EDITORIAL

Dear Readers,

After eleven and a half years at the helm of Lighthouse Point Magazine, I’ve decided to return to my life as musician and writer—and dabble a bit in other fields of interest.

The decision was by no means easy for me because my job as editor has given me the opportunity to serve this wonderful community and to work, without question, with some of the finest human beings ever to walk this earth. But the facing of monthly deadlines year after year is a task I needed to eliminate from my life in order to pursue other artistic endeavors.

The ride has been a glorious one, and I will continue for a while as consultant for the magazine, so you may be seeing me continuing my role as the usual real pest, buzzing around town for some time to come.

Even as editor, I can find no words to express my deep love and gratitude to our staff and all the extraordinary people who were instrumental in making Lighthouse Point Magazine one of the finest family magazines published in South Florida. My heartfelt thanks go out to you all!

And special thanks to graphic artists Babs Kall and Mike Wall, whose creative genius shown brightly on every single page, month after month, not to mention their great patience and understanding in dealing with my personal idiosyncrasies. In my eyes, Babs and Mike were not only indispensible to our success, but precious friends who gave their all!

From the start, I wanted family news and extraordinary photographs to fill the pages of Lighthouse Point Magazine. And, as fate would have it, Debra Todd joined the team and has performed magic with her camera ever since. A sincere thank you, Debra!

RICHARD & SUSAN

I’m very happy to report that the new owners of Lighthouse Point Magazine are Richard and Susan Rosser, residents of Lighthouse Point for the past 16 years. Both have had extensive experience in marketing and graphic design, having worked with top publications in South Florida. They have two children, Sam, 13 and Zoe, 12. Richard volunteers as soccer coach in the LHP Recreation Leagues and will be a sponsor in the coming season.

The Rossers may be contacted at Lighthouse Point Publishing, P.O. Box 5509, Lighthouse Point, FL 33074. Voice & Text: 954-540-5534. Fax: 954-656-1048. Email: richard@LHPmag.com, or susan@LHPmag.com

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On the Road to Shangri-La

 

ON THE ROAD TO SHANGRI-LA

MYSTICAL YUNNAN PROVINCE

Article and photos by Pam Euston 

Wherever you go, go with all your heart       Confucius

Saturday, July 28

40.magMy husband Don and I departed for our trip to China’s most southwestern province, Yunnan. Flying on three airlines from Miami to Los Angeles to Beijing for 36 hours, we finally arrived in Kunming, the capital and largest city of the province. Our last visit to China was in 1999 and we were surprised to see more cars than bicycles. Beijing is just as polluted as it was back then, so we were glad we flew on to Yunnan no sign of pollution.

Yunnan Province is a land of rain forests, snow-capped Himalayan peaks, rushing mountain rivers and some of the world’s most spectacular scenery, and unusual cultures. Twenty-six of China’s 55 ethnic minorities make their home here. Yunnan contains half of China’s plant and animal species, including 7,000 endemic plant species and 30 endangered animal species, such as snow leopards, clouded leopards, Yunnan golden monkeys, red pandas, a handful of tigers and about 200 wild elephants.

Yunnan means “south of the clouds” and is bordered by Tibet, Sichuan Province to the north, Myanmar (Burma), Laos and Vietnam.  The southern part of the province is covered with green mountains, remote cultivated valleys, and forested ridges. It is here that the elephants, tigers, leopards and golden haired monkeys make their home. Many of the people who reside here are extremely poor and over the last decade it has become a heroin and smuggling region. Northern Yunnan lies at the threshold of the Himalayas where China bumps into Tibet. The mountains are bigger here, the landscape is drier and more rugged, and many of the ethnic minorities here are related to Tibetans.

Yunnan is one of China’s poorest provinces. The main industry and crop is tobacco, much of which is grown in the Kunming area. Other important enterprises include pharmaceuticals and phosphorus chemicals. Tourism is becoming more and more important but Yunnan is still a province that few Americans have discovered and that’s unfortunate because it is beautiful and truly off the beaten track.

