This is, to my eye, absolutely beautiful. It was taken by Nick Tansley, and the reproduction here does not do it justice. Click on over to TREK EARTH and see how lovely it is. The technical data is a story in itself. Thank you Nick.


Semper Fi

How I Got Sucked Into The Monitor


After a brief and cold jog around town, and after a hearty breakfast I plopped in front of the computer and promised myself that the draft summary report would be completed by this evening.

Ahhhh the best laid . . . just a quick look at my Bloglines page, a couple of innocent clicks, BAM! What a site!

thundercloud-by-graham-owens.jpgGO SOLAR – the home page hints at little that is most fascinating at this location. In fact there is no mention of the beauty on the page. Stealth led me to some photographs. For me, the fascination was first awakened on that page: a beautiful thunderhead cloud viewed from the air.

macro-of-orange-firefly-by-graham-owen.jpgThen, there it was, the most amazing photos of flies: real, faux, decorative, artistic, and flying, and battling, and I was hooked. If you are at all interested in fantastic creativity visit the Photography and Fly pages of Graham Owen. {CLICK ON THE PHOTOS – IT’S WORTH IT!}

orange-dragonflies-interacting-2-by-graham-owens.jpgSome of the flies fool flies. An epic battle is illustrated between dragonflies. The faux fly, just anchored to the twig, is mercilessly pounded by the soaring bug, — I was sucked in.

9-three-flies-by-graham-owen.jpgThe real dragonfly even attacked a faux fly to remove an imitation fly for food – survival of the most aggressive. I was sucked even deeper into the monitor.

a-21-brookie-by-graham-owen.jpgThen I discovered my favorite picture, a 21″ Brook Trout. And a beautiful place: “Kirman Lake, California.” There is not a hint that the fish came from the lake, but it’s on my ‘mysteries to decipher’ list.

I clicked on every page and every photo. It didn’t hurt in the least. My eyes finally let me know that I had crept closer to the monitor than was sane or healthy.

Damn the report; just one more click.


Hell It’s Only Idaho



According to the Mercury News:


“Wolves in the northern Rockies will be removed from the endangered species list within the next year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Friday, a move that would open the population up to trophy hunting.”

wuff-by-kill-yy.jpgThere are loud voices against this move, and the state of Wyoming seems to be listening to them. There are less loud voices with guile in their hearts. They appear to be in Idaho.

A note in Ralph Maughan’s Wildlife News pointed us at a story with this note:

“Update: Thanks to Brian Ertz, here is a video of the sexist commissioner’s comment on You Tube. The person speaking is Jim Caswell, head of the governor’s Office of Species Conservation. The species office is, according to some displacing the Idaho Fish and Game Commission. It being yet another forum for the extractive industry. The voice in background is Cameron Wheeler, head of the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.”

wuff-by-kill.jpgA post a day later mentions the Montana plan that is evolving. and cites the detailed story in the Billings Gazette that shows the Montana legislature wrestling with the problem. So far Defenders of Wildlife have: “. . . paid out $153,930 for wolf kills last year, more than $50,000 more than in 2005, and many claims are still pending, said Minette Johnson, the group’s Northern Rockies representative.”

For one local, sane – (read female,) report you can peruse the Wolf Report for May 9, 2006. Such an interesting divergence of views. The photos posted here are from that report.

It is a source of constant amazement to me that the very people who despise wolves for killing elk, are the same people that rave about how many elk were here before the Europeans arrived.

pgrim.jpgReturn with me to those bygone days when Pilgrims lined up, shoulder to shoulder and spread their genes westward. Killing and burning and slaughtering elk. There were so many elk because they were healthy and well adapted to the world they lived in – including far more wolves than there are today. How did that happen? Don’t they pause to consider? Hell, it’s only Idaho.

A Walk, Some Fishing, Wine, Web Stuff, Skiers, Snowmobiles


upcabinriv.jpgI spent too much time at the computer on Saturday. Forgot to post anything. So, here’s the latest.

