Friday, June 27 – Spent much of the day rushing around, trying to clean up/pack/get stuff done before the trip. Picked up Gaze from his last day of Camp Cougar (the month-long summer enrichment class which serves as a substitute for PE class), rushed him home to get the last bits of packing done, and headed out for a relative’s house that’s close to Reagan National Airport in DC. SOTD: Kelly Caleche EdP, the citrus helping to wake me up during the 4-hour drive.
Saturday, June 28 – Up at five, ate cereal, went to the airport. It was the first commercial flight ever for my two boys, and Taz in particular was thrilled with takeoff. Gaze had nothing good to say about the airport in Newark (our connecting flight to Bozeman left from there): it was dirty, it smelled, it was ugly, why in the world would anybody LIVE in Newark?? He is a confirmed country boy, I confess. SOTD: DelRae Wit, for its pretty, good-humored, mood-lifting qualities. Got into Bozeman around noon Mountain Time, had lunch at The CEO’s conference, and then spent the afternoon touring the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman.
I love museums. This one, though probably meant for kids, was a good one! Most of the dinosaur specimens that have been discovered for study actually came from Montana, and the museum had a wealth of fascinating skeletons and artifacts. Loved it!
Yellowstone Lake, photo courtesy of The CEO.
Sunday, June 29 – Yellowstone National Park! SOTD was two good spritzes of Dior Cuir Cannage, but it was very quiet and gone early. We drove east from Bozeman into Wyoming and entered the park at the north gate. First stop was Mammoth Hot Springs, which are pretty cool with built-up layers of minerals like stalactites and ledges. Then we ate a quick lunch and went south toward the center of the park. Took numerous short walks to see cool stuff that’s just off the road – waterfalls, geysers, more hot springs, and lots of wildlife. My favorite spot of the day was Gibbon Falls, but Yellowstone Lake is pretty too.
Saw a small herd of buffalo and one of elk, but they were far away. Then drove up through Dunnraven Pass, where there was plenty of snow on the mountains. Saw a black bear and her two cubs, and The CEO saw a grizzly bear.
Monday, June 30 – Weather has been cool and pleasant, but The CEO and I got sunburned a bit today. Or maybe windburned, because it was quite windy as well as being sunny. SOTD was Hilde Soliani Il Tuo Tulipano, which is a pleasant, creamy floral with a bit of fruit. Cheerful thing. We saw lots of cool stuff, from more geysers and mud geysers and more hot springs, to more waterfalls… and more wildlife! There was a solitary male bison, a big one, and then a small herd of elk with young males fighting – and then an enormous herd of buffalo, bulls and cows and yearlings and calves all together, maybe close to a thousand animals (as The CEO says, he knows how to count grazing animals). They were stretched across the road and along it, no fear of cars or people whatsoever.
Wow. Made my trip.
Tuesday, July 1 – Another gorgeous day, temperatures in the mid-70s and sunny. The CEO and Gaze have been taking pictures at every pull-off area; they’re fascinated with the Grand Teton Mountains. Remember when The CEO went to the Canadian Rockies a couple of years ago? Came home with like a bazillion pictures of mountains and lakes? That’s what he especially likes. The mountains up close are really gorgeous. At the same time, people who live around here must long and long for summer. At home? I dread it. It’s like trying to breathe through wet wool (and it doesn’t even get REALLY humid in the mountains the way it does in Richmond, or worse, DC). The air is very, very dry here.
Grand Tetons with wildflowers. Photo courtesy The CEO.
Here’s the Cuir Cannage (preliminary) mini-review, set off in another color in case that’s all you really wanted to read! The Cuir Cannage is pretty much gone after an hour, except for a very attractive drydown. I’m guessing it will wear better in humid Virginia – we’ll have to see. It does open up with a refreshing citrus note that smells a lot like a Chanel to me. (By “a Chanel,” I mean the classic Chanel cologne, or No. 5 Eau Premiere, or the opening of 31 Rue Cambon. Could refer to the delightful opening of 1932, too.) From there it becomes more floral, with jasmine and ylang apparent and also a small touch of rose. Quite powdery in a face-powder iris and makeup rose-violet sort of way. And then it goes very… hmm… pursey. Not exactly like Cuir de Lancome, which I adore, but the leather is quite apparent. It’s also very ladylike. I kept having to check – now this DOES say “Dior,” right? Yep. Regular readers will know that I absolutely hate and despise Chanel’s leather scent, the iconic Cuir de Russie. (To me, it’s a dead ringer for our cattle working pens, very dusty, with a medicinal and iodic sort of angle that does not cancel out the raw animal hide. Basically, it smells like fear. Bleah.) But this Dior smells all Chanely to me, more Chanely than the actual Chanel, isn’t that weird? The leather sticks around for about an hour, or at least it does here in Wyoming, all the time shrinking down closer and closer to the skin. After that, it slides into a very comfortable and attractive leather/benzoin skin scent, and that sticks around for a good twelve hours, even if I can only smell it if I huff hard. I love this drydown. In fact, I like the whole thing very much, and the only thing I’d wish for would be more sillage. It could use a bit of oomph.