Kunming is known as “China’s City of Eternal Spring,” and is home to seven million people. A city of less than two million is called village in China. It is a lovely city, featuring streets lined with graceful willow trees, camellias, azaleas and magnolias. The cool temperatures and year-long spring weather make it an ideal location to grow flowers which is also a major industry. During World War II, it was the base of the Flying Tigers and the northern terminus of the Burma Road which was the major overland supply route in China after the Japanese took over much of the country’s coast in 1937 and 1938 and blockaded its seaports.

The The Flying Tigers Museum in Yunnanyi was Claire Chennault’s home in the village during World War II. Over the years, many of the pilots returned here and wrote notes and messages on the display. Last year, the last Flying Tiger passed away, ending a remarkable era in China and U.S. history.

Tuesday, July 30

Our group had found each other in the Beijing Airport yesterday, met our guide Michelle at the Kunming Airport, had lunch, got checked into the hotel, took a much-needed nap, and then took a short walk and had dinner. We had no trouble sleeping since we were exhausted from our long trek half way around the world.

Today will be our first day of discovery. Kunming’s history stretches back some 2,400 years, when it was the gateway to the celebrated Silk Road. After breakfast, we boarded our van, driven by Mr. Shu, and set off for the Stone Forest, 78 miles southeast of Kunming. Known since the Ming Dynasty as the “First Wonder of the World,” the limestone karsts here have been sculpted by nature over the course of 270 million years to form great pillars resembling a forest made of stone. The sky was overcast and it looked like we were going to get wet very soon. No sooner had we started our exploration of the Stone Forest, than it started to pour. It didn’t matter because these towering rock formations were still a sight to behold. The tall rocks seem to emanate from the ground in the manner of stalagmites with many looking like petrified trees, thereby creating the illusion of a forest made of stone. According to legend, the forest is the birthplace of Ashima, a beautiful girl of the Yi people. After falling in love she was forbidden to marry her chosen suitor and instead turned into a stone in the forest that still bears her name.  Michelle, a member of the Yi, said that each year on the 24th day of the sixth lunar month, many Yi people celebrate the Torch Festival, which features folk dances and wrestling competitions.  We will be able to enjoy this festival in a few days.

After lunch, we enjoyed a beautiful, sunny day. We drove back to Kunming and visited beautiful Green Lake, or Cui Hu Park. It was established in the 17th century on the west side of Wuhua Mountain and is sometimes described as a “Jade in Kunming.” The park consists of a group of four small sub-lakes linked by bridges in the traditional style. What a wonderful afternoon we spent here, following the willow tree-lined walkways, enjoying the brightly painted pavilions on the islands inside the park, photographing lots of beautiful flowers and getting to meet some of the locals up close and personal.

The park is very popular with the residents of Kunming and we watched people exercising and dancing. In fact, we joined in several dances and were warmly received by the group who seemed delighted that Americans would want to join them. Talk about a target-rich environment; the park is a photographer’s dream with no end to the subject matter.

That evening we went to a nearby restaurant for the specialty of the house: Crossing the bridge noodle soup. This is the “national” dish of Yunnan Province and there are several stories regarding just how this delicious soup came about. One story says that a scholar sent his wife to buy noodles from the other side of a bridge. Another version says that when the wife crossed the bridge carrying the meal in a basket, she tripped and accidentally poured hot broth into a bowl of raw meat. When she opened the basket to have a look, the meat had been boiled and tasted delicious. The main ingredient is rice vermicelli noodles, but the soup also includes raw quail eggs, ham and chicken slices along with vegetables and served very hot. The attendant will start out with a very large bowl of boiling hot noodle soup, and will then put the ingredients into the bowl, generally in the order from raw to cooked: meat first, then quail eggs, and then vegetables.  Finally, it is ready to eat after adding oil, chilies and vinegar, according to each diner’s personal taste.

That evening we went to “Dynamic Yunnan,” a song and dance ensemble that was a wonderful and unique fusion of traditional ethnic folk dance and music and modern choreography. Though there is no single storyline, the performers draw from Yunnan’s rich legends and cultural traditions to express the struggles and aspirations of the human condition. They should be playing Las Vegas!