Sunday I went fishing on Cabin Creek. It’s about 15 miles from town and the road is plowed. There were still some fish below the campground and where it goes into the Madison river. After the sun came out and the trees started dripping I walked upstream to where it gets narrow and took some pictures. None of them came out close to the way I saw them – oh well!

I finished the number crunching for heavy particulates and dispersion patterns, then jiggled with the models. I’ve added a sidebar widget for new and updated material – it’s way down on the bottom left. As soon as I figure out to make the text links work in the widget I’ll fix that part too. The pages on culture history are roughed out and when I get some time away from the snowmobile morass I’ll get back to the earth sciences. Right now everything is a bit rough.


aspicywine.jpgI noticed a post in the Winehiker about the nouveau wines – I’ll go to Bozeman next weekend if they don’t make it to our village by then. The wines are usually cheap and good enough for my standard hot spicy wine recipe that I do in the winter – maybe the French had this in mind to make them drinkable.

The recipe is simple enough:

Hot Spiced Wine

1 Bottle of red wine
2 (or 3, or 4) oranges
several teaspoons/tablespoons of sugar
3-4 whole cloves
2-3 sticks of Cinnamon
Brandy (or Madeira – to taste)

Add the wine to a pot and heat gently on the stove. Peel and slice one orange into slices and add them, along with the juice of the second orange. Add several whole sticks of Cinnamon and the cloves. Bring the pot to a boil for a few seconds, (not too long – the first steam is the alcohol,) then turn the heat back down so it is barely simmering, (or less.) Add the sugar, (to taste – I like a lot,) and brandy and serve in thick mugs.


rachelsteer-in-o6-end.jpgThe early ski season is upon us. 300 obnoxious adolescents for “ski camp,” about 120 athletes from Sweden, Germany, Finland, France, and our own U.S. Army, National Guard, and Reserves. oit-biathlon-women-russia-gold.jpgThe Olympic biathlon teams are straggling in and getting fit for stocks at Altius, (as in swifter and stronger.) The Norwegians are doing it alone for now. This year’s schedule is really a mess. And then, the Russians are being secret, and strong again.

There are too many grubby men skiers in this world. They are also; loud, arrogant, entitled, imperious, and unwashed. Maybe they think they can be themselves in this little village and nobody will notice. We do! Hell, they walk 5 abreast in the middle of the street – “Look at me – I ski!”


I’ve got most of the data together for the ‘clean snowmobile’ post. copy-of-snowmobile-zero.jpgLast year there was another zero pollution sled built by Utah State University researchers. Several others are cleaner than a Prius. Why don’t the NPS planners take this changing technology into account? Who knows.

One sled was even provided by the NPS – they have ignored the results! The sleds were so quiet and clean that cross country skiers shouting at each other were at least two orders of magnitude louder. God bless the bureaucrats! More on this soon; time to run.

The Sins Of Snowmobiles


snowmobile-stinki.jpgbaby-bomb.JPGThe two cycle snowmobile stinks, it’s loud, it pollutes the environment, it’s a phallic substitute for many inadequacies, and it is a favorite target of irrational critics.

A 1930’s snowcoach stinks, is loud, pollutes the environment, is a phallic substitute for many inadequacies, and is the darling of irrational critics of snowmobiles.


51bomb.jpgWhy is there a difference in attitude toward these two very similar machines? {Brief aside: snowcoaches were called snowmobiles in the 50′ & 60’s – the other was called a snow machine}

A matter of time and technology and perception. Over time some snowcoachs have upgraded their motive power to contemporary emissions standards. It has taken over 60 years to do this. They are a bit cleaner but not a bit quieter. They have not upgraded their braking systems, their headlights, their safety capabilities, their horns, their windshield wipers, their ventilation, or their steering. Many do not have safety glass.

snowcoach-stuck-nps.jpgPassengers have to sit sideways without the benefit of seat-belts.There is nothing to hold onto. Fumes from the engine creep into the passenger compartment. The heater seldom works. People are forced to sit nearly on top of each other.