What I do like about this area is the fascinating wildlife. We’ve seen elk and antelope here, and the remains of an early-1900s Amish farm settlement. I’ve noticed that the park service seems uninterested (unwilling?) to keep up old structures in these national parks, and so these historic buildings – labeled as points of interest BY the park service – are falling down. Which seems silly to me, but then I’m accustomed to the park service keeping up far older buildings as at Jamestown.
Wednesday, July 2 – Another pretty day. Still sunny, but less hot than yesterday. The CEO and I are rather burned (I sunscreened, he didn’t). I suppose the increased elevation is the difference. A driving day; we are headed north to Glacier. SOTD is Il Tuo Tulipano again. When we arrived in Kalispell, rather late for dinner, we saw on the Glacier park website that the Going-to-the-Sun Road is now open, as of 8:30 pm, for travel. Which is wonderful, because we were going to have to negotiate the park without it if they weren’t able to get it open.
Thursday, July 3 – Glacier National Park is without question the single most stunning scenic location I have ever seen. It beats out Hawaii and New Zealand and Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, and the also-stunning New River Gorge valley in West Virginia. Majestic! We hiked to see waterfalls; we saw glaciers and mountains and lakes and streams. We were a little surprised not to see any wildlife. SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum. The major road through the park is called Going-to-the-Sun Road, and portions of it are actually closed due to snowfall a good portion of the year – but they officially opened it at 8:30 pm on July 2, so the first day it was completely open for through traffic was today.
Taz meets Deer, trail near Baring Falls, Glacier. Photo courtesy of The CEO.
Friday, July 4 – Independence Day in a National Park… with snowballs! Logan Pass at Glacier had plenty of snow, enough for Taz and Gaze to indulge in a little sibling rivalry. Went on a lovely walk to see Red Rock Falls, one of the many beautiful waterfalls caused by snowmelt here at Glacier. Then The CEO and the boys went on another walk around one of the lakes, and another hike up to see another waterfall, while I had a nap in the car. SOTD: Hilde Soliani Il Tuo Tulipano. We saw a grizzly bear in a meadow near the road, and then when we were eating lunch at a picnic area, a young male elk wandered through the campground, munching away on grass and vegetation.
On the way back to the hotel we went to the Fourth of July celebration in the next town over, where they were having fireworks on Whitefish Lake. It turned out to be one of the best fireworks displays I’ve ever seen, second only to fireworks in Washington, DC. For one thing, there’s no ban on fireworks here in Montana like there is in Virginia, so there were numerous individuals around the lake setting off their own large fireworks and the general effect was very full and fun. (I’m guessing it was actually sort of dangerous, but hey. You only live once, right?) The official Whitefish town fireworks were shot off from a barge out in the lake, which was really cool. About halfway through, a kid sitting behind us noted out loud, ‘Hey, the barge is on fire.” We dismissed that, because all the way through the fireworks the kid had been saying things like, “We’re under attack!” and “It’s like cannon fire!” But at some point we noticed that he was right: the barge was on fire. And by the time the fireworks were over, the barge was not just on fire, it was burning fiercely, putting out a ton of black smoke. It was sort of horribly beautiful, fire on the lake. They did get the fire put out, but that was an exciting evening.
Saturday, July 5 – We drove through Glacier again and took in another hike, this one to a lovely waterfall. Also surprised a young doe deer on the trail; Taz was able to walk within four feet of her. All the advice is to leave wild animals alone, but she seemed very calm, and eventually walked on to another grazing area. We came out the other side of Glacier and drove to Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada. It was an experience for the kids to enter another country. Thank goodness, US-born children under 16, traveling with both parents, are allowed to use certified birth certificates instead of applying for passports. The Canada portion of the trip was added on rather late in the trip planning, so there would not have been time for us to get Gaze and Taz passports and we would have to have skipped Waterton.
