small streams and occasionally the streams flow alongside the trail. None of this was helping the mosquito situation. Below is one of the blue trail markers that you’ll be following along the trail to Haystack.

Haystack Saranac Blue Trail Marker

Trail Split: Haystack or Mckenzie

After hiking for some time along the relatively flat trail through the woods the trail splits. There is a noticeable sign which points to Haystack and Mckenzie. We continued onto Haystack on the left of the split.

Saranac Haystack Trail Split

Summit of Haystack in Saranac!

After the trail split, the hike starts to climb, and at around the 3 mile mark of the hike, the climb gets more aggressive. You’ll know when you’re at the summit because it is an open ledge with plenty of space to walk around. The views would have been great if it weren’t for the fog. I still recommend doing this hike, just maybe when the mosquitoes aren’t as bad and the weather is better.

Summit of Haystack in Saranac

Continuing Towards Mckenzie Mountain and Calling the Hike Off

You can continue hiking on a trail (not the one you were just on, walk along the summit of Haystack and you’ll find it on the opposite side of your initial approach) after summiting Haystack. It will descend and you’ll eventually reach a cairn. Turn right at the cairn. This trail will lead you to an intersection upon which you can turn left to continue onto Mckenzie or right to hike 3.4 miles back to the parking lot on Route 86. There is a wooden sign on a tree at this intersection that you can reference.

The mosquitoes had gotten so bad at this point that I had been bitten at least 12-15 times, and that’s being conservative. It was probably more than that. Because of this, we decided it would be best to come back to Mckenzie another time. It is the highest of the Saranac 6ers, so I want better weather and hopefully less bugs the next time that I go. Before anyone starts picking on me, YES I did bring bug spray and it did NOTHING.

Getting Back to the Trailhead/Parking

This trail loops around so you can summit Haystack and follow the new trail down that was mentioned above. Just be careful you pay attention and turn right at the small stone cairn. After that, the hike back to the car is rather self-explanatory. Just don’t trip in a stream while running away from mosquitoes like I did…bloodied my hand up pretty good when I punched a mean boulder upon my fall.

Dog-Friendly

This hike is dog-friendly. I saw a dog or two hiking along the trail. Just bring extra water for your pup and he/she will do just fine. There wasn’t any part of the hike a dog would struggle with.

Fam-Friendly

This hike is easy/moderate because of its length and dependent upon your fitness level, but most individuals should be able to do it. It is a great workout and a good choice for people that want to get away from the crowds of the High Peaks.

Clothes Worn

  • Timberland Boots
  • Nike Compression Leggings
  • Athletic shorts
  • Athletic T-shirt
  • Patagonia hat
  • Hiking socks

Gear Brought

  • 3L of water
  • Almonds and peanut butter sandwiches
  • Wind/Rain pants
  • Extra layers (UnderArmour)
  • Extra hiking socks
  • Knife
  • Paracord and two carabiners
  • Water-proof matches
  • LifeStraw (water filtration, costs about $20)
  • Trekking poles
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Garmin inReach (satellite device that has a GPS, can send texts, send SOS, and has many other helpful features)

RTW Note

Thanks for taking the time to check out this hike even though I shared how rough it was! I hope it was helpful/informative for those looking to hike in the Saranac Lake area. I am sure this hike is a lovely when it isn’t as humid and the bugs aren’t as cumbersome. I still would recommend it to a friend. Hit the like and follow buttons if you found this post helpful or enjoyed it in any way. Leave a comment if you want to reach out. I enjoy reading your thoughts and remarks! I will keep the posts coming as I continue to hike!

-Ant

 

 

Road Trip to South Dakota and the Badlands NP: Day Ten 6/3/19

Black Hills National Forest, Black Elk Peak, and Wall Drug!!

I want to preface this post by stating that South Dakota is so underrated! It has so many great attractions besides Mount Rushmore (which I skipped seeing because I don’t feel it is worth it). The Black Hills, Rapid City, Hill City, Badlands National Park, and Wall Drug to name a few.

Today I hiked the South Dakota’s high point, Black Elk Peak. It was formerly named Harney Peak, but was renamed in honor of Nicholas Black Elk and the significance of the summit and Black Hills to Native Americans. I ventured into Harney Peak Lookout and climbed the ladder to the top of the stone tower. The views from up there were phenomenal! 

