MoritzAltenbach

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Skitouring in Revelstoke – earn your powder lines

Skitouring in Revelstoke – earn your powder lines

Let’s go on with the ultimate Revy madness. Since my last post, several weeks have passed again, which were everything else than unspectacular. Of course, during the peak season I had quite a few more shifts to work with Selkirk Tangiers Heliskiing, but in my free time, one highlight was chasing the other one. Altogether I spent nine days on the helicopter so far this season and who knows, maybe it works out another time towards the end of the season. But except those days I more and more developed to be a great winter fan, even more, than I was before. A big part of this development was ski touring, which I started this season. Surely, I had to invest quite a big amount of money into proper equipment, but nowhere else I would ever profit so much from great deals either over my workplace or just over the great second-hand culture of Revelstoke. And on top of it, Revelstoke offers just the best environment with the right experts around me to start ski touring. Either it’s just some simple touring out of the Revelstoke Mountain Resort or some advanced trips to Rogers Pass in the Glacier National Park, by going out on a ski tour you could really earn your perfect powder line. Here I have some new impressions from some of the touring trips I did together with my friends from Revy.

 

 

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Heliskiing in Revelstoke – The greatest skiing season of my life

Heliskiing in Revelstoke – The greatest skiing season of my life

Heliskiing in Revelstoke – Truly Fascinating

First of all, I want to show you a little video I edited from the footage I captured while I was Heliskiing in Revelstoke

How I got to do Heliskiing in Revelstoke

If there’s one thing I can say with certainty, then it is, that because I was Heliskiing in Revelstoke I experienced some of the luckiest days I ever had in my life. Actually, after every day I was out helicopter skiing I felt like being caught in a dream. I was in a euphoric state, which is hard to be described with words. As a usually humble person, I was always skeptical towards those expensive activities, that are not affordable to everyone. And honestly, I couldn’t afford to do that either if I would not work for Selkirk Tangiers Heliskiing this winter. But more by default than by design I managed to meet the right people during my year in Canada, which opened this opportunity to me. And by that, I had the chance as a staff member to go Heliskiing in Revelstoke. Technically it’s been in the Selkirk mountains close to Revelstoke, which also describe the first part of the company’s name. The second part, Tangiers, results from a small area within the Selkirks, where the first trips were started 40 years ago. The Tangiers  River Valley, which goes all the way up to the Tangiers Pass and the Tangiers Glacier. As I now have experienced this my mindset towards Heliskiing has changed. I met a lot of guests that saved their money for a long time to get this experience once. And all of them have been happier people after that. Including myself.

Impressive Terrain in the Selkirks.

 

Why Heliskiing in Revelstoke is such an unbelievable experience

Heliskiing, that’s such a thing. What do you actually need that for? Let’s say it like that. Imagine the helicopter just dropped you off on top of a mountain, then flies on and what remains is a complete silence around you. An almost endless terrain of knee-deep powder bears in front of you. Except for your group, there’s no one out there. The ultimate experience in the wilderness. Of course, this enthralled my feelings as an outdoor loving globetrotter. But also just the experience of flying in a helicopter through the snow-covered summits is something very special. You really get a new perspective of the breathtaking nature in the mountains.

Be part of your environment. Heliskiing brings you to places inaccessible to the most of us.

 

And why exactly Revelstoke?

Alright, let’s bring light into why Revelstoke is a Mecca for Heliskiing. In general, there are two main factors. On the one side, you find incredibly good terrain. Both the Selkirks east of the Columbia River and the Monashees west of the great river are equally suitable for both skiing in the Alpine and tree skiing below the tree line. And on the other side, who would’ve thought it, the area around Revelstoke gets continuously reliable snow conditions over almost the entire season. All this together with the nice flair of the small, sport-enthusiastic town of Revelstoke makes this the ideal place for Heliskiing.

The small town of Revelstoke with its two remarkable features. The historic railroad and the grand Columbia River.