Wednesday, July 31

We were up early and boarded the van to begin our 4-1/2 hour journey to the ancient walled city of Dali. We stopped at a bus stop in the town of Lufeng which advertises itself as “The Dinosaur’s Home Town,” due to the many fossils that have been excavated in this part of China.  Almost every house has a dinosaur painted on it. During our stop, some teenagers approached Don and I and asked to take our picture. Apparently, blue-eyed blonds and blue-eyed silver-haired men are a rare sight here and this was the beginning of many such picture-taking requests.

We stopped for lunch in the tiny village of Yunnanyi, surrounded by fields of tobacco, and then walked a short distance to where the Flying Tigers had an airfield and hangars. There is nothing here today, only fields of tobacco. We visited Flying Tigers Commander Claire Chennault’s home in Yunnanyi —  now a museum filled with items and pictures of the Flying Tigers. The town is also home to the Horse Caravan Museum. The “yi” suffix attached to Yunnan refers to courier stations that were set up for the supply of relay horses, or for couriers to have a rest on their way to deliver documents in the old days.

Visiting this town is like walking thousands of years back into history. You can see a slate-paved path stretching to the crop fields. The path is pitted with numerous potholes left by horses in ancient times. We visited an 84-year old man, the last villager to work on the Flying Tigers Air Base. He was just a boy of fourteen when the Flying Tigers and Americans, who came to China to fly against the Japanese during World War II, established an air field here. We departed Kunming at 8:00 am and finally reached Dali at 4:30 pm. Where we met our local guide, Daisy, who is a member of the Bai minority and speaks a different dialect than Michelle.

Dali is an ancient walled town 250 miles west of Kunming and is truly charming.  It is one of the most picturesque destinations in all of China.  Flanked on one side by the 13,000 foot Cangshan Mountains and on the other by Er Hai, Yunnan’s second-largest lake, Dali has a location that is rivaled by few other historical sites in the region.  And, at an altitude of 6,200 feet, it has a year-round temperate climate.  We stayed in the old walled city which is known as Dali Gucheng or Dali Old Town, at the Landscape Hotel which was a lovely little gem.   Dali reminded me of Hoi An in Vietnam.   That evening we had dinner at a local restaurant and then explored the shops, especially focusing on “Foreigners’ Street”, so named for the throngs of tourists that roam through all the interesting shops here.  We found an ice cream store and had to have dessert.  We asked Michelle if they had chocolate to which she replied that they had strawberry and normal which turned out to be vanilla.

Thursday, August 1

We were up early again and started our day by visiting a local market. These always fascinate me. They grow one crop of rice a year along with corn and tobacco. Winter crops that are grown around Dali are broad beans and wheat. Everyone was building torches for the aforementioned Torch Festival that will take place tonight. Our main destination today is to the village of Shacun on Er Hai, meaning “ear-shaped sea,” where we will observe cormorant fishing, followed by lunch with a local family. On our way to the lake, we visited a local embroidery school.

Cormorant fishing is a traditional fishing method in which fishermen use trained cormorants to fish in rivers and lakes. It has taken place in Japan and China since about 960 A.D.  It has also been used in other countries but is currently under threat in China. To control the birds, the fishermen tie a snare near the base of the bird’s throat. This prevents the birds from swallowing larger fish, which are held in their throat, but the birds can swallow smaller fish. When a cormorant has caught a fish in its throat, the fisherman brings the bird back to the boat and has the bird spit the fish up.

There are some 97 families living on Er Hai Lake who have been fishing this way for generations. Personally, I think the wife has the most back-breaking job, as she has to row the boat. Each fisherman has 20-25 birds and is very proficient at fishing this way.  The birds have names and are treated like pampered pets by the fisherman. Each one has his or her favorite perch on the sides of the boat.   One fisherman and his birds came aboard our boat and we had our pictures taken festooned with them. One even left his or her calling card on my hat!

Next we visited the Yang family where we were treated to lunch. Four generations of one family live within their compound, a common living arrangement throughout all of Asia. Mr. Yang is a teacher and is married with one young daughter. His mother and grandmother also reside in this home that was very large and clean with a beautiful courtyard and modern bathroom, a rarity in our travels. For such an ancient culture that has given the world so many inventions and innovations, it has always amazed me that they have yet to come up with a better toilet! I guess old habits die hard.

