Friday, March 30, 2012

You can't get there from here.

On day two of our Vegas experience we decided that we would drive to the strip and go to the Mandalay Bay Casino so that we could see the Shark Reef Aquarium.

We made the mistake of parking at the Luxor Casino which meant we had to walk through the entire casino to get to the tram that would take us to Mandalay Bay.  That mistake would make it about a two mile walk just to get to the Shark Reef exhibit.

After the Shark Reef, the plan was that we would take the tram to the Excalibur Casino, walk to the MGM Grand Casino and take the Monorail to Caesar's Palace. It all sounds pretty easy, but it's not.  As you start to walk through a casino you realize just how big they are. 

Outside the Luxor Casino

At the end of our first two mile walk and we were finally at the Shark Reef.  The Shark Reef is set up as if you were in a sunken shipwreck at the bottom of the ocean.  The tanks are all around you, above and below. 

Boy, I would really like to touch this guy.

My favorite

This guy was cool though.

Lion Fish

They were feeding the swordfish.  See the man with the long tube?

We finished viewing the aquarium and head back to the tram.

There are escalators everywhere in Vegas which is a good thing because all of the walking is on concrete or marble or something similar.  There is no grass, except the kind that you smoke and I don't think they call it that anymore?

 Escalators.  They are even outdoors.  You take the escalator up to the bridge, walk over the street and then take the escalator back down.  There is no climbing up the mountain in Vegas.

Going up

Going down

The Excalibur
We are on the tram!

We're off the tram and notice we are getting closer to the MGM Grand where we will take the monorail to Caesar's Palace.  How much farther do you think it is to the monorail?

Another bridge over the street.

Another escalator.

And we're walking....

We walk by expensive looking shops.  Violin Chick would love these boots.

Or maybe these?

As we walk we see a lot of women wearing high heels.  I don't know about you, but my feet are already starting to hurt and we're only halfway to Caesar's Palace.  (When we came back by this store, these boots were gone.  Violin Chick, did you buy them?)

I am not wearing my hiking boots, but I wish I were.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Like fish out of the water.....

We decided that since our cruise was cancelled we still needed to find somewhere to go where the sun was shining and it was warm!  The only reasonably priced airline tickets we could find at the last minute were to Las Vegas.
We had to drive to Kalispell to catch our plane but we got to see the Kalispell Burkharts before we left.   Yes, it was snowing and there was snow on our car the morning we left.  

Allegiant Airlines

(We were lucky as our budget airline did not have a pilot or stewardess who ran up and down the aisles telling passengers that there was a bomb on the plane.)

Great Salt Lake

A different view than the one in Hope.  What the heck are we doing here?  We should be back on the mountain in Hope.  Retired Mountain Man and I even managed to rent a car and drive it the 15 miles to Sam's Town.  We only made a wrong turn once and ended up on the Interstate headed for Phoenix.  Phoenix may have been a better choice.  

Bright lights, big city.
All of your senses are assaulted in Vegas.  The constant noise from the slot machines and hundreds of people everywhere.  Loud music is playing everywhere you go, even in the parking garages.  There are millions and millions of bright lights and every casino has multiple fast food vendors.  McDonald's, Dunkin' Donuts, Panda Express, TGI Fridays.... They are all there and more. 

One really good thing.  When we got off the plane and out of the airport, the air was warm and there was sunshine!   Awesome.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Training session #2, Lake Estelle

I am just getting back to our training session blog when we were training to hike Scotchman's Peak.  This was our second training.  A hike and overnight.  Could we really do it?  

Our next adventure was to hike into Lake Estelle and stay overnight.  How much weight could we each carry?  Would we be able to do it?  What camping gear did we need?  There was a lot of planning and a long list of supplies.  How much would each pack weigh?

Retired Mountain Man on his way to the lake.

We decided that Retired Mountain Man would carry the heaviest pack.  He took off for Lake Estelle like a greyhound chasing the rabbit.  I have two photos of him and didn't see him again until I got to the lake.

What a beautiful little lake.  We caught fish and fried them up for dinner.   We had our sleeping bags and lightweight pads, but sleeping on the ground was not comfortable.  There seemed to be either a rock or a tree root poking into your back most of the night.  It was a minor drawback to the whole experience.  The rest was a lot of fun!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mr. Dylan

Older and wiser now.  A college veteran getting ready for big changes as he leaves the Vandals and becomes a Griz.  GrizEileen will love it!

 Just another plaything for his little brother.

Returning from a month of firefighting with his new look last summer.

Who knows what life will bring this summer?

Sunday, March 18, 2012


If you are lucky enough, there is a photo of you taking a bath were you were a little kid.

I don't know how these two escaped the photographer during their bath.

At some point in your life the photo will either show up on a blog or on Facebook.

View towards Denton Slough, July 7, 1970.

Katie's field has the single tree standing in the middle of it.  Spring Creek Road is in the lower right corner of the photo. 

This photo was taken on a hike to Greens' Falls.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Call for the captain ashore........ let me go home. No way!

When your trip that you have been planning for a year has been cancelled, you just have to reminisce about the one in the past. 

The Sea Princess

San Juan 2002

Sail-away at 11:00 p.m November 9, 2002

Dazed and confused

We had traveled for two days to get to our departure. 


Retired Mountain Man on Aruba.

We went to Caracas, Venezuela.

We visited the home of Simón Bolívar

Port of La Guaira, Venezuela

A blur as we head up the mountain on the bus.

The glass factory in the mountains above Caracas.

This man was an incredible artist.  We watched him make this clown and two other glass pieces while we were there.


We went to Grenada and tendered ashore.  A new experience for us.  Remember when we invaded this island in the 80's?

My favorite port, Dominica.

We hiked up in the rain forest to view several falls.

 Yes, eventually it started raining.  The temperature was in the high 80's.

Our tour guide thought we were nuts.  She got out her umbrella.

We were a little wet!

But we didn't care.  We were having a ball!  (I will say that OKC Man looks a little distressed in these photos.  He may have had the same opinion as the tour guide.)

We were definitely "off the mountain".

We were so lucky to get to visit all those interesting places!