 

How Heliskiing in Revelstoke changed my life

Let’s get to the point how Heliskiing in Revelstoke changed my life. To be honest, my life already went towards a different direction than it did before my year in Canada when I was not yet working for Selkirk Tangiers. A lot of time in nature, be it on a hike, during camping or while skiing, showed me that this should be the highest priority in my future life. But through my work at Selkirk Tangiers Heliskiing I got into a work environment where everybody; absolutely everyone; shared this attitude with me. And that’s what I haven’t experienced before, ever. Resulting from that, obviously, I now strive to find a job that will fulfill this urge to spend as much time as possible in nature.

Flying through a wonderland. The achievements of human technology make it possible.

 

Do you also want to try Heliskiing in Revelstoke one day?

Of course, you want, now that I made it tempting to you. If you want to see more pictures or want to get further information about the experience of Heliskiing I recommend you to look at this post I wrote the other day. And if you seriously think about going to Revelstoke for an adventure, then I can only recommend doing it with Selkirk Tangiers Heliskiing. You will find more about that on their page. Also, if you have any questions, I am more than happy to help you out.

Do you want to sit in one of those? Book an adventure with Selkirk Tangiers Heliskiing to get the sensation of Skiing in the wilderness.

 

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Heliskiing with Selkirk Tangiers Heliskiing – Skiing on Cloud Nine

Heliskiing with Selkirk Tangiers Heliskiing – Skiing on Cloud Nine

XXX-(XXX)-XXXX. Imagine this being a Canadian phone number that calls you shortly before 7 am. „Ring, ring!“ Below the number, the display shows the name of the contact I saved this number to: STHS Dispatch. The time has come. There was a free seat for me on one of the multiway groups so I was able to go helicopter skiing today, February fifth.

It was not the first day for me, I already had a day a couple of weeks ago, but that one was, except for flying with a helicopter for the first time, rather unspectacular. Because I am a staff member of Selkirk Tangiers Heliskiing I have to accept certain responsibilities. Generally, I always stay at the end of the group, on the one hand, to not take any fresh powder lines from the paying guests and on the other hand to monitor the completeness of the group and to help guests that may get stuck or got into any other kind of trouble. So on this first day, the conditions were far away from perfect and I mostly spent my time with helping and monitoring rather than cruising elegantly through the powder. But anyways, the season was still long and there would definitely be other opportunities.

And now there was one. I quickly packed my stuff together, took a bite for breakfast and made my way up to the Hillcrest Hotel, my workplace, where Selkirk Tangiers Heliskiing is based at. The excitement grew within every minute I drove because since two weeks there hasn’t been a day the sun was shining, but today it was and the summits of Mount Begbie and Mount MacPhearson were glowing in the golden morning light. I don’t believe it, do I really get some sun for today or what?

In the hotel, I quickly grabbed a transceiver, avalanche gear, skis and my super fancy staff jacket before we started. Let’s go Heliskiing!

At first, we still had to drive about twenty minutes to today’s staging area, during which I talked to Kate, who was guiding the group. The members of the group I already knew a bit, as I had the pleasure to welcome them during my last working shifts. Five Norwegians, three guests from the US and next to them also Noah, who was also working for Selkirk Tangiers in the dispatch. Having arrived at the helipad at Alberts, once more, some patches of blue sky emerged from the clouds, which could only be a good sign. And we finally started.

Below the thundering of the helicopter’s rotors, we lifted off the ground and were flying to our first run in the Selkirk River Valley, close to the place where 40 years ago Selkirk Tangiers Heliskiing started its first missions. As already mentioned Noah and me had the responsibility to stay at the end of the group what was only little of a problem today, as there was enough powder for everyone. It’s been just phenomenal! Everything matched on that day. The group was great, the powder was at least knee-deep and here and there the sunrays heated up the cold, clear air. Everyone had fun! At every second!

When I was out heliskiing the first time, we only managed to do four runs because of the inconsistency of the group and the difficult conditions. Today, however, we already had done four runs by lunchtime. All of them through feathery powder, that sometimes even shot up to our faces in the turns. Due to critical avalanche conditions in the high alpine we mostly spent time below the tree line, however,  the terrain of Selkirk Tangiers offers fabulous tree skiing.