The highlight of our visit was a three-course tea ceremony that is practiced by the Bai ethnic group on holidays, or when treating honored guests that they considered us to be. It gets its name because tea is offered three times. This ceremony was originally held by the senior members or the most reverent member of the family. Each course symbolizes a different stage of life:

First Course: Bitter Tea is offered and symbolizes that one will suffer a lot before he or she starts his or her career; Second Course: Sweet Tea is served symbolizing that there is “no sweet without sweat,” or as we like to say in the U.S., “no pain, no gain.”

Third Course:  After Taste Tea implies that we need to remain in a placid frame of mind after having been through all tastes. These home-hosted lunches and dinners are a highlight of  our Oversea Adventure Travel trips because they provide a unique opportunity to meet a local family and interact with them one on one. I always take postcards of South Florida beach scenes to leave with the family. Since Yunnan is a land-locked country, they were amazed at how beautiful our beaches are. It is a site that they do not know, and Mr. Yang’s grandmother was particularly taken by the postcard. She kept running her hand over it and told us through her grandson that she thought we lived in paradise. Only Mr. Yang spoke English; his daughter was learning our language.

We returned to the hotel and watched the final preparations for tonight’s Torch Ceremony, the most important festival of the Yi minority in Yunnan. They were constructing a huge torch in the parking lot and were surrounding it with hundreds of firecrackers. We decided to join the locals who were dancing around the torch. Suddenly, we were pushed back into a corner and the firecrackers were lit. It sounded like the end of the world and we were very glad when the explosions ended. Thankfully, no one was set on fire.

This was nothing compared to the lighting of the torch. Try getting this ceremony permitted in the U.S.! This is a pyromaniac’s dream come true. I was afraid they were going to catch a huge tree on fire that was right next to the hotel. Once the main torch was lit, people kept running up to it and pulling out streamers and other items that had been placed in it to keep as souvenirs.  Others were lighting smaller torches and running off to light other torches out on the street. It started to rain about 9:30 pm and this put out the giant torch. This reminded me of what my parents always said to me, “The trouble with trouble is it starts out as fun.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Shining Star Awards

The 2013 Shining Stars Awards

RIC GREEN CHADIA GHANEM GEORGE MINNICH CHARLES BELL magEvery year there is a list compiled of people in Northeast Broward Community that give of themselves stand out and be noticed. This years honorees are:

Captain Wayne Adkins, BSO; Dr. Lyn Allison, Small Business Incubator/CRA; Ruthie Brooks, Balistreri Realty; Anne Brummer, Annual Dinner for the Arts; Elaine Fitzgerald, Vacation Rentals; Frank Furman, Furman Insurance (Founders Award); Karlton Johnson, Ely High School  – principal; Pompano Beach Junior Life Guard Program; Richard Leys, U.S. Copast Guard Auxiliary and Fred Schoor, Mayor of Light House Point.

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Birthdays

GABRIELLA 6OCT28 magCANNON 5DEC3 magJORDAN 10NOV1 magLUKE 4DEC9 magNICHOLAS 6OCT28 magREILEY 7NOV12.magSYDNEY MAE 4NOV19 magTOMMY MCGUIRE 2NOV16 mag

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Gridiron Grill-off

GRIDIRON GRILL-OFF FOOD, WINE & TAILGATE FESTIVAL

JOHN OFFERDAHL & KAVITA CHANNE magDSC08030The Gridiron Grill-Off Food, Wine & Tailgate festival teamed up with celebrity chefs and celebrity athletes for a great afternoon of great food and fun!

Miami Dolphin legends, together with South Florida’s finest chefs, signed autographs and mixed with the big crowd that attended this charity event to help feed the needs of Kids in Crisis throughout Florida.

Other benefactors were Here’s Help Badia/Publix Culinary School, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association Educational Programs, Miami Dolphons Foundation & the “Taste of the NFL” Feeding South Florida.

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EDITORIAL

Hey Kids, Look What Stella Did!

Stella Martinelli with mom, Krista

When I received word from my friend Krista Martinelli that her 8 year-old daughter, Stella, had produced a four-minute music video on her Apple iPod Touch device, I was floored (See page 23).

