"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, July 7, 2011

4th of July in Yellowstone

6 Foot Sub to celebrate the 4th at the Mammoth General Store
Independence Day in Yellowstone was nothing less than spectacular.  Though I had to work I enjoyed the day.  The Mammoth General Store spent their lunch hour feasting on a 6 foot sub and part of their work day helping guests who were spending the 4th of July in Yellowstone.  Though visitation is down from the previous couple of years it was a wonderful day watching happy people relaxing on their vacations and experiencing the wonders of Yellowstone.
I got to partake in a Lake Village tradition:  the 4th of July Parade.  It is the only location in Yellowstone that has a parade and I proudly participated by sitting in the Resource Management vehicle that hauled the live bear trap.  And who was following us?  The Delaware North vehicle with Sandy, Cathy, Josh and a few other DNC employees.  We were all in the spirit of the day.
Bill, Patrick, Mitch and Bill
While Patrick drove the vehicle and Bill manned the PA system I was supposed to be in charge of the sirens.  However, nothing goes as planned.  Bill is a genius at entertaining those who lined the parade route, and even though I have somehow mastered the act of chewing gum and walking I could not work the siren and laugh at the same time.  No, there was not a pair of chipmunks in the bear trap, yes there was a spare tire in the bear trap.  And the siren........well, not so much a siren sound but the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard.  So while I laughed, took pictures and listened to those singing along the parade route (which was lead by a cardboard cutout of Michael Jordan in Margie's truck) Patrick drove the truck, watched out for the elk antlers attached to the side of the truck adorned with red, white and blue balloons that could snag a visitors and worked the 'Dumb and Dumber Most Annoying Sound Ever' siren (this was a unanimous vote amongst Mitch, Bill and myself) I laughed.  
Bill on the PA system convincing the crowds to sing

The parade in front of the Lake Lodge

The parade in front of Lake Hotel
For future reference, while in Yellowstone National Park on the 4th of July please watch the Lake Village parade.  As always, this parade was followed by the Medcor potlock:  hotdogs, casseroles (or hotdishes if you are from Minnesota)) and Wilcoxson's Ice Cream.  The barbecues needed to be moved a couple of times since a helicopter was coming in to transport a patient.

And since I mentioned this in my previous blog about buying helicopter insurance I need to mention that an employee of Mammoth was extremely grateful for purchasing this insurance.  He needed to be transported to the Idaho Falls Hospital via an airlift this past Friday.  This ended in a positive way but it reinforced the idea that working in Yellowstone and purchasing helicopter insurance was indeed an excellent idea. 

This also a good time to reiterate the theme of Yellowstone Delaware North employees:  we are not only employees but we are family.  Even though we may only work together for a few months a year we care deeply about each other and form life-long friendships.  I came face-to-face with this fact this past week.  My dear friend Jackie left to go back home to Branson , Missouri for an excellent job opportunity.  Jackie, her husband John, and myself started together over two years ago at Canyon and we have been friends ever since.  My loss of my good friends in Yellowstone hit me hard.  Though I live in Yellowstone year-round most of my friends are seasonal employees and I often wonder at the end of the summer season if I will ever see them again.  I have lost friends to death (Barney and Mickey), moving on from temporary jobs (Grant Village) and saw friends leave to find national park employment elsewhere.  My wish for all seasonal Delaware North employees that I have come to know is that we will all meet again. After all, we are family.

I miss you Jackie and John!  Good luck in your new position.  And I will be here waiting for your visit, in Yellowstone National Park.