This was more Walking Around Lakes. I am getting sick of lakes, honestly. We did stop at one point where a small swift creek ran near a picnic area, and Taz and I stepped into the creek. Just so you know, creeks fed by glaciers are, you guessed it, frigid. Even with flip-flops on, our feet were freezing. However, when The CEO made noises about taking another hike to go see some more waterfalls, I convinced him to let me and Taz stay near a different creek and play in the water. Which we did, and which we both enjoyed very much. When we came out of the water, there was a small (not full-grown) black bear near the parking lot, flipping rocks over and munching grubs. There was a rather large extended-family group of Indian people there at the same time we were, and one of the older men kept getting closer and closer to the bear with his smart phone, taking video. He made me nervous, frankly. And about that time, The CEO and Gaze showed up with their telephoto lenses and took some good shots.
Later that evening we saw a male deer with a nice rack grazing. Drove through a small bison preserve and saw a small herd, 8-10 animals, and also two predator animals that might have been either gray wolves or coyotes. Exciting! The wildlife has been the best part of the trip, for me. SOTD: Kelly Caleche edp.
Sunday, July 6 – I am sick of Walking Around Lakes. I let the boys go off to Walk Around Lakes at Waterton while I stayed in the hotel to do laundry. That turned out well. I walked around a bit, and went to the grocery store to pick up a few more snacks, and wrote some. SOTD: DelRae Wit again. The CEO enjoyed the hotel hot tub. As it turned out, the highlight of the trip back to Waterton was seeing a small herd of mountain goats. As it turned out, we saw nearly all of the varieties of wildlife that live in these national parks: moose, bison, grizzly bear, black bear, elk, antelope, mountain goat, deer, and wolves. Didn’t see a beaver, or any bighorn sheep, but I’m not disappointed.
Bison bull in Yellowstone, photo courtesy of The CEO.
Monday, July 7 – Drove south into Montana again, back into the US of A. SOTD: Mary Greenwell Plum. Stopped in Helena to have a look at the capital building, which is attractive and neoclassical. The CEO really enjoyed seeing the farm scenery and driving the more open, uncrowded roads in this area. Saw an electric pole with an enormous bird’s nest atop it, complete with enormous bird; The CEO thought it was a bald eagle at first, but after seeing it through his telephoto lens he decided it was an osprey instead. Mexican food for dinner and a swimming pool at the hotel near Bozeman.
Tuesday, July 8 – up at 4 am to make a 5:50 flight to Denver. Denver to Chicago O’Hare, Chicago to Reagan National, Reagan to the DC Metro, Metro train to Vienna, VA, where we met the cousin who was looking after our vehicle for us. THEN (soaking wet because we came out of the Metro into literal buckets of rain): we drove four and a half from Northern Virginia to Roanoke, to pick up The CEO (who had a different travel itinerary since he initially traveled for his NACTA conference in Bozeman) at the airport there. Then an hour drive home. Air travel is a wonderful thing, truly it is, but all the same we got home at 1:15 am Eastern time (two hours ahead of Mountain time), which means I had been up and moving for nearly 23 hours by then. AAARRGGGGHHH.
SOTD: started off with nothing because I didn’t have time, but at Chicago, I hit the Duty Free and sniffed things. I love doing that, but the only thing I really wanted to spritz there was Marc Jacobs Daisy. Say what you like, but you’re not going to talk me out of liking Daisy! O’Hare smells like nothing, basically, unless you are standing near a food establishment. Even the Duty Free smells antiseptic; probably they don’t get many people spraying perfume in there the way people spritz it in, say, Philly (the last American Duty Free I entered). However, the entire corridor outside the Wolfgang Puck restaurant smelled so deliciously of fresh basil that I took deep breaths of it every time I went past.
And then the rain-wet pavement outside the Metro was a pure delight: wet, green-silver, ultimate freshness. I hope it rains at home soon.
Be on the lookout for more photos from the Montana trip! Gaze and The CEO, between them, took close to 2500 shots. They’ve cut it down quite a bit since editing, but so many of them were wonderful and I’ll be sharing some of their work soon.