Still, these tanks, demanding groomed roads, are the preferred alternative for winter transportation in Yellowstone National Park. This is hardly “BEST AVAILABLE TECHNOLOGY.”


snovan.jpgSnow vans and snow buses use contemporary track systems, have contemporary safety systems, yellowbus.jpgand are significantly cleaner than previous over-the-snow transportation. They too, however are so loud that the driver/’guide’ is required to use an amplified P.A. system to speak to the passengers.

nps-groomer-night.jpgYet, these supposed “modern” people movers still require groomed roads. The National Park Service picks up the tab for grooming the roads for these private, (concessionaire owned,) vehicles. These too, are the preferred alternative for winter access to Yellowstone National Park in winter.

One of the great sins of snowmobiles is that they have allowed inferior over-the-snow transportation to glide “under the radar” of environmental scrutiny.


bgjmpoa.jpgSnowmobiles have suffered from a wealth of problems. Most of the problems are the result of an industry that has been blind to public opinion and arrogant in the development of an image.

In their rush to make money they started with very dirty and loud 2-cycle engines that were cheap to produce and developed enormous amounts of power and pollutants.

snowheeli.jpgThey needed the power to foster the image of “WINTER FUN” with a throbbing machine between the rider’s legs. watersled1.jpgRecreation in the fast lane has always been the theme of industry promotions, (such as jumping, racing, ‘high marking,’ drag racing, hill climbing, speeding, snow running, water-sledding, etc.)

snotow-ox.jpgThis emphasis on the recreational & daredevil & speed aspects of a snowmobile have blinded many critics to the fact that the vehicle is also an excellent and safe mode of transportation. This stilted focus of the industry’s publicity is their own fault and they must suffer the consequences.

snoresq.jpgThe fact that focus on the machine and not the pollutants has diverted attention from the commercialization of the park is lost on critics of the machine. They enjoy spitting out the word rather than being positive about addressing the problem. The machine is not the problem – the byproducts of dirty combustion and noise are the problem. Just as the pollutants of dirty van or bus or tank engines are a problem & must also be addressed.


Another of the great sins of the snowmobile is that it has focused attention on itself and not the problem of winter access in Yellowstone. This has allowed park concessionaires to develop fleets of vans and buses that the visitor is forced to use for access to Yellowstone. The National Park Service not only fosters this change, they encourage it. The added burden on the visitor amounts to more than $100/day.

The National Park Service pretends that they have addressed the noise and combustion pollution problems by forcing visitors to use a “guide” (?), and concessionaire vehicles. Most women I’ve talked to see right through this spurious reasoning. It’s the testosterone-laden dupes of either side of the argument that avoid the issue. NPS Dupes are just as blind as Snowmobile Dupes.

Fewer snowmobiles mean less noise and pollution. That is an absolutely true statement. So too is the statement that fewer tanks mean less noise and pollution. So too, fewer vans. So too, fewer buses. That is not the point! The point is clean, safe, quiet access! Would the NPS Dupes remove all vehicles to remove all pollution? – (some would!)

nps-gas-stunt.jpgThe exhaust from summertime tour buses is horrendous but it is tolerated by the National Park Service. One should ask the anti-snowmobile ranters why these belching behemoths are allowed and encouraged.

One should also ask why publicity stunts by the National Park Service only take place in the winter months. One should further ask why the National Park Service allows a planner a-sacklin.jpgthat thinks it’s funny to joke about shooting sleds and their riders is still working in Yellowstone! (The stupidity of this planner is chronicled in: New West, Montana Magazine, & The Casper Star Tribune. The real irritant is not just his stupidity, but the fact that you and I had to pay for it because this is how he spends his time on the job – paid for by us!)

