"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

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Dunraven Finally

Theodore Roosevelt National Park by Medora, North Dakota

For your viewing pleasure I have included this shot of the World's Largest Holstein Cow in New Salem, North Dakota.

After driving 887 miles in 14 1/2 hours I finally made it back to Canyon feeling a mild vibration from the large quantities of Mt. Dew that I consumed on my drive. I also feel that I am overly qualified to rate the cleanliness of every rest area between the Minnesota/North Dakota border and Livingston, MT. Sorry Montana but North Dakota has you beat on the best rest areas. And because of the numerous bug splats on my windshield I can also tell you that a gas station in Beach, ND has the best squeegees though I did find a gas station in Forsyth, MT that had a telescoping squeegee that I was mildly impressed with. Oh, the ways I try to amuse myself on this long drive.

I missed working the Memorial Day weekend but it turned out to be even more busy than last year. And it continues to be very busy. On Monday night as I drove into Mammoth I was greeted with orange cones and rangers as they kept people away from the elk and bison on the grass across from the hotel. As I continued on to Canyon I was amazed at how many cars I was passing. I had assumed with the ending of the big weekend that the Park would somehow be much slower. But the crowds keep coming and every day seems to continue to get even busier. I think this year will even surpass last years record-breaking numbers.

There has been some tragedies in the Park this past week. 2 climbers in the Canyon were killed when climbing ice. That had actually happened before I left but it wasn't until the story was printed in numerous newspapers that I learned the actually story. There has been another sad tragedy this week, also. Yellowstone can be a dangerous place........and a place that some love and find peaceful. I will leave it at that. Also, 9 people were struck by lightening Tuesday at Old Faithful. The lightening here is an awesome sight. I have never seen so much sky to ground strikes anywhere. Recently I had been sitting outdoors with an overcast sky when suddenly there was a bright flash and an immediate crash of thunder. It had hit outside the big store and I immediately made my entrance into a building. This is the second time I have seen lightening hit the ground near the stores. Always be wary when the skies look threatening, and don't wait for the rain to start because lightening can strike at any time.

I finally got to make my 'first of the year' drive over Dunraven this evening. It has been nearly 8 months since I have driven it. Before I even got there I did manage to find myself in a bison jam between Norris and Nymph Lake. It was great to finally see the bison babies up close. And I also saw 2 black bears between Floating Island and the road to Petrified Tree. There were numerous cars pulled over but I just drove by as there wasn't much room for me to pull over. Carl also mentioned that he watched the wolves invade a coyote den filled with pups in Hayden Valley last night. I wonder if it belonged to any of the coyotes that I saw there a few weeks ago. There have been numerous bear reports in the Canyon area as well as Fishing Bridge. And of course I should mention the bear with 4 cubs by Swan Lake Flats. Ken even saw a snake by Ice Lake as he was hiking. With my slight snake phobia I am glad it was Ken who got to experience this wildlife moment and not me. So far 2010 has been a great wildlife viewing year.

And what can I say about the weather here? This week it has been snowy and rainy. And the outlook through the weekend doesn't show much improvement. It's not time to pack up the coats yet.

Edgar has left the area but there is are new critters roaming the area in front of the store. Two resident chipmunks are entertaining the guests. Lee has nicknamed them Fred & Wilma and the make a regular showing throughout the day. I don't see anyone feeding them but I do see a lot of people taking out their cameras to get a shot of them.

29 new employees will be reporting to work at the big store tomorrow. 2 will be coming to the Adventure Store. We always have room in our family for more.