After those four runs, the three groups that were sharing today’s helicopter met for lunch. Time to have a small chat here, talk some words over there and, oh, hey, there’s the five Germans that were in Cece’s group and who also came from Munich like I do. Especially for them, it was great to have a German employee out there in the wilderness.

After everyone strengthened up with some soup, sandwiches, and pastries we skied on. There was still a lot of powder waiting for us. Four more runs to be precise, which could all be described with a single word: perfection. Everyone pushed even more after lunch and enjoyed the sun, that came out more and more often now, before, at around 3 pm, the helicopter picked us up again and brought us back to the base.

From this day on I had a hundred, no, a thousand times more understanding for people to spend so much money for heliskiing.  This feeling, once you got dropped off by the helicopter and realize to be alone in the wilderness, floating through the fresh powder, is absolutely unique. Like being in a dream. It couldn’t get better…

…I thought in the evening of that day. But it got better.

The next morning I woke up early, as always, as I was still on the staff list for heliskiing. My hopes to get another call were very little, the chances just too low.

„Ring, Ring!“ XXX-(XXX)-XXXX. There it was again! The STHS Dispatch was calling again. And to make things even better, this time, I got requested by Cece to go with the Germans. Isn’t that fantastic?

Alright, the same procedure as the day before. Pack the things, get the equipment and here we go. Again, the sky brightened up from time to time. Actually, there was a snowstorm announced for today, but luckily there was no trace of that one visible right now. Once more, we entered the helicopter, which flew us up along the mountain forests towards the glowing peaks in the morning sun. What was going on here? more and more of the clouds disappeared and we flew further and further up into the high alpine. I was literally sticking to the window of the helicopter to take photos and videos because otherwise, nobody would believe any of my words about this trip. We were in paradise! Such a breathtaking beauty of the Canadian winter I have never before seen in my whole life. Paradise actually described this place very well, as we did the first there runs of the day in the direct vicinity of the paradise glacier. That day we witnessed scenes like in a movie, like from another world. Nobody could believe that we had such a luck with the weather. Everything seemed surreal.

Ihre runs we could ski in this incredible scenery before oncoming clouds forced us to go further down again. But anyways, fabulous tree skiing was waiting for us. Only one more run and it was already time for lunch again. Once more a good opportunity to have a chat with the five Germans but also with the two US Americans who were competing the group. Even the slowly starting snowfall didn’t spoil our good mood.

After lunch, which took place a bit earlier today than usual, we managed to do another six runs, mostly above the treelike again, as the snowfall stopped again and the visibility was great. In the end, we almost skied 7500 vertical meters. By comparison, the day before we „only“ skied about 4800 vertical meters. Especially the long runs in the alpine helped us today to ski so much vertical.

Exhausted, but nevertheless super happy we arrived at the hotel in the evening. This gave me the perfect opportunity to have a beer together with the guys from Munich in a real Bavarian manner and to wish them a great remaining time of their heliskiing adventure. Here I want to thank you guys for the beer and the pictures of that day.

For me, life goes on its normal way from here. A bit more work as the month before, a lot of skiing in the Revelstoke Mountain Resort and hopefully soon another day of heliskiing. What a life!

I went out Heliskiing on Friday of this week again, so there’s a couple of photos from that day here as well. Enjoy the photos!

 

 

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Revelstoke – the winter is coming

Revelstoke – the winter is coming

The first three weeks in Revelstoke are over and it is time to give you a bit of an update. In the evening of the 8th of December, I arrived in Revelstoke, after I have been driving during the day from Calgary through the Rocky Mountains and over the snow-covered Rogers Pass. I was back in the mountains! Awesome!

The same evening I moved into my room which I already managed to rent during summer and which I would call home for the next three and a half months. I now lived at my hosts Cathy and Jamie, who rent out four rooms in their huge house. Besides from them, there are Chris and Joj from England, Dario from Germany and his girlfriend Isi from Austria. So I definitely have good company here.