It’s really just a sham to cover up the commercialization of the park. One should really ask why the National Park Service wants more canned tours and less individual experiences. Why does the NPS let the concessionaires dictate when a person can go into the park? Why does the NPS demand that guides be used for motorized transportation and not free ranging ski hordes? Ask, you’ll not get an answer.


One of the absolute greatest sins of snowmobiles is that they have encouraged the National Park Service to be lazy. As the National Park Service continues to encourage commercialization they gain the benefit of doing less, and being able to avoid responsibility more. By allowing concessionaires to dictate tour schedules and content the individual is left to digest rancid jokes, canned information, and dictated picture opportunities.

famski.jpgThe most unforgivable snowmobile sin is that they have caused a negative discussion & approach to winter visitation in Yellowstone.

The productive and positive approach demands that emissions and safety and noise standards be implemented, (for all vehicles.) Regulations should be promulgated that establish maximum amounts of pollutants, (noise &/or emissions,) for a given day, week, month, season. The technology is available to monitor this approach, and it would provide incentives for commercial interests to be cleaner, quieter, and safer.

If the National Park Service were to implement this approach they could guarantee the protection of the resource that is Yellowstone. They could show results and improvements. They could be honest stewards of our treasures. Instead of this kind of honesty they prefer to take the lazy way out. They have their dupes ranting against machines instead of pollution. Shame on them!

famsled.jpgIt’s the pollution and the noise – not the type of machine. Winter access must be safe, clean and quiet. Winter is a fierce time of the year. It is hard on the plants and animals. It is a time for gentle visitation. It is not a time for parades of buses herding masses of visitors to the “right” place for their own good. By reducing the visitor experience to a canned tour the National Park Service is being lazy and shirking their responsibilities.

The public is not best served by a lazy National Park Service. Nor are they best served by spurious arguments. They would be better served if the National Park Service and their dupes were positive about maximizing winter access and maximizing protection of Yellowstone. Ranting about snowmobiles does neither.


The results of ranting against snowmobiles:

  • More buses.
  • More vans.
  • More tanks.
  • More “guides.”
  • More noise & pollution & congestion.
  • Yellowstone closed at night to use tax money to groom roads for private interests.
  • Less individual experiences.
  • More socializing with whining children and olfactory intrusions.
  • Abrogation of responsibility by NPS.
  • Degraded Yellowstone Experience.
  • A much lazier NPS.
  • Greater commercialization of an already commercial wonderland.
  • =======================

    Places to go to see how the National Park Service is encouraging commercialization of the winter visitor experience while pretending to address noise, safety and pollution problems.

  • Yellowstone Winter Use Technical Documents
  • Yellowstone Winter Air Quality Study, (2004 – 2005 – PDF)
  • Yellowstone Winter Air Quality Study, (2005 – 2006, draft – PDF)
  • Final Air Quality Modeling Report, (Winter Use Plan, EIS, 11/02/06 – PDF)
  • ==============================

    Note that the Final Air Quality Modeling Report does, in fact, say that the rapid advances in making snowmobiles cleaner is one way to reduce pollution in Yellowstone National Park. They point out that:

    “the largest reductions in pollutant concentrations and emissions are seen under alternatives that allow only snow coaches, greatly limit over-snow vehicle entry, or implement ‘improved’ BAT (best available technology) for snowmobiles.”

    They did not model the alternative that would plow the roads and allow only wheeled vehicles in the park. Nor did they address the cost savings to the park and the public that this would engender. Nor did they evaluate how the individual experience is impacted by being a sardine in a tank in Yellowstone. I wonder why?


    The Coalition of National Park Service Retirees reads the above reports with a bit more of a jaundiced eye. However they do point out a significant failing of the snowmobile industry. Their Air Quality Press Release correctly reports that there has been no noticeable improvement in emissions since the introduction of 4-stroke snowmobiles in 2001.

    They, sadly continue to assume that over-the-snow experiences are necessary for a rewarding experience in Yellowstone. They also continue to lobby for more canned tours – and they should know better. They pick a section of the reports that compare 4-stroke snowmobiles to cars and trucks. If that’s the standard, why not just plow the roads and use cars and trucks?

