"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, June 26, 2011

Sylvan Lake

North Fork of the Shoshone River

 The North Fork of the Shoshone

Sylvan Lake    June 26, 2011

Sylvan Lake   July 15, 2009
I am still seeing bears, and lots of them.  They seem to make an appearance everywhere I go.  And thinking about it I have seen more grizzly bears than I have seen elk calves.  Of course there are elk calves in the Park I just haven't been in the areas that they are.  The last elk calf I saw was in the mouth of a grizzly.  I also seem to come across the bighorn sheep.  I see them constantly in the canyon on my way to Gardiner and on Sylvan Pass.  The bison have made their way back to Hayden Valley this past month but even so the herd is much smaller than last year.  I did get to watch a mama bison jogging down the road with its tiny baby by her side the other morning.  The calves little legs were moving like cartoon legs in its attempt to keep up to its mother.

I also think I have hit every bison/bear/wolf jam that has happened between Mammoth and Lake - or so it seems. The jams give me the opportunity to organize my cd case.  I have moved on from my 'caught in a jam' car cleaning moments.

There are some things that some may not consider when thinking about someone living in Yellowstone year-round.  Besides the lack of cellular phone and internet service in a vast majority of the area there is also medical services to consider.  There are wonderful seasonal clinics in Lake and Old Faithful and a year-round clinic at Mammoth.  Employees in the Park have a mandatory deduction taken from their checks for Medcor, the Park's medical provider.  This gives the employees a sort of medical insurance that is used only at the Park's clinics.  And I used mine last week when I developed a case of the flu.  I recovered and I also gained a primary physician here at Mammoth.  Finally, after over two years, when I go to the dentist I can fill in that line where it asks for the name of my primary physician. 

Park employees here are also given the opportunity to purchase medical helicopter transport insurance.  Though you may see 'villages' in Yellowstone no one should be lulled into the idea that Yellowstone is anything other than wilderness.  A wilderness that at times can be congested, but wilderness none the less.  Ambulance transport out of here on winding roads through bear/bison/wolf jams is not an option during emergencies.  The  sound of medical helicopters is a common occurance here. 

I am spending a lazy Sunday afternoon taking care of all the things that I didn't get a chance to get to these past few weeks.  I finally was able to check my e-mail after neglecting it for over three weeks.  After wading through 268 messages (does that darn Facebook really have to notify me everytime someone posts something on my wall) I finally narrowed my messages down to the important ones (thanks everyone who wrote to me!).  

Between loads of laundry I am also doing a bit of baking (a new passion) and with a lack of eggs I knew what I had to do - a trip to the Food Farm in Gardiner.  I took a few deep breaths, a few deep knee bends and stretched and loosened my muscles and headed out to my next challenge:  a left turn in Mammoth.  Taking a left turn in Mammoth is not for the faint of heart or an inexperienced Yellowstone driver.  And it is not for the impatient.  I could hear the beat of my heart and the tick of the clock as I waited for a break in the traffic hoping in desperation that it would also coincide with a break in the pedestrians.  Chances are it does not coincide. When I finally made my turn my next hope was that I could find a parking spot at the store.  I did.