Also, what really makes me happy as well is that my one and only travel buddy Moritz is spending another season here in Revelstoke and lives at his lovely hosts Hans and Catherine again. As I haven’t seen them in a while I decided to visit them right away after I finished packing out my car. After only a couple of hours back in Revelstoke I already felt like home again.

During the first week, my goals were to find myself some Skiing equipment, as I haven’t brought over everything from Europe. I was lucky as there were Demo Sessions during that week, which allowed me to rent some skis for only a donation to the food bank in return. Because of that, it happened that I already got my season pass the next morning and hit the slopes on the greatest mountain in the world, the Mount Mackenzie! There wasn’t any powder yet, but for the beginning, I was completely satisfied with the groomed terrain. I went on like that for the next three days and always used the afternoons to find myself some used skis. Revelstoke is a repository for used equipment and either Facebook or the own website TheStokeList were helping me a lot to gain some overview. After less than a week I found some great powder skis, that were now waiting to be tested. Unfortunately, on my fourth day on the hill, I got some great issues with my ankle. In the rental, I got offered to adjust my boots and get some footbeds, but regarding the pain, I was sure that this wouldn’t solve all of my problems. Instead I went to town to check for other solutions and found one that was quite expensive, but also just perfect for me: I bought some new ski boots, two sizes smaller than the ones I had before to fit them properly around my ankle, got some custom liners and footbeds for them and got the front punched out a bit to get enough room for my toes. I haven’t really planned to spend so much money here, but good boots are just essential and these were an investment into the next years as well. So far so good, by the time Christmas was approaching and we finally got some big dumps of snow. By that, I experienced my first real powder days. Absolutely phenomenal! The ankle still kept doing some issues, but those weren’t due to the boots, but just because it was still sore. Until now I spent twelve days up on the hill, four of them were really good powder days. And already after those twelve days, this was the greatest skiing season I ever had. But hold on, there’s still a lot to come!

Besides from skiing I spent a lot of time with organizational stuff and was still working on my computer on some tasks that I got from the farm I did my internship at. Also, the Christmas Days didn’t come too short. In the evening of the 24th, which wasn’t really Christmas here yet, Dario, Isi and I made a great cheese fondue, followed by some own made Glühwein, which we shared with our hosts Cathy and Jamie. Then, on the 25th, the real Christmas here, I was invited over to Hans and Catherine for Christmas Dinner. It included the traditional turkey with mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables, all freshly made by the chef Hans personally.

Altogether I can really look back at a fantastic time so far, that could only ever get better. For now, New Year’s Eve stands on top of the schedule and after that, I soon will start working at the heliskiing company Selkirk Tangiers, what means that I will get to know a lot of great colleagues there and probably end up doing a day of helicopter skiing soon. No later than that I will definitely have something to report about.

Until then, enjoy the winter and a happy new year to everyone.

 

 

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Farewell from Saskatchewan – the end of the next chapter

Farewell from Saskatchewan – the end of the next chapter

Another stage of life drew to an end. In Saskatchewan I now spent a bit more than two months, two weeks in summer and the rest in fall and the ice-cold winter of the prairies. The time there I spent doing an internship on a farm that runs a consulting business, which helps farmers optimizing their yields and saving on fertilizer, pesticide and fungicide. With my experience of my geography studies I could successfully bring in my expertise in this area. But enough about work, that’s not what we are here for. We are here to internalize the beauty of the prairies. This landscape, that got converted to farmland under great efforts in the 19th century and that now feeds the world. There’s not much of this traditional farming left, but here and there historic buildings show the history of the prairies in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. And ,of course, these were what I was keen on. Therefore, I have another slideshow for you summarizing the history-charged buildings, the endless farmland and the unforgettable sunsets, that I could see from my office window every day.