Stella had taken 501 photos of her American Doll in making this animated film. And then, when her mom told me the film had been entered in the 4th Annual L-Dub Independent Film Festival and would be premiered at the Stonzek Theatre in Lake Worth on September 28th, I totally lost it!

As much as I think technology can be a detriment to some children who use cell phones to only become caught up in a world of social networking, here is a case where a hi-tech device was used to create something wonderful, and could very well lead to a happy and productive life for Stella Martinelli.

A Thank You From the Bird Lady

       Jon, 

       I can’t even begin to tell you how pleased I was with your story! I had no idea I would be on the cover, and how extensive the article would be. I am most happy about getting the information out to so many people that there is help for wildlife, and a place it can be taken. I can’t thank you enough.

       It was a pleasure to have worked with you. Please tell Debra Todd that I really loved the photos she took. The magazine spread is a wonderful legacy for my grandchildren to keep. 

       Thank you again, and much success! 

       Cindy Rohkmann, The Bird Lady

 Our Country Is a Rudderless Ship

With our Government in a shutdown, Congress has again reinforced the opinions of millions of Americans that those they were so foolish to elect to office have no intention of serving the people.

Yes, Congress has proven to be a self-serving gang of complete blockheads, undeserving of the positions they hold in government.

It’s absolutely mindboggling that the people we put in control of our government have no idea how to govern! The American people are leaderless, being held hostage aboard a rudderless ship — and that ship is about to sink.

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The Majesty of Yellowstone

THE MAJESTY OF YELLOWSTONE  

 IN THE WILD and WONDERFUL WEST

                                                Article by Joan McIver                                                                                                     Photography by Joan, Laurel and Barbara McIver

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

High in the stormy western sky, jagged snow peaks etched a majestic vision on the distant horizon. The Teton Mountains in all their showy glory rose sharp and straight from Wyoming’s prairie land. It was a stunning sight for four road-weary travelers who had driven over 2,400 miles to enjoy the wonders of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Cameras in hand we jumped out of the car, yelping with excitement as we snapped dozens of photos.

Planned for a year, our road trip began in early June. My daughter Laurel McIver and I drove from Lighthouse Point home to Anderson, South Carolina where we picked up two more daughters, Jan Ray and Barbara McIver. At dawn the next morning, we climbed into a car stuffed with road maps, cameras, water and bags of snacks.

Our route took across took us through the center of the country from the highlands of Tennessee to the grasslands of Nebraska to Wyoming’s windy mix of mountains and prairie inhabited mainly by graceful pronghorn antelopes.

On day four of our journey, we pulled into Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a valley nestled in the shadow of the Teton’s sharp peaks. Hole is Wyoming-speak for the valley that surrounds the town of Jackson, a bustling mix of old west, big money and wide-eyed tourists like us. It was twilight; Jackson was abuzz with traffic, bright lights and boutiques stocked with high-ticket camping gear, jewelry and art. We checked into our lodging, and then walked several blocks along the town’s wooden walkways lined with Old West storefronts.

Downtown Jackson’s landmark arches built of elk antlers led into a small town square. In 2007, it took 1,948 antlers to rebuild the arch at the square’s Southwest corner. Male elk shed these antlers each spring as they graze in the National Elk Refuge just outside of town. Local Boy Scouts collect the antlers to be sold at an annual auction in Jackson

Like scores of other tourists, we took pictures of ourselves standing beneath the arches and then celebrated our arrival at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, a venerable town hangout since Prohibition days. We toasted ourselves with pink, prickly pear margaritas and dined western style on bison burgers, elk bits and steak. In the western-style dining room the heads of antelope, moose and elk peered down from the walls. In the bar, dancers rocked to the loud and lively country music played by a band from Georgia.

Besides nightlife and shopping, the area around the Jackson and the Tetons is renowned for skiing, outdoor sports and recreation. Numerous park trails wind high into the steep, rockbound cliffs, so inviting to hikers and rock climbers.