After getting back to the room and showering, I decided to head to Wall Drug, a famous tourist attraction in Wall, South Dakota. It started in 1931 as a small drug store that didn’t get many customers for nearly five years! The way that the store ended up taking off was by putting up signs on the highway offering free ice water! Now the store receives more than 2 million visitors a year. One can find free ice water here, 5 cent coffee, a meal, and endless shopping. Here are some more details about these locations below…

Black Elk Peak in Custer State Park.

When staying in Rapid City, South Dakota, you must realize how many outdoor activities there are around you. I had researched the Black Hills and found that the high point of South Dakota, Black Elk Peak, was just under an hour from where I was staying. It is the highest mountain east of the Rockies and the stone lookout on the summit was alluring…therefore I had to hike it! I will have a full detailed post on the hike eventually, but for now, here is a summary.

The hike starts at lovely Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park. It cost $20 for a seven-day pass, or $30 for an annual pass into the park. I took trail number 9 to Black Elk Peak which was roughly six miles. Initially it was a bit muddy, but dried up after about a half-mile. The air was dry and it was 85º out so naturally, I was sweating. Despite the heat, nothing could distract me from the beauty of the Black Hills and its wild landscape!

View of Black Elk Peak and Harney Lookout

The summit of this mountain has sweeping views of South Dakota and being able to climb to the top of Harney Peak Lookout Tower was special. The stairs are VERY steep so if you are ever out here, be careful! 

Harney Peak Lookout Sign

Harney Peak Lookout

Top of Harney Lookout on Black Elk Peak

Views from Summit of Black Elk Peak

Wall Drug!

If you are driving through South Dakota, stopping at Wall Drug is an absolute must! It started as a small drug store in 1931 that did poorly for FIVE YEARS! The store picked up business after putting out out catchy signs along the highway and offering free iced water to travelers. Now the store gets over TWO MILLION visitors a year. You can find 5 cent coffee here, meals, souvenirs, boots, blankets….basically anything! They also still have free iced water! I enjoyed walking around the many stores and will probably purchase a few things after hiking in Badlands National Park! 

Wall Drug

Badlands National Park Tomorrow

I hit my fourth and last national park tomorrow while on this road trip. It’s a bit bittersweet, but I am ecstatic to hike in the Badlands and get some souvenirs. I will have hundreds of photos and some videos from this national park after tomorrow. I look forward to sharing more photos with you all! Thank you again for taking the time to read my words and check out my pictures. Don’t forget to hit the like button if you enjoyed this post! Leave a comment too if you’d like. I enjoy hearing from you all. Tap the follow button for more adventure pics and travel destinations!

-Ant 

 

 

 

 

Road Trip to South Dakota and the Badlands NP: Day Nine 6/2/19

Yellowstone –> Rapid City, South Dakota

I left Yellowstone around 11:00AM this morning and started my trek back east. My goal of the day was to stop and see Devils Tower National Monument and then find a place to crash for a few nights in Rapid City, South Dakota. I managed to make check both off of my todo list! 

The drive from West Yellowstone, Montana to Rapid City, South Dakota was a scenic one! I even had the chance to spot a moose which was thrilling!  I had the opportunity to drive through Big Sky and Bozeman as well as some smaller mountain towns in Montana. I tend to gravitate towards these mountain towns, especially the ones with log homes and a creek or river running through their land. Maybe it’s my affection with the outdoors, maybe it’s because I love seeing wildlife…whatever it is, I am drawn to mountain towns like a moth to a flame. 

Devils Tower National Monument, Wyoming

I couldn’t drive to Rapid City, SD without visiting Devils Tower, WY along the way. I did not drive as close to the monument as I could have because I did not feel the need to pay the $25 entrance fee. Instead, I took photos from a distance. 

The tower rises 867 feet from its base to the summit. The summit is about the size of a football field and animals such as chipmunks, mice, and the occasional snake can be found upon the top. I did not take a lot of photos of the monument, but it is quite a sight to behold. It is easy to see why Devils Tower is sacred to many Native American tribes. 