 

 

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Snowshoe hiking in the Riding Mountain National Park

Snowshoe hiking in the Riding Mountain National Park

Here we go, I finally have something to report about again. After a long waiting period, that I mostly spent working, cooking, reading, bore myself and waiting for better weather, at last, I managed to plan something out in nature again. Not that work would not be interesting or I was suffering here, but the change from being in nature almost 24/7 and now being out there almost no time at all was just a bit too much. Therefore, I was pretty excited during the 40-kilometer drive to the park entrance of the Riding Mountain National Park, where I would spend the entire day.

I wasn’t quite sure in the beginning which landscape I would find myself into, only I knew there would be a lot of forest and wildlife. So I got even more excited as the landscape started to get hillier. What a great variety to the flat farmland. As I arrived in the park I parked my car at the trailhead, put on the warmest clothes I had and strapped my snowshoes on.

Perfectly prepared for the Canadian Winter. This wasn’t taken in the park, but I didn’t want to leave out showing you how thick I was dressed.

A clear, sunny day with temperatures only a couple degrees below zero was waiting for me. I didn’t set me any destination as a goal for the day, also because there wasn’t much of a choice on where to go in this part of the park. So I just started walking the trail in front of me, that split up after about 300 meters. I decided to go walk the trail towards the Tillson Lake, that would pass a couple of lakes and a creek. To the Tillson Lake it would be eight kilometers (16 with return), that seemed to me, facing the snow, the hour of the day (it was already 10 am, at 4:30 PM the sun would set again) and the fact that I must be really out of shape after such a long break, to be too much for this day. So I just tramped on and set myself the small creek as a goal. A couple of people seemed to have walked this trail before me, indicated by some human tracks in the snow already. In addition to those, there were plenty of other foot, paw, and hoof prints from a variety of animals. But no animals itself. So I trudged on an was surprised from time to time by the steep slopes the trail went over. Also, I was very satisfied with the surrounding coniferous forest, because where I lived and worked there were almost no coniferous trees at all. After a while I got to a first viewpoint on an elevated part of the trail, from where I could catch a glimpse of the endless forest, covering the rolling hills.

Almost unbelievable that there was undisturbed wilderness as far as I could see. I haven’t had this in a long time.

Only slightly later the other tracks on the trail ended. I was now the first person to walk this trail after the heavy snowfalls.

Only me and nature. Nobody has set a foot here before me on that day.

Again, a bit later, I then had to detour a fallen tree, that didn’t survive last weeks snow storm. It went on like that for a while. Up, down, through the forest. No animal, not the slightest peep, only the crunching of the snow under my feet. Then, finally, the trail winded its way down again and in the end I arrived at the valley that I had set as a target. A wide swath through the forest beard itself in front of me, gentle hills rising on both sides of it.

I made it, the first goal of the day was reached. The vast plain of the Tillson Creek, which ran somewhere beneath the snow.

Here and there I recognized some more tracks of animals, but even though I had a vast view, the animals themselves stayed put.  Carefully I sometimes stepped off the trail to enter the plain of the valley, always having in mind to not break through the snow cover into some hidden holes or the creek.

Those tracks were sometimes really misleading. I’m sure I would’ve broken in at this point.

As the trail followed the Tillson creek for another while I decided to follow it a bit further.

Why not walk a bit longer through this winter-wonderland?

And when the trail left the valley again, I still had enough motivation to go on. I would make it to the Tillson Lake after all.  Again, the trail winded through gentle hills, between which some wetlands covered the depressions.

I’m sure that in summer there must be a lot of life in those wetlands.

And another time a great tree blocked my way, this time even harder to detour.

There was no way over or through this barrier. I had to find a detour through the surrounding wetlands.

And still, I went on. Through the snow, alone. In the end, at a quarter to 1 PM, I arrived at the Tillson Lake, on which shore laid a small backcountry campground, that offered picnic tables, fire pits and an outhouse.

The mystic atmosphere at the shore of the Tillson Lake.

Pleased, I wiped the dry snow from one of the picnic tables and packed out my lunch. Some good traditional fare. Wholegrain crips bread with cream cheese, a deer sausage, which we made on our own the previous week on the farm from a deer, my coworker has shot, an apple and tea. And absolute silence around me. Fascinating!