We passed on those strenuous activities in favor of looking for wildlife as we drove onward to Yellowstone, about 50 miles north. The desk clerk in Jackson told us that the elk had left the refuge area for higher ground in Yellowstone, but we’d likely see buffalo herds in the fields along Antelope Flats Road.

Great Advice! We spotted a herd of buffalo munching grass near the historic Moulton barn, a relic of a pioneer Mormon settlement. Young calves covered in golden brown fur stayed near their massive mothers. Seeing the bulky  adult buffalo was a first for my excited daughters. These animals still shedding their furry winter coats looked shaggy and unkempt, yet majestic. We later learned from a ranger that they are not buffalo and should be called bison.

The distance from Grand Teton National Park to the Yellowstone’s south entrance is a is about 50 miles, but the need to be alert for wildlife made for slow driving. The route followed the Snake River as it meandered along the edge of Jackson Lake.

Not long after entering Yellowstone, wildlife seemed to pop up everywhere. A handsome elk boasting impressive antlers elk rested among a grove of trees. Further on our car surprised a coyote stalking a Canada goose. The noise caused the goose to flutter away into a nearby lake while the coyote gave us a dirty look before skulking into the woods. Click, click went our cameras. So far, we had seen elk, buffalo and a coyote and the day was not over. It was easy to see why Yellowstone is often called National Park “the Serengeti of America.”

Created by Congress in 1872 Yellowstone became America and the world’s very first national park. In size, Yellowstone encompasses over a two million acres, mostly forests and wilderness. Since most visitors come to Yellowstone to see the geysers, hot springs, mudpots and other unique features, the park’s Grand Loop Road makes it easy. On a map, the loop road appears like a giant figure eight that divides the park into an upper and lower area. The road winds about the main landmarks, visitor centers, lodges, campgrounds, and trails. In many areas, boardwalks offer close-up views of many of the park’s 10,000 hot springs and 300 active geysers.

From the south entrance, the road brought us to Yellowstone Lake and the West Thumb Geyser Basin, a bizarre landscape alive with smoke, steam and wild geothermal activity. As we walked a boardwalk along the lake, we saw bubbling mud pots, crystal hot springs that ranged in color from inky black to crystal clear turquoise that would be the envy of any owner of a South Florida swimming pool. But a dip in these superheated pools would be instantly fatal. The air smelled of sulphur and steam belched from fissures in the ground.

Beyond the boardwalk was a barren landscape of dead trees, scorched earth scarred with steaming fissures. Signs warning “Dangerous Ground” added to a surreal scene atop the caldera of a super volcano that last erupted 600,000 years ago. Nobody knows when it will blow its top again. It was epic, creepy and scary all at once.

We ended the first day of Yellowstone adventures in the grand old Lake Hotel. The rambling yellow inn on the shores of Lake Yellowstone was the park’s first. Originally built in 1891 then rebuilt in 1903, the hotel amenities include a first-class dining room and large lobby and sunroom, banked by windows overlooking a view of Lake Yellowstone. After dinner, a pianist played show tunes in the lobby. We sat on the lobby’s comfy sofas and chairs, sipped a mud pot cocktail and played scrabble as we listened to the music.

Here’s a bit of advice about staying here and other lodges within the national park: From late June to September, this is a much-visited park, so make your reservations as early as possible. My daughter Jan booked a two-night stay at the Lake Hotel in January and was told they were the last available rooms. And one more thing to remember, there is no television, no cell phone service and only spotty wifi access within the park.

Overnight, the air turned cold. Luckily, we had packed an assortment of sweaters, mittens and jackets. Even bundled up we shivered as we walked to breakfast, served in the cafeteria housed in nearby Lake Lodge that was kept warm by a glowing fireplace in the rustic lobby. Despite the chilly temperature, there was no hesitation to hit the road for the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. To get there, our course led through the idyllic Hayden Valley formed by the Yellowstone River on its meandering southeastern journey. Distant snow-capped peaks of the Abrasoka Mountains sparkled against the sky. Herds of bison grazed amid the meadow’s lush grassland.

All at once, we saw an animal digging in the grassy meadow. It was a wolf, a big gray wolf. We couldn’t believe our eyes. It was so unexpected, especially as there was no traffic jam clogging the road. We gazed transfixed with wonder at seeing the rare, wild canine. Wolves had once been wiped out of the park by hunting and trapping. In 1997, 14 Canadian wolves were released into the park. Today 11 wolf packs roam the wilderness.