Devil's Tower Sign

Devil's Tower Trading Post

Devils Tower National Monument

Rapid City, South Dakota

I don’t have much to say yet about South Dakota…I have big plans over the next two days while I am here that I look forward to sharing. I will most likely be taking hundreds of photographs as I hike and drive around the area. The options are limitless….Black Hills National Forest, Badlands National Park, and Custer State Park to name a few….It’ll be a good time for sure! Thanks for checking out the post and the pictures. They aren’t my finest work, but they’ll make do! If you enjoyed this post, hit the like button, leave a comment, and hit the follow button! Happy adventuring! 

-Ant

 

 

Road Trip to Grand Teton NP: Day Eight 6/1/19

Grand Teton National Park!!

I have been longing to see Teton Mountain Range for at least two years now. I even have a tattoo based off of the range on my left arm. When I planned this trip, I made sure that I would see these magnificent, jagged peaks. I drove 2.5 hours from West Yellowstone, and the drive was more than worth it. I did get to see a black bear on the way to Grand Teton too, which was a plus. They are beautiful animals.

I turned a bend when I approached the park and these peaks shot out of the Earth. They were craggy, and covered with white snow. I unfortunately did not have time to hike in this range, but I was able to visit Mormon Row Historic District and photograph the famous Moulton Barn!

Me at Mormon's Row Historic District

Tetons in my Car Mirror

Mormon Row Historic District: Moulton Barns

These barns highlight Mormon Row and it is easy to see why. With the Teton Range in the background, these barns are picturesque as well as historic. They were built by John and Thomas Alma Moulton on adjacent homesteads. Photographers from all around the world visit here to photograph this historic structure with the Tetons rising in the background. You can read more about the history of this location here. Here are some of the shots I was able to take of these barns. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to do so.

Close up of wooden house Mormon's Row Historic District

Famous Barn at Mormon's Row Historic District

Portrait of wooden house Mormon's Row Historic District

Two wooden homes Mormon Row Historic District

Wood house Mormon's Row

If you have the chance to visit these historic structures, DO SO. I promise that you will not be disappointed. Another thing I wanted to mention was that the Teton Mountain Range is THE most visually striking mountain range I have ever seen (and I have seen quite a few). I definitely plan on revisiting this national park when I can spend time hiking in the range and hanging out by Jackson Lake. 

On the Road Again Tomorrow

Tomorrow I leave West Yellowstone and start making my way back east. The next destination on my todo list is Devil’s Tower National Monument in Northeastern Wyoming. I think I am going to sleep for a full 24 hours when I get home after all of this driving, but it is SO worth it. You can do and see so much in two weeks or less! I hope everyone else reading this gets out and does something that they have always wanted to do. Thanks again for reading and checking out these pics from Grand Teton National Park. If you enjoyed this post, hit the like button, toss a comment, and follow for more adventure/hiking photography!

-Ant

Road Trip to Yellowstone NP: Day Seven 5/31/19

Eight-and-a-half Hours in Yellowstone National Park

What up Road Trip Warriors!? So I spent 8.5 hours today driving around Yellowstone National Park hitting all the major attractions and stopping by at some of the smaller ones as well. I drove through forests, snowy mountain roads, rain, and by numerous bison and elk! It was a FULL day and I captured so many incredible photos. I was very fortunate and I am thrilled to share some of my experiences here with you all!

Gibbon Falls

First stop was Gibbon Falls! It is a wonderful waterfall, and definitely worth the stop. Get out of your vehicle and enjoy some of Yellowstone’s beautiful scenery.

Gibbons Falls

Beryl Spring

Under proper lighting, this spring shines like the gemstone, beryl. It spewed steam and the smell of the spring was unappealing. The temperature of the spring ranges from 188.5 degrees Fahrenheit to 192 degrees Fahrenheit. It is one of the hottest springs in Yellowstone!

Beryl Spring

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

This location was top priority on my todo list. I HAD to see Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. I had seen it many times on television and in pictures. The sight is much better in person. From the viewpoint, I was able to capture a photo of the canyon with a rainbow created from the mist of the Lower Falls. There was also an eagle’s nest in the canyon. If I had a better lens, I would have loved to get a picture of the eagles.

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone Sign

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone with rainbow

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone with trees

Before leaving the parking lot, I noticed a raven perched up in a tree above me and I thought it was a cool shot. There was a storm moving in and the contrast between the dark and light clouds was intriguing. I figured it was worth sharing.

