"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

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Admin Travel

Bison in Mammoth
 With snow falling hard and thick this morning I called the Admin Travel number to find out the status of the roads and administrative travel.  Just before 7:00 it was all clear to travel to Canyon so I got dressed and carefully loaded my car with my possessions to drop off at the Adventure Store while I was there working.  By the time it came time for me to leave Mammoth I called one last time to the Admin Travel number only to find out that the road from Norris to Canyon was closed to all travel.  I checked back periodically but it remained the same.  And the snow continued to fall in Mammoth.

I checked the NOAA weather report to find that we were in a Winter Storm Warning with up 25 inches of snow expected in some areas of the Park.  Good grief!!!  I decided that my trip to Canyon was off and I unloaded my car, repacked a bag with items I would need for 2 - 3 days and I headed off through the Park to West Yellowstone for my Orientation tomorrow morning.  I did not want to wait in case the snow piled up deeper on the roads and I would have to travel to West Yellowstone via Bozeman.
Swan Lake Flat
 I was relieved to see that the wind wasn't blowing when I got up to Swan Lake Flat.  In fact I followed a snowplow across the flat until I turned around at the other end and I was on my own.  Luckily it wasn't snowing much after Swan Lake and the roads varied between snow covered, open pavement and slush.
Road by Lower Twin Lake
 It was about the area of Roaring Mountain that I came across more falling snow.  The temperature was hovering at 28 degrees and I could tell by the pinging noise the snow made when it hit my windshield that it could easily become a rain/sleet if the temp rose a degree or two.  This was about the time that my windshield wipers went completely haywire.  They started slamming into each other and the rubber on the drivers side started coming off at the end of the blade.  I ended up stopped three different times to shove the passenger blade down into its normal position and thread the rubber strip back into its proper place on the drivers side.  Sigh.
Bison by Madison
 I noticed an obvious absence of wildlife on my way to West Yellowstone.  I didn't even see anything until I got to Gibbon Meadows and there it was only a handful of bison.  It wasn't until I got to Madison that I saw larger herds of bison and one lonely coyote run across the road.
Madison River

Elk on the Madison River
And eventually I saw some elk laying by the Madison River.  Last year as I headed to orientation on April 9 I came across huge herds of healthy bison walking the road and now there was only a pitiful few.   It took me two hours to get to West Yellowstone from Mammoth.  I am now staying at the Holiday Inn and I am enjoying the incredibly fast Internet here.  Small joys!

Tomorrow is the day that I meet some of my new employees, Monday there will more coming.  A snowy West Yellowstone will greet them in the morning and an even snowier Canyon will greet them tomorrow afternoon..........that is if the road is open for admin travel.