The roar of waterfalls filled our ears as we walked the path leading to the canyon were the magnificent Upper Falls cascaded down the steep canyon walls of yellow rock. From an overlook, we could view the canyon’s Upper and Lower falls and the river’s turbulent downhill plunge. Steep paths curved downward to overlooks closer to the canyon. After a bit, the cold wind sent us back to the car.

Another surprise, snowflakes swirled and dotted the windshield as we drove back to the wonderful Lake Hotel. To us it seemed like a blizzard in June.

The next morning we said goodbye to the Lake Hotel and planned a leisurely drive to Old Faithful Village, for a one-night stay in the cabins at Snow Lodge.

Once again we followed the Hayden Valley until we left the main road for a less traveled link to Madison Junction and the Lower Geyser Basin on the opposite side of the park. The route brought us to the Virginia Cascade, a rushing waterfall that splashed into a narrow tree-lined gorge

This backcountry route took us to a camp and ranger station at Madison Junction. From the Nez Perce parking lot, we watched three bison stroll through a picnic area on the opposite side of narrow, slow moving stream. Before crossing over, the bison dipped their hoofs daintily in the water then splashed with care as they came toward the parking lot. It was time to jump back into the car.

The scenery soon changed from pastoral to the weird world of noisy, smelly, spouting, geysers and boiling hot springs. The three-mile Firehole Lake Drive leads to the Lower Geyser Basin that boasts the Great Fountain and White Dome geysers and the smoky blue lake.

As if we hadn’t had enough weirdness, Midway Geyser Basin proved a spectacular other-worldly vision. “Hell’s Half Acre,” as author Rudyard Kipling described the site, is home to a 270-foot crater formed by the Excelsior Geyser with a constant stream of water overflowing its rim. On the same loop walk, this geothermal marvel is topped by the larger and more colorful Grand Prismatic Spring. Measuring 300 feet across, it is the largest hot spring in the park and third largest in the world. The spring’s water glows in shades of turquoise, greens and blue with rays of yellow, orange and brown spreading across the surface. The ray’s colors are created by algae, nurtured by the heat. A steamy mist wafted across the heated water. The spring edges close to the boardwalk. There’s no railing, so we walked carefully. A fall into the spring could be painful.

Onward to Old Faithful, the star of Yellowstone. The Old Faithful Visitor Center posts the times when the famed geyser is due to erupt. Eruptions can be from 60 to 90 minutes apart. We had several minutes to browse in the center’s exhibits, bookstore and gift store. Back outside we joined the crowd on hand for the big moment. Old Faithful did not disappoint. The great, steaming spout shot over 100-feet into the air accompanied by a rumbling roar.

We cheered the grand sight. But the Old Faithful Village offered another wonder –this one man made. Built in 1903, the Old Faithful Inn is a National Historic Landmark. Any visitor should step inside the huge log building with a lofty lobby that soars 80-feet high to the exposed roof ridge. Rocking chairs gathered about the hearth of a towering stone fireplace. After dinner, we took another look at Old Faithful as it let off a cloud of steam against in the evening sky. Tired but happy we hustled off to our cabins at the Snow Inn and to bed.

After a small bit of morning shopping at Old Faithful General store, we aimed the car north to Canyon Village, an area with a visitor center, post office and lodging where we planned to spend the night. The drive was spectacular especially when we took the turnoff at the Gibbon Falls and walked a bit on the river trail. Wildlife spotting included a wolverine on the opposite river bank, a mule deer and a brown bear and cub playing under the trees.

A big night lay ahead as we had made reservations for an exciting chuck wagon dinner in a remote valley, not far from the park’s north entrance. We had to check into our Canyon Village cabins and then change into warmer clothes because it gets cold at night in this mountainous region.