Definitely a picnic of its own kind.

However, without any movement at all, I got cold pretty fast and had to start my way back soon in order to get back to my car in time. So I stomped back the whole way, detoured the fallen trees once more an arrived, somehow earlier than expected, at my car. Except from a couple of birds and a squirrel, I haven’t seen a single animal in the park, what frustrated me a bit.

Couldn’t there be at least one beaver posing a bit for the camera? Anyways, when I think about it, I would probably have thought about going out at these temperatures twice as well.

But on the other hand, I was just too exhausted to really bother. And altogether it was still a very successful day. I even got a bit of a tan on my face. In the end, there was only the way back home that I still had to drive. So I turned on some good music and stopped from time to time to enjoy the vast views of the somehow still beautiful farm land.

By the time I passed several of those remnants from the time when the Canadian Prairies got settled.

At home, I then took a hot shower, reheated myself some pumpkin soup and made myself comfortable with my book in my room to end this awesome day in nature.

And in the end, another beautiful grain elevator in the evening sun.

(Deutsch)  
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The road trip of my life – a balance

The road trip of my life – a balance

That my huge road trip is already over you might already have read in my previous posts, however, I really struggled to change my lifestyle from traveling to working from one on the other day. I fell into that hole, in which you usually fall after a holiday. Only that my holiday lasted about six months, that I confidently can call the most exciting ones in my life so far.

Let’s start with a, in my opinion, very impressive number. 32.000 kilometers. This is the distance I drove on to my van Max in less than six months. Probably more than I ever drove a car in my life before. Three-quarters of the worlds perimeter. Imagine where I could’ve been going to with that if I would’ve stunt been driving straight into one direction. But this is it, 32.000 kilometers only through North America! Thereby I have seen so many places there. And to be precise, I’ve only been to the West of Canada and the United States. However, I can now proudly say that I’ve seen almost everything worth seeing in between Fairbanks, Alaska, and San Diego as one of the most southern places in the States. in my life I wouldn’t have believed that I could say that at the age of 22 years. America, that has always been kind of a dream, far far away. The pictures at home in our living room and the slides of the holidays my parents once made that I could see so many times when I grew up. Now, many of those places are not only pictures anymore but memories in my head.

Let’s move on, a couple more balances: During the last six months, I visited 24 National Parks. I was at the ice cold Denali National Park, close to the highest peak in North America. I have also been to the deepest point in North America, the Death Valley, which is also the driest place on earth. Additionally, I traveled along the rainy Pacific Coast, that is home to some unique jewels in the rainforests. And I have been to all those mountain ranges, the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevada and whichever names they also had. And obviously, I have seen a lot of things between those National Parks. 24 National Parks, that sounds a little poor for six months, doesn’t it? That’s why I wanna sweep a little further out and highlight the levels below National Parks.
In Canada, I’ve traveled to 14 Provincial Parks and even one Territorial Park. Even more impressive: In the United States I visited 21 State Parks, 14 National Forests, five National Recreation Areas, three National Monuments and one Tribal Park. I’m not even quite sure about those numbers anymore, there could be easily the one or other park that I already forgot about. All in all, I have seen so many different places, that I got almost a bit tired of it in the end. However, now, about three weeks after I finished my journey I already have this prickling in my fingers. This urge to just jump in my car and drive somewhere. To be honest, I lied a little bit when I said, that I’ve seen almost everything. There’s so much still waiting for me, in the beautiful west of North America.

It’s obvious, that I haven’t been traveling in North America for the last time. And it is also obvious, that I want to and will meet many wonderful humans here again.

Especially during the time I was traveling alone, I got to know so many great humans that it would be more than sad if I would never cross their ways again. But also the time I was not alone I will not forget. First of all, the big road trip up to Alaska with my travel buddy Moritz. Then the great spectacle of the solar eclipse in Oregon, that I experienced together with Rico. And in the end, of course, the time with my girlfriend and my parents. Sharing experiences yet makes you even happier.

