Sometimes I imagine how people react or think when they are reading what I write here. This would be a good time to mention that the following post is best read with the Rocky theme "Eye of the Tiger" playing softly through your head. I have just come from possibly the most challenging time of the past two years that I have spent in Yellowstone. I have had to rely on things that I have learned in the 'outside world' to help me through. First I should mention that in approx. 1997 I was involved in an accident on a trampoline that:
1. I am lucky that I survived
2. I am lucky that I am not a quadriplegic
3. made me realize that I am not invincible
In the accident I somehow bounced out of control and landed on my head. When I was able to move my extremities I believed that I was ok. It wasn't until years later after enduring extreme neck and shoulder pain and the progressive pain and loss of sensation in my hands that I realized that I had did a great deal of damage. I had ruptured two of the discs in my neck and they were causing pressure on my nerves and I eventually had neck surgery to remove the ruptured discs and have them replaced with cadaver bone and metal rods. I eventually ended up at the Courage Center in Minneapolis in a 3 week in-patient Chronic Pain Clinic. It was there that my world started to change. After much work I changed from a self-proclaimed couch potato riddled with pain to ending up in Yellowstone working very hard and becoming the manager of the Mammoth General Store. Though I am relatively pain-free at this time stress, as with anyone, can be a physical enemy.
With a change in management and new employees coming into the store and unexpected schedule changes I found myself, as well as others, in a position where stress can take a toll. Using with what I had learned at the Courage Center I took a deep breath, let out the stress and said to myself: "This is the situation, what are you going to do now?" Don't let the weight of the world consume you. Consume the world!
I have been consuming a lot of snow lately. The weather has decided to stay in winter mode. This past week has alternated between rain and snow. Dunraven Pass did not open for Memorial Day Weekend as it has done in the past. At this time there is no opening date set. Sylvan Pass has only been open from 8:00 pm until 10:00 am because of avalanche danger. And Beartooth Pass did not open, either. On Thursday morning all roads in the Park, except from Mammoth to Cooke City, were closed because of snow and on Friday the road from Old Faithful to West Thumb to Lake was closed because of snow and ice. And on Friday a mud slide blocked the road from Mammoth to Tower. Winter will not stop.
I did manage to take some time to travel to Lake on Saturday evening to see Patrick. He had been at training in Cody during the week and spent a few nights at his cabin in Wapiti. He had to wait until Saturday night at 8:00 to travel over Sylvan Pass to get back to Lake. On my way down I managed to see a grizzly just north of Roaring Mountain. Most of Sunday had snowflakes falling at Lake and Canyon. It wasn't until I traveled back to near Mammoth that I got out of the snow but there I was met with fog and haziness. More snow is expected for tomorrow. I have spent the past seven months in snowfall. What am I going to do now? Enjoy the beauty of the snow. This I have no control over.