At the Roosevelt Coral, we climbed into Chuck Wagon seven, a big yellow covered wagon with room for 10 passengers. Dallas McCord recited cowboy poetry as cowhands hitched Shorty and Squirt, hefty Belgium horses, to the chuck wagon. James, our guide, hopped aboard and a caravan of wagons set off on a jaunt through Pleasant Valley. James entertained us with stories of the park’s, tumultuous history and its many colorful characters. We returned to the coral and the aroma of grilled steaks filled the cool air.

In the outdoor valley setting and to the tune of cowboy music, we filled our plates and stomachs with tender meat, corn, salad, cornbread and apple crisp cobbler. Cowboy coffee cooked in a metal pot over a campfire was better than expected. The evening ended too soon and it was time to drive through the lovely hills back to our cabin. Tomorrow would be our last full day in Yellowstone.

In the morning, we said farewell to Canyon Village. The plan was to drive north to the town of Gardiner, Montana, just outside the park’s exit. Peregrine falcons soared from ridges, herds of bison enjoyed the good life in the verdant, stream fed valley, but no wolves appeared.

From the valley, we next drove to historic Mammoth Springs, a small village that’s home to the park headquarters, a hotel, post office and a housing community for park employees. In the 19th century this was the site of Fort Yellowstone and permanent army base for the US Calvary. Built in 1909, the Albright Visitor Center, a sturdy building of dark stone, once served as the Bachelor Officer Quarters. Today it provides information for tourists and showcases western art. Elk graze on the former army parade grounds and lounge on shady lawns.

But the most amazing thing is the terraced Mammoth Spring itself. From a distance, it appears like a huge tiered cake covered in white and tan icing.  Up close, the stair step terraces stream with water bubbling from the spring. The water forms pools and leaves deposits of calcium carbonate that harden into travertine terraces. Boardwalks wind about upper and lower spring area.

Our last night in Yellowstone was spent at the Abrasoka Lodge in Gardiner, MT, a real western town on the banks of the Yellowstone River.

On our way back home, we reentered the park through the impressive Roosevelt Arch, a 50-foot basalt structure. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt laid the cornerstone for the basalt structure completed in 1909.

As we retraced our path, Yellowstone gave us a final thrill. South of Mammoth Spring, a huge traffic jam could only mean there was a bear by the road. We jockeyed for position. OMG! A grizzly bear mamma and cubs were frolicking in the in the grass. We tried to get out of the car for a closer look. But the park ranger said no, “Just get your picture and move on.”

What an ending to our park visit. We know we only saw a fraction of this incredible region. That would take years of time. But we did see how marvelous and alive our world could be with space for bears, coyotes, a wolves, elk and bison. Who could ask for more?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pompano’s Own Troubadour

Bill “Clancy” Jaycox Pompano’s Own Troubadour

Well, it’s finally official that Florida’s Pompano Beach is the city’s official song. Bill “Clancy” Jaycox wrote the composition back in 2004, hoping the Pompano Beach City Commission would give full approval, but it took another nine years to receive news that the city would print 1,000 CDs and, in addition, pay Clancy $100 for his vocal rendition at Pompano Chamber of Commerce events, farmer’s market gatherings, and any city functions that may arise.

Clancy and wife Joanne have been Mr. and Mrs. Santa Clause to thousands of children in the surrounding communities for more than 40 years, distributing gifts of food and clothing to the needy — all this without compensation of any sort.

A real throwback to the days of vaudeville, Clancy has performed his act and sung in every nightclub, beer hall and funeral parlor in the county and beyond. And yes, I did say funeral parlors where he sings a special song called Beauty to the grieving family members, the beautiful words written by his wife Joanne’s father.

 

 

 

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17TH ANNUAL DUNN’S RUN

17th Annual Dunn’s Run

Photos by Debra Todd

Runners

Big crowds attended the 17th Annual Dunn’s Run held in Deerfield Beach on Sunday, October 6th.

The 5-mile run began on a picture-perfect day with participants ranging in age from 9 to 75 years old and older!

We apologize that at press time there was no information regarding winners and awards. Local weekly papers already will have published that information.

Dunn’s Run which attracts as many as 2,000 entrants every year benefits the Boys & Girls Club of Broward County.

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BIRTHDAYS

Connor turned 1 on October 9

Julian Martin turned 7 on October 6

Makena turned 11 on August 21

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