On lonely evenings I’m indulging in reminiscence of those adventures with pleasure, but still, it is good how it is. Just a break, some time to settle down a little bit.

And then there is also the thrill of anticipation for the next adventure. One god damn whole winter season in the Revelstoke Mountain Resort! This will be huge fun and action.

In the end, I can only thank all those people again, that were supporting me on my journey and who were making all this possible. Without you, everything would’ve been different. Not that much fun, spectacular, impressive or fascinating. Just not so much North America.

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Yellowstone – the great final (part 3)

Yellowstone – the great final (part 3)

The day has come, that meant to say goodbye to my parents and my girlfriend. The day, which I successfully pushed to the back of my mind so far. And, in addition to that, also the day, which would finish up my huge road trip. Of course, I still had to drive back to Saskatchewan, but today I would see and experience something for the last time. Actually, I should just be proud of everything that I experienced during this time, but today it was very hard to do so.  From the very morning, I had to deal with this weird sensation. Even the cute bisons, which blocked the road several times, let me forget completely about the upcoming farewell.

The little ones were pretty active in the morning.

On that day, we still drove to the place village Mammoth Hot Springs together where natural lime terraces have formed nearby.  One last time we curved through the park and enjoyed the beautiful scenery until we arrived. Small wood walks gave access to the terraces, so we could get pretty close to them.

Being right next to those incredible terraces.

One time those were snow white, another time colored.

Once water was flowing over the white terraces, but now they fell dry.

And sometimes they weren’t even terraces but other fantastic forms.

This really could have been an abstract painting.

This place really impressed me again. Like almost everywhere else in the park hot springs could also be found here, but nowhere else those terraces emerged.

Only here those terraces emerged, but why not somewhere else?

Microscopically small crystals formed this masterpiece, that emerged over time.

A closer look was really worth it. Looks a little bit like a small Bryce Canyon, doesn’t it?

Once again, simply beautiful. One last event was still planned after visiting the lime terraces. Bathing at the mouth of the Boiling River into the Gardiner River. Like the name already says, the Boiling River was incredibly hot as it drains the Mammoth Hot Springs. Actually, the water is way too hot to take a bath, but at the confluence with the Gardiner River, one could find comfortable places in the mixed water.  So why wait? Let’s go in and finish the holiday with a round of bathing.

One last time of bathing fun in nature. Goodbye Yellowstone!

It was really relaxing, even though we had to sway to not get too warm or too cold. A real balancing act, but it was definitely worth it. As long as possible we still stayed there, but then the time had come. One last picnic at the parking lot and the holiday was over. Three weeks, that none of us will ever forget. Even harder it was now to say goodbye again. Up to six more months, I would stay here in North America, until I definitely would come back home. Let it be said, this farewell was a lot more difficult than the one at the beginning of my year. Back then, all the excitement quickly let home to be a side issue, but now I already knew how hard it would be to be on my own for another such long time. Even the prospect of only going to two more places, both of them already known to me and with friends and colleagues, couldn‘t cheer me up right now. I was just sad and as soon as my parents and Caro had been driving off I emotionally collapsed. The three biggest supporters I had for the last half year were now on their way back home again. Without my decision to do this year here, none of us would have been here and I really hope, that those three weeks could express a bit of my gratitude for all the support. It took me not less than 15 minutes to calm as much down, that I could also start my last, long journey. Next stop: good, old Canada!

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Yellowstone – the great final (part 2)

Yellowstone – the great final (part 2)

Let’s go on. In the morning of the second day, we drove all the way back to the Park from the wild-west town Cody, where we have spent the night. Again, a bright blue sky and clear, cold air were welcoming us when we were driving over the snow-covered pass into the park.

Cold, clear air. Even the summits of the Grand Tetons were visible at the horizon.

For today, hiking in the northeastern part of the park, where a lot of wildlife could be seen, was on our schedule. Due to the great dimension of the park, it was, once more, quite a while of driving there, during which we could see plenty of things. At first, the road followed the Yellowstone River, which drains the huge Yellowstone Lake.