Raven in tree Yellowstone

Lower Falls

These falls are beyond impressive. They roar like thunder as they pour down into the canyon. It is the largest waterfall in Yellowstone and the water falls 308 feet. I took a trail down to the top of these falls and that was where I was able to get the photo of the mist creating the rainbow. It was an experience I won’t soon forget. I then went to another location further down the road where I could actually photograph the entire waterfall. If you visit Yellowstone, Lower Falls is a MUST!

Lower Falls Yellowstone NP

Mammoth Hot Springs

Another noteworthy spot in Yellowstone National Park. There are many wooden boardwalks to check out the springs in this location. You also get a great vantage point of Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel below you.

Mound Spring

Minerva Terrace

Practicing with Sony a6000…

After leaving Mammoth Hot Springs and driving further through Yellowstone, I found a pull-off with amazing views. Using my left mirror, I wanted to practice some creative shots with my Sony a6000 that I have been using for the past few months. Here are a couple of the photos I liked…I’m a work in progress.

Mountain mirror shot

Cliffs, car mirror, my arm Yellowstone

Clearwater Springs

As it got later in the day, I saw some springs that nobody was parked at. I stopped to take some pictures and enjoy the serenity.

Clearwater Springs

BISON TRAFFIC

I have never seen so many bison walking down the road at once. There had to have been at least thirty of them. All of them were within feet of my car (was worried that one would hit me). Every time I have seen these creatures, they have behaved like gentle giants. I have also seen videos of them charging and I would most definitely not want to upset one…

Bison Traffic Jam Yellowstone NP

Baby bison in Yellowstone NP

Fountain Paint Pots, Silex Pool, and Earthquake’s Offspring

I saw more springs and I had to stop. They were all very active and fun to observe. Silex Pool was a beautiful turquoise and Earthquake’s Offspring was my favorite as it bubbled and tossed hot mud around.

Silex Spring

Earthquake's Offspring Yellowstone NP

Fountain Paint Pots Yellowstone NP

There was also a geyser at this location that shot water high out of the ground. I took pictures of it, but it was difficult to see due to all of the steam.

Opal Pool, Turquoise Pool, and Grand Prismatic

The last stop of the day were the three pools mentioned in the subtitle. By the time I got here, it was approaching 7:15 PM and it was raining. I could not live with myself if I did not try to get some photos of these pools, especially the iconic Grand Prismatic. I got some pics of them….they aren’t the best (it was thundering and raining by the time I got close to them), but I am thankful for having the opportunity to try.

Opal Pool

The Opal Pool is the pic above.

Turquoise Pool

Grand Prismatic

All Said and Done…

I just wanted to show how much you can see in a single day at this beautiful national park. Yellowstone has so much to offer, and a lot of the attractions can be hit by just spending the day driving around! If I had more time, I would have loved to hike one of the trails. I will have to plan a hike for the next time I am in Yellowstone! Anyway, thank you for taking the time to read this far if you have and for checking out my pictures. Don’t forget to hit the like button if you enjoyed this post, comment (I enjoy feedback), and tap the follow button if you love seeing nature photography and adventure photos!

-Ant

Road Trip to Yellowstone NP: Day Six 5/30/19

West Glacier, Montana –> Yellowstone National Park, Montana/Wyoming

It was about a seven hour drive from West Glacier Montana to Western Yellowstone, Montana. The drive took me through small mountain towns surrounded by snow-capped peaks. Perhaps my favorite town was Ennis, a town in Madison County, Montana. It had some small restaurants, quaint log homes, and outdoor shops. After driving for awhile, I ended up in Idaho for about a half-an-hour. I was lucky enough to drive by Henrys Lake in Southeastern Idaho. It is an alpine lake located at 6,476′ above sea level. Snow-capped mountains towered above it. Finally, I made it to Western Yellowstone National Park. After checking in to the hotel, I decided to explore in my car for a bit. It turned out to be one of my better decisions. I saw a lot of wildlife and a gorgeous sunset. Here are some photos and info from the day.

Swan Lake

While driving through Montana, I had the opportunity to pull off of the road to take some pictures of Swan Lake. This lake sits at an elevation of 3,104′ and is surrounded by mountains and national forest. I did some research and the lake began as a community of loggers. The water was pristine and was still.

