"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, April 17, 2011

The Lucky 9

Canyon Village:  Snow and so much more!
 After 330 posts you may think that I would run out of things to say.  Living and working in Yellowstone is an ongoing and evolving process.  No two days are alike and though I may have seen so many of the sights during these past two years I tend to look at them anew with each passing.  I still notice things that I had never seen before even though my travels have taken me past those sites hundreds of times.  I may know every "bear rock" between Canyon and Mammoth but sometimes I will notice that a thermal feature has puffs of steam that are only noticed in the cool mornings, or that there is a rock or tree that has an interesting shape or twist.  But since day one of my voyages through the Park I have known where every single restroom is!  There are just some things that are too worthwhile not to notice.
Road between Canyon and Norris

 Since this picture was taken last week the road between Canyon and Norris has been plowed to two lanes.  It was uncertain if the road would have been open in time for last Friday's park opening but with a lot of hard work the road was plowed wider.  It is unimaginable to someone who has not seen the road clearing process to totally comprehend how much time and effort goes into clearing the roads.  The initial clearing can be nearly obliterated by heavy snowfalls afterward.  It can be a constant battle to keep the roads clear.

This morning as I came to Canyon from Mammoth I found that Blanding Hill had a couple inches of snow on it.  Normally this may not be anything of concern.  But this is Blanding Hill!  And with the temp at 31 degrees the snow had a slight melt to it and though I started off at 40 mph going up the hill I could tell I was losing my momentum.  Any pressure I put to my gas pedal would start my car sliding back and forth.  After a few minutes of telling my vehicle that it could indeed make it up a slushy Blanding Hill it finally made the crest.  So even a couple inches of snow can make travel through the interior a heart-pounding experience.  So please drive carefully through the Park. 
This little coyote bounded down the road in front of my vehicle south of Swan Lake Flats.  He ran and ran and ran until he finally decided to make a quick exit and jump over the snow.

A tired and exhausted bison who decided to lay in the road by the Madison River.
Us at the Adventure Store spent the entire week preparing the store for the opening of the Park last Friday.  What a great feeling it was to have the guests coming into the store with the excitement of visiting Yellowstone.  There was a lot of happy faces (both employee and guest), fun conversations and stories of wildlife sightings.  And a couple of Adventure Store employees had their own wildlife sightings.  Last Thursday Aaron saw a huge grizzly between Uncle Tom's Trail and Artist Point while Nancy and Jerry saw one last Wednesday afternoon across from Mud Volcano.  The rest of us have yet to see one but are in great anticipation of our first grizzly viewings for 2011.

We are also all feeling a little more at home now.  We finally have Internet access ( I wasn't able to check my e-mail for 11 days), but that sometimes is unavailable during snowy days.  And after checking my e-mail I should send out a big Yellowstone Hello to Jerry, Dave and Debra!!  Thanks for contacting me!  Unfortunately our cell phone connections have been giving us problems.   I can sometimes catch a bar on my phone if I stand on a bench in front of the store and hold my phone over my head.  Obviously this something I am only willing to do before or after the store closes.  And since our phones are constantly searching for a signal we all seem to drain our batteries in a day.  I guess that is all a minor inconvenience when you consider where we live.  We are the 9 (Nancy, Jerry, Josh, Lee, Aaron, Kem, Becky, Jim, and myself) luckiest people who get to experience the snows of winter/spring and the sun of summer in Canyon Village at the Adventure Store in Yellowstone National Park.  Enough said.