"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

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pig Races

Hi! Remember me? I've had a few 'Are you ok?' e-mails and I thought I should sit down and finally write something. I am only able to post things on the weekends and my weekends have been pretty full lately so blogging hasn't been something I've been able to accomplish lately. During the week I've been busy with work but I occasionally get out in the evenings for a Yellowstone drive. I've been seeing a grizzly bear on a regular basis by the Hoodoos near Mammoth. No pictures though, as I am usually pretty busy maneuvering my car through the crowds. It's a windy and narrow road and people like to stand or walk right on the road so I'm extra careful there as I don't want to hit anyone. Getting my camera out is really the last thing on my mind.

Earlier this week by Grizzly Lake trail I came across a young grizzly running down the middle of the road. I was 3 cars back but got a good look as it clumsily lumbered down the yellow line. Unfortunately it was too dark to get a good picture and this time I was ready with my camera. I guess that is how things work sometimes.

The Park has been breaking visitor records again this year. In July there were almost as many visitors that month as there had been the first six months of the year! Roads are clogged with bison and vehicles, especially these past two weeks in Hayden Valley where there was road work and a 25 mph speed limit from Canyon to Fishing Bridge. That made for a long drive especially when everyone wanted to stop and look at the huge herds of bison in Hayden. Sometimes it was frustrating but sometimes it reminded me of what Yellowstone is all about: huge herds of freely roaming the valley.

A couple weeks ago Yellowstone was the host to Vice President Biden. President Obama is scheduled to come to the Park on August 25 for the grand opening of the Old Faithful Visitor Center. Just like last years visit I will be at work with camera nearby just in case he visits the Canyon area. Chances are he won't but I'll be ready. We occasionally get celebrities in the Park. A couple weeks ago an actor from the movie Lord of the Rings was in Canyon - which one I don't know as I am one of the few people who has not actually seen the movie.

Last weekend a group of us went to the pig races near Red Lodge. It is an annual event for the group and I was invited to join them this year. The races are a 4H scholarship fundraiser that is held on the weekends all summer long at a restaurant/bar 6 miles from Red Lodge. The piglets run a small racetrack (the food at the end is what entices them to run) complete with the sounds of racing trumpets. Patrick and I won $125. It's definitely something that I intend on going to again.

We've eaten a couple times at the Lake Hotel dining room. It's always a treat to eat there. The food is fantastic and I tend to sit there imagining what the place looked like filled with smartly dressed people in the early 1900's. I had a delicious lamb meal my first night there (trying not to think about the pet sheep I once had) and my last time there (Aug. 4) Patrick and I split a beef tenderloin (the pet calf I once had doesn't prevent me from feeling guilty about eating beef) and halibut (nor does my numerous pet goldfish). Scrumptious!

There was a deadly bear mauling outside the Park by Silver Gate a couple weeks ago. The bear, in the middle of the night, attacked 3 different tents, mauling 3 people resulting in the death of one. Grizzly bear attacks can happen but it is extremely unusual. It is a sad story for the people involved.

I will be heading back to Mammoth to work this winter. I occasionally see people that I got to know in Mammoth this past winter and I look forward to going back and working those Taco Tuesdays. I still have 3 months to go. I can't believe that I already have 4 months of Canyon under my belt. It has been an extremely busy summer and I've enjoyed every minute of it.