"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, December 29, 2009

Getting back to Yellowstone was an adventure in itself. I waited until 11:00 am Saturday for Interstate 94 to open across North Dakota. There still were No Travel Advisories but I headed out into quite a storm. Between Fargo and Bismark the winds were blowing from the north at about 30 mph. About 10 miles before Bismark the winds died down and I thought I was in the clear. On the west side of Bismark the winds picked up and were blowing at about 40 mph. With lots of white-outs I followed a car that was driving with their hazzards on. Luckily they didn't drive into the ditch or I would of driven right in behind them. I made it to Miles City Saturday night and finally into Yellowstone Sunday afternoon at 1:30.
What a difference a week makes. The hotel opened a week ago Monday and Mammoth is now very busy. I made my Monday trek to Lamar and actually got into a wildlife jam. I don't know what everyone was looking at but cars were backed up for a little bit. The bull elks greeted me on the Blacktail and I saw a coyote bounding across the snow in Lamar. Winter wildlife viewing is so much different - with the white snow it is easier to see animals that in the summer would be totally overlooked. Big Boy and a friend were laying and snoozing between Mammoth and the bridge over the Gardiner River to the west. It's good to see him. Otherwise all I saw was a lot of cars. It's nice to have all these people back in the Park enjoying a wintery Yellowstone.
My co-workers and I are planning on having dinner on New Years Eve at the Mammoth Hotel. This will be my first time dining there. We are all looking forward to that. Since I don't get tv reception and my only radio is in my car I won't know when the New Year officially starts. Otherwise my evenings are filled with 30 Rock (I finished Friends a couple weeks ago).
It's good to be back.