"There is nothing so American as our national parks. The scenery and wildlife are native. The fundamental idea behind the parks is native. It is, in brief, that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us. The parks stand as the outward symbol of this great human principle." Franklin D. Roosevelt

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring Update from YNP

While I am still in Minnesota (in both a Flood Warning and a Winter Storm Warning ~ that's Minnesota for you) I have been keeping updated on YNP and what is happening there. I have read that bears are coming out of hibernation. Just a couple weeks ago a grizzly bear was spotted fishing in the Yellowstone River by Tower.

The only road in the park to remain open year round is the road between Gardiner and Cooke City. The plows are now starting to clear the other roads, all 220 miles of roads. This can take an extraordinary effort as they have to clear roads where there can be 14 feet of snow on them, some with 40 foot drifts. The last area in the park to be plowed is Dunraven Pass, just north of Canyon. That won't even be plowed until May.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Countdown Begins

From May 12 until October 3, 2009 I will be working for Delaware North Companies in the Yellowstone General Store at Canyon in Yellowstone National Park. I received a call on February 11, was interviewed via telephone and offered the retail position I applied for. Ever since I have been walking on air. I have also been planning and thinking about every possible item I may need for a 5 month stay in a national park. I am known for notoriously over packing; simplicity is a trait I have not inherited or learned. This is known by anyone who has every attempted to help me lug my suitcase(s) in and out of a vehicle. I have categorized everything into 3 groupings:

1. What I Need
2. What I Want
3. What I Really Want But It Is Not Necessary and Will Be a Burden To Haul Around and Take Up Too Much Space In My Dorm Room and Car But Still Would Be Really Nice To Have Even Though I Probably Won't Use It

I have a feeling most of what I have on my list fit into category #3.
I have already purchased most things on my list, including a hydration pack, a lumbar pack, 2 pairs of hiking boots, 2 pairs of hiking shoes, a pair of sandals (gosh, I love shoes!), new hiking clothes, flashlights, batteries, etc. At this point what I am lacking is a good camera (no one goes to Yellowstone without a camera!), a pair of 8x30 or 7x35 small binoculars (I have a very nice pair of binoculars but they are too large and cumbersome) and a reliable pair of hiking poles.

  • Camera: After weeks of reading about different cameras I finally made my decision, a 10mp Canon. I went to the store and tried it out before my purchase, I loved it, then the person assisting me informed me that they were out of that particular camera. Great. But she then showed me a better Canon for $50 more. Great. Now I'm ruined for the original camera I wanted. I ended up leaving the store without a camera.
  • Binoculars: Since I plan on spending many evenings sitting in Hayden Valley looking for wildlife these are an absolute must (category #1). I have looked locally for a pair but it seems that the stores have every type BUT the ones I'm looking for. So the search continues for these elusive binoculars. *I'm having flashbacks to kindergarten when I made binoculars out of toilet paper tubes*
  • Hiking Poles: I once used a very durable stick I found on a trail when backpacking in the Grand Gulch in Utah and from that experience it showed me that having poles is useful, not so much stress on the back and knees. Anything that reduces stress definitely falls into category #1. Hiking pole prices range from cheap to "I can't believe they want that much money for a pole!" Since me with a pole could mean a fellow hiker ending up with an eye poked out (I talk with my hands so anything in my hands will be swinging around...you get the picture) I may go with the semi-cheap poles. After all, they may be ripped from my hands and thrown away by a one-eyed hiking partner.
I still have about 50 more days to locate and acquire those 3 items. Oh, and some new jeans for my work uniform.