This is exactly how I imagined Yellowstone. Wild, undisturbed nature.

Gently, the river winded through the rolling hills, laying elevated at more than 2000 meters, which, with their large grasslands and dense forests, were the perfect habitat for many species of wildlife. All over again we drove along the crystal clear river.

Surreal atmosphere at the shoresline of the Yellowstone River.

From time to time, some more hot springs and geysers indicated the tectonic activity of this place.

Growing next to the hot springs the grass could grow year-round, which caused a great contrast.

After a while, the valley narrowed and the flow rate increased. We got closer to the famous Yellowstone falls, that the Yellowstone River was thundering down over 70 meters into the canyon.

Beeing a gently flowing river just before, the Yellowstone River turned into a thundering mountain river.

Going on top of a viewpoint plateau, we could gaze at them pretty good. From there, the river continued its way through the canyon and the road started to wind up to the next pass. Again, we sometimes drove through the snow, over the rim of the caldera under which the huge magma chamber lied dormant. Behind the pass, more vast valleys with beautifully colored deciduous trees and gentle hills were waiting for us.

Just the fact that we were in the Yellowstone National Park made this incredible view so much more special.

Here and there, some bisons made their way over the meadows.

A lonely bison wandering through the vast meadows.

Until close to the rim of the canyon the road winded down again, then we turned onto a bridge over it. On the other side was the parking lot, from which we started our hike along the Specimen Ridge.

There were good views into the canyon all along the way on top of the Specimen Ridge.

It was no big hike so we took our time and just enjoyed exploring nature by foot. Once again, beautiful views into the canyon and towards the vast valleys, snow-covered summits at the end of them, which outlined the park border.

You could honestly look in each direction and found the same, beautiful vista.

Barely any place ever made me feel so satisfied. Nature seemed still to be in its balance, humans were only a small impact and acted in harmony with their environment. In the afternoon; we already hiked back; we made our way towards another park exit that would lead us to Cook city, the next place where we would spend the night. Along the Lamar River, we drove into another what seemed to be an endless valley, that was inhabited by thousands of bisons.

Once again, a great valley. Behind every turn there was another jewel waiting for us.

In the beginning, only single bisons or small groups of them were impressive for us, but now that we were here, this topped everything. Like in storybook one herd next to another was peacefully grazing on the meadows along the river.

Grazing bisons, alpine forests, snow covered hills and that all together in one picture. Unbelievable.

The sun already about to set the scenery got colored in a smooth evening light in which the coniferous trees were gently waving their golden leaves in the wind.

Bisons, bisons, bisons. Once almost extinct, those magnificent creatures have found a new home. Yellowstone National Park!

Hard to believe, isn’t it? With those impressions, the second day faded away, the last one before the hard farewell that was waiting for us.

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Yellowstone – the grand final (part 1)

Yellowstone – the grand final (part 1)

The last stop. Not only for my family and my girlfriend, but also for me. After six unbelievable months, the van life was about to come to an end. A journey, that topped of at the Yellowstone National Park. Three days of fascination in an incredible National Park, so big that we really needed those three days and because of that I have to split up this post into three separate ones. In the first one, I want to thematize what characterizes Yellowstone. Al the sparkling hot springs, geysers, and steaming vents, that proved the presence of the huge magma chamber below the park. The most of them we already visited on the first day. All around the Old Faithful, the most popular geyser of the park, which spewed its hot water into the air every 45 to 120 minutes, it was gurgling, bubbling, sizzling and rumbling all over the place. Many a pool really seemed to be inviting with its magnificent blue color, yet it was mostly a hostile terrain that you shouldn’t approach too close. To eventually get a good view of those attractions, several boardwalks that you could walk on were designed. So we spent the whole afternoon by gazing at those wonderful natural spectacles. Wildlife was also a bit visible on that day, but it got way more magnificent on the next one, so be excited about that.

 

 

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