    I certainly agree with them in their call to let science determine the policies for winter use. I would only hope that they would direct science to answer the pertinent questions of why there must be an over-the-snow commercial tour solution.

    Their own Rick Smith (a member of CNPSR’s Executive Council and former acting superintendent of Yellowstone National Park,) says:

    “Few actions in the National Park System would be more popular at the moment, and few would do more to restore the morale of the Park Service and the trust of the American people than for the Administration to heed what science has been telling it, repeatedly, for six years about the harmful effects of snowmobile use in Yellowstone. It’s high time to protect Yellowstone’s unique winter environment by providing visitors with access using the modern, environmentally-friendly snowcoaches that are becoming increasingly popular.”

    Of course there are more snowcoaches, and tanks, and vans, and buses. The canned tour capitalists will always exploit short-sighted park policies. And the NPS will always encourage someone else to do their work. Buses, vans, tanks, and the other “solutions” do not provide access – they limit access. They limit it severely. Keep on advocating removing the personal experience and you will lose any appreciation for the park. A new big screen T.V. would be better. – – – – – –And Cost Less!



    The Weather Sucks – I Love it !

    Perception Makes The Pudding

    I really wonder at the idiosyncratic and myopic views that we have about the phenomena that surround us. Just why, do you suppose, is there even a word such as inclement? The wind disperses seeds and rain, the rain nurtures plants and animals, the snow is a water bank for the summer, frost stimulates flower buds, and fog allows quiet stalking for predators. What is “not kind or merciful” about that?

    mt-pine-bark-beetle.JPGThere was a note in the Register Guard about the “Deadly Beetles” – a reference to the Mountain Pine Bark Beetle.

    The fear of beetles stems from logic that goes something like this: “Deadly Beetles cause an Infestation that Kills Trees and Devastates the forest which then dies and provides fuel for giant Forest Firessmokey-the-bear.jpeg – and we hate forest fires – thank you Smokey.

    Well, woodpeckers need beetles; the more beetles – the more woodpeckers. I’m sure the woodpeckers see this as positive. Dead trees provide nutrients for ferns, mushrooms, and other plants, (including trees.) I’m sure the forest sees this as a good thing. Forest fires renew meadows for Bambi, (and elk, and song birds, and even lodgepole pines and their serotinous pine cones.) So where is the devastation?

    Of course the perceived devastation is economic. Perception makes the pudding! I often hear people extolling the virtue of the “Native Forests” that must have existed before “man” got on the scene. Well those forests were the product of: wind, rain, fire, snow, flood, beetles, beavers, moose, elk deer, etc.

    baetis_larve.jpgbaetis1.jpgThe point of this, of course, the Baetis in Yellowstone in the late fall, just love cloudy – damp – overcast inclement weather. And, the fish love the Baetis.

    AND – I’ve been fishing in the inclement, devastating, foggy, rainy, snowy, park. AND FURTHER – I had it nearly to myself. AND FINALLY I remembered the camera.


    madison-glass-a2.JPGI left early, and skipped my second cup of coffee. The snow was about 4″ deep and melting rapidly. There were only a few tracks in the snow. The air was dead still and the gray was beautiful. I stopped to watch the swans at 7-mile bridge and marveled at how still the water was. I even took a picture that I called “Madison Glass.” I’m rather proud of it. The thumbnails don’t do it justice but it does look better if you click on it and see it full sized.

    mad-coyo-44.JPGThere was also a coyote above the bridge, (about 9-mile hole,) and I took it’s picture too. And of course the swans had a protrait too – going away – as usual. They lost both cygnets this year, and that’s contrary to the trend of 150% recruitment. mad-swan-a7.JPG

    Then up to the meadow at Madison Junction. There were only the three of us. The fishing residents of West Yellowstone wait for this opportunity to fish in solitude. John was at the meadow bend and I fished at the wildlife run. We waved, I took his picture, and he hooked up.