Swan Lake, Montana

Ennis, Montana

As mentioned above, this was my favorite mountain town to drive through. It is surrounded three mountain ranges being the Madison Range, the Gravelly Range, and the Tobacco Root Mountains. It offers some of the best river locations in the state (according to my research) with Madison River being known for its trout fishing. The town really offers a western vibe and it made me wonder how it used to be in this area back in the 1800s….ya know…the “Wild West.” Anyways….onto the next section…

Henrys Lake, Idaho

There were no pull-offs here so I unfortunately I did not get a picture. If you have the chance, google this location. It is absolutely stunning.

Western Yellowstone, Montana/Wyoming

I finally made it to Yellowstone and checked into the hotel. After bringing the luggage into the room, I decided it would be a good time to check out the park before the sun set. I drove into the park hoping to see wildlife and I was not disappointed. There were bison everywhere and they are HUGE!! I lost count of how many pictures I took. The highlight of my day was getting caught in bison traffic on the road in Yellowstone NP. It may sound silly, but it was one of the coolest things I have seen. Here are a bunch of photos I was lucky enough to take.

Multiple Bison Yellowstone NP

Bison and sun hitting cliffs Yellowstone NP

Bison Road Traffic

Bison in Water Yellowstone NP

Bison Close-up

Back to Hotel and Sunset

On the way back to the hotel I was able to get an awesome reflection shot as the sun was setting. This park is absolutely awe-inspiring and I cannot wait to explore it all day tomorrow. I look forward to sharing all of the photos I am able to take! Hopefully I will get to see some more wildlife as well!!

Yellowstone reflection shot

Thanks Again to Anyone Following Along

Thank you again to anyone that takes the time to read my blog posts and look at the photos. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoy taking them. I love sharing stories, information, and photos with people. I feel that traveling is important and opens your mind to new ideas. It has helped me become more environmentally aware, more creative, and appreciative of what I have in my life. Anyways, if you enjoyed this post, hit the like button, leave a comment, and don’t forget to follow! I have many more photos to come!!

 

Road Trip to Montana: Day Four 5/28/19

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK

Glacier National Park is unreal. I explored for hours today and I cannot get enough. I hiked the Trail of the Cedars, hiked up to Avalanche Lake, saw giant waterfalls cascading down mountains, and witnessed a bear walking in the lake. The landscape here is so beautiful and the forests are pristine. I get why it’s called the “Crown of the Continent.” I wanted to share everything that I did today and include some great photos I was lucky enough to capture. I will probably do a separate blog post for the hike itself including directions and that sort of information. For now, I just want to keep sharing the details with all of you!

Trail of the Cedars

I really wanted to hike to Avalanche Lake as I heard it was so scenic. It seemed to be one of the best choices considering that Going to the Sun road is still not completely open and won’t be until June 22nd. I read that the trail to Avalanche Lake started from the Trail of the Cedars. I drove to the trailhead where the Trail of the Cedars began and started hiking.

The trees in this forest were enormous. They towered above me and there were small signs describing the types of trees I came across. There was also a stunning gorge and the water was GUSHING! The water was crystal clear with a tint of blue.

Trail of the Cedars Gorge

After walking further along the trail for a short while, I reached a sign pointing in the direction of Avalanche Lake.

Avalanche Lake Trail

The trail to Avalanche Lake from the sign is two miles. During these two miles, peaks seemed to shoot up from the ground and surround me. The trees were bright green and although I couldn’t see running water anymore, I could still hear it.

After walking further along the trail for a short while, I reached a sign pointing in the direction of Avalanche Lake.

Avalanche trail mountain pic through trees

Me taking pic of a mountain on Avalanche Lake Trail

I made sure to have my bear spray on me while I’m out here in bear country. You can see it hooked to my bag.

Avalanche Lake: I saw a Bear!!

Avalanche Lake is probably the most visually pleasing bodies of water I have ever seen. The water was a gorgeous shade of blue, mountains surrounded the lake, and giant waterfalls cascaded down those mountains. There was a beach with logs that made satisfying benches. The best part about getting to to Avalanche Lake was watching a bear walk around the far side of the lake! I had never seen a bear in the wild like this. It definitely was not fully grown, but it was still an impressive creature to observe. Here are some photos from the lake and one that includes the bear in the distance.

Pic of me sitting at Avalanche Lake

Picture of bear at Avalanche Lake - edited

In the photo directly above, you can see the bear walking on a log in the lake.

