"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, September 1, 2011

Goodbye Summer

Here I sit wondering just where the time went.  It is September 1, the summer is just about over and so much is left to be done.  Granted, I have done some fun things this summer but I feel like I have neglected so much on my list of "Things To Do During The Summer of 2011".  But there really is plenty of items to cross off my list, such as:  camping, fishing, having a picnic, seeing Old Faithful erupt, boating on Yellowstone Lake, hiking, Pig Races, visiting the Bighorn Mountains, etc.  So what is left on this list?  Visiting the Grand Tetons, zip line, white water rafting, more hiking, more picnics, etc.  If I could gaze into a crystal ball I am sure I can see all those activities in my future.  Maybe not this year but there are plenty of years in Yellowstone to come to accomplish all that and more.

With the bison rut coming to an end I am making my way through Hayden Valley with much less sighing on my part.  The jams are smaller and farther apart.  My trips from Mammoth to Lake have taken as long as three hours this summer but I am now able to do it in the normal 1 1/4 hours.  Occasionally I find myself in a jam but nothing of the magnitude of earlier jams.  I often thought it would be interesting to have a stopwatch where I could see how much time I spend sitting in jams during a one year time period.  Or maybe I may not want to know.  I do admit that of all jams I have enjoyed the bison rut jams the most.  I roll down my window and listen to the bellowing of the males as they keep their lady loves separated from the rest of the herd or watch as they roll in their wallows or paw at the ground.  Aaaaah, bison lust.

And now I look forward to elk rut.  I heard my first high pitched screech of an elk in Mammoth the other day.  The elk were in front of the store this morning grazing on the grass and I am looking forward to the bull elk moving in and displaying their machoness.  
And as you may have heard, there has been a second death due to a grizzly mauling in Yellowstone this summer.  It happened last week on Mary Mountain Trail and the west side of Hayden Valley has been closed to hiking.  It is a very sad situation indeed.  

The winter crew for the Mammoth General Store has been chosen and I am looking forward to an incredible winter.  The crew will include Andrea, Faye (current Floor Supervisor at Mammoth), Connie, Jerry (current Custodian at Mammoth) and myself.  What a GREAT group!  This will be Faye's and Jerry's first winter working in Yellowstone and both are looking forward to serving up some of those famous Taco Tuesday tacos.

There is currently a few fires in the Park because of lightening strikes and dry conditions but there was a nip to the air today that reminds me that fall is right around the corner.  Snow flurries are possible at higher elevations but fall can be temperature temperamental.  Cold one day, hot the next.  Last fall was beautiful and warm and then the snows came.  What is in store this year?  I have not a clue.  But the cooler temps remind me (as do the store schedules) that it is time for so many of the employees to move on to their next adventure.  Over 50% of the Mammoth General Store employees will be leaving on September 6.  It's that time of the year to say goodbye to so many people.  It's hard.  The next exodus from the store will be October 16.  Then all that will be left is five.

I am blessed.  I have met and worked with some of the most incredible people I have ever known.  Yellowstone is filled with incredible beauty, incredible opportunities and incredible people. 

Goodbye summer, hello fall.