    just-the-three-of-us-6b.JPGI threw an olive green woolly leach and fished down to the bend. The dark holes were very apparent in the uniform gray light and, as I turned to fish back up toward the car, a tug announced the fish’s presence.

    mad-bow-in-snow.jpgIt was not an epic battle, though I did get to see the backing on my reel. The fish went to an undercut part of my bank and just sulked. I kept tension on the line and walked right up to it. It ran to mid stream and then back to my feet. I skidded it up on the bank, (a mossy chunk of indurated mud,) and took its picture. See I did remember the camera. The critter was exhausted so I took a long time to revive it. It felt good because the water was warmer than the air.


    I’ve really enjoyed the WET FLY SERIES in the Contemplative Angler. This two part series was just what I needed as I continue to wonder at the attitude that suggests that fishing is best if done only with a realistic dry fly. The quote I like best is in the box below.

    By the late 1940’s, phrases such as “I take my flies and my Martinis dry” gave some indication that the fishing of wet flies was considered passe, if not just one short step removed from poaching.


    rem-hunter-ob.JPG I even took a picture of the Hunter Class rifle. That’s my antique Swiss Army Blanket in the background. The rifle shoots just like it ought to. I went to the range the other day and qualified the gun. 50/5x at 100 yards is just where it ought to be. The Old Burris 6-power is crisp and clear. I shot 10 rounds, five on each target. My incremental judgement is going to need some improvement with this scope, however the targets are proof that the rifle will do it’s job. I posted the targets on the target page (Link.)

    I also changed the order for the new Hunter rifle. Same caliber, (.308,) but since stocks and triggers are hard to come by for the Tikka, I’ve decided to go with another Remington. The only difference in the two will be the chamber. We’re going to try to make the new one shoot with a SAAMI minimum chamber to avoid fiddling with the brass. We’ll see.


    There is another pertinent post in the Wine Hiker, (comments on!) about the need to be aware of the political impact on environmental concerns. The phrase “Mute Majority” strikes true!


    Well it’s drizzling nicely outside, a few snow flakes are mixed with the rain. I did fish the Firehole after the Madison, and the Baetis were plentiful. I took several fish in the afternoon. I’m going to run around town, get real soggy, and then decide if I want to take advantage of this last fishing day in Yellowstone’s inclement weather.

    Louise Kellogg’s Webloglog (&other stuff)


    For deep mantle information, a bit of sanity in our universities, and women in science you should check out Louise Kellogg’s Weblog. She is into the mantle and it’s machinations. She has a personal page, (Chair/Department of Geology/UC Davis,) as well.


    thermo-bac.jpgThere is a new Web Site about the commercialization of our national parks and the current push for shared dividends from research. You can investigate it at “PARKS NOT FOR SALE.” It all stems from the first commercial use of Thermus aquaticaus, a hot water loving thermophilic bacteria.

    Over the years this little critter has generated $$$$$$$$$$$. That’s piles of bucks! The place where it was discovered – Yellowstone National Park – has received 00000000. That’s no bucks. The debate has been sparked again by a newly proposed NPS policy. I first read about this in Yellowstone Park News – the post about Parks Get Royalties. The DEIS is available at the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) page. Much of the science behind many of these news stories is presented in the WHY FILES a blog and site that gives us all some insight into the workings of this kind of thing.


    I just discovered that I need a new camera – &, I just bought this little devil. It seems that it is possible with some models, (more research in my future,) of digital cameras can produce images from the near infrared spectrum. I’m going to get one. The article in SHUTTERBUG convinced me. Can you imagine what will be possible with pollution plumes? How about the thermic qualities of exposed strata? Golly can you see fish underwater? I’m going to find out – stay tuned.


    Well, the sun is out again and it’s a balmy 11 degrees. By the time I get to Biscuit Basin it should be in the high 20’s. The cold kills many flying insects – the fish love it.

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