Glacial waterfalls at Avalanche Lake edited

In this photo directly above you can see the large waterfalls I mentioned prior. They were spectacular as they poured down the sides of the mountains.

Avalanche Lake pic of me - edited

We spent awhile hanging on the beach of Avalanche lake before heading out. I took hundreds of photos on this beach and videos as well. These are the kind of moments I want to be able to remember and look back on in as much detail as possible.

Lake McDonald

This was another destination that has been on my bucket-list for a long time! I had seen so many photos of Lake McDonald and its colorful rocks and I wanted to see it for myself.  Well, the lake did not disappoint. The rocks were very colorful and mountains surrounded it. Across from where I was standing here, I could see the results of the 2003 forest fire that burned down 13% of the park. It was a sad sight to see and a reminder of the importance of protecting our parks….Before I left I dipped my hat in the cold water and put it on my head. Ahhhh, I am still so pumped about all the things I did and saw today! Here is a shot of Lake McDonald below!

Lake Mcdonald pic of me - edit

Final Note

I will have an individual blog explaining the hike with other pictures and I may or may not do an individual blog on Lake McDonald….anyway…thank you for taking the time to read about the road trip thus far and checking out my photos. I appreciate it very much. Don’t forget to hit the follow button, tap the like button, and share a comment if you’d like! I have big plans for tomorrow and look forward to sharing more!!

-Ant

 

Road Trip to Montana: Day Three 5/27/19

Jamestown, North Dakota –> West Glacier, Montana

After being on the road since 8:00 AM this morning, I made it to West Glacier, Montana!! Everywhere you look is so scenic….the mountains, waterfalls, forests…..my eyes can’t get enough. I already saw some mountain goats too!! Unfortunately I was driving too fast to stop to take some photos. That’s alright though because I took soooooo many pictures today! Here is a summary of the day with pictures and what I was able to see!

North Dakota: A Pleasant Surprise

As I drove across the remainder of North Dakota, it seemed that all I was going to continue seeing was farms and factories. There were rolling hills, many cows, and horses. Eventually I decided to pull off and make reservations at a lodge in West Glacier, Montana. Where I pulled off to the side of the road was one of the prettier spots in the countryside. It was at Sweetbriar Lake, North Dakota. I was able to take some quality pics on my camera.

Sweetbriar Lake, North Dakota

Sweetbriar Lake, North Dakota 2

The pleasant surprise I mentioned in the title above was that I forgot Theodore Roosevelt National Park was in North Dakota. I had the opportunity to drive right through it!! I saw a few bison and the painted canyon. I would love to go back and visit that national park another time. It looked SO cool! I wasn’t able to get pictures of this park because….well…..places to go and mountains to see haha. 

MONTANA

The landscape upon entering Montana was intriguing. There were a lot of dirt craters and farms. The land was extremely uneven and I lost track of the amount of cattle that I saw. As I continued driving west, the land got flatter and flatter until the point where it seemed as if you could see hundreds of miles away. I have driven through some flat states, but the middle of Montana takes the cake. In the middle of Montana there were no trees and barely any structures. There was just the grass and train tracks. 

Every small town that we drove through had little casinos…even at the gas stations. There seemed to be two to three casinos per town. I guess that is what you do for fun in rural Montana? Either way, its always great to see new places and what said places have to offer. When I stopped at a random supermarket along the highway I made sure to get a quick shot of the countryside…here it is below

Montana Countryside

Glacier, Montana

I don’t think I have ever been as excited as I was when I saw the mountains break over the horizon as I continued making progress west. I knew I was close to Glacier National park, which has been on my bucket list for quite some time now. Already this place has surpassed my expectations. The snowcapped peaks are breathtaking, the mountain goats were epic, and the forests are serene. I really look forward to exploring tomorrow and seeing what this park has to offer!! Here are some pics I took just pulling off to the side of the road occasionally.

Glacier Mountains Two

Honda and mountains in Glacier

Glacier National Park Sign

A SWEET Lodge

To end this post, I just wanted to say that I ended up at a sweet lodge in the middle of the mountains. Ahhhhh, I am so pumped up. Thank you to all those that took the time to read this post. I love sharing these pictures and stories from my travels/hiking. Get ready for more to come!!!! Don’t forget to hit the follow button, like the post, and feel free to comment!! 

The Great Northern Lodge