"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, September 25, 2011

Horseback Riding in the Gallatin Mountains

All my pictures from my latest adventure are on my phone.  And even though I have all the 'technology thingys' to get them from my phone to my computer I just can't seem to master that art.  Thus, the pictures remain on my phone and you must use your minds-eye to imagine me astride a beautiful white steed striding me off into the sunset amongst the beautiful backdrop of the Gallatin Mountains.  In other words, I rode a horse and my butt is killing me!

Andrea and I knocked off one more item on our list on Friday.  We went to Skyline Ranch at Cooke City for a 2 hour horseback ride that took us on a 6 mile mountain journey.  It was just the two of us and our guide, Luke.  What an incredible and fun experience.  I spent most my time mounted on Sage (Andrea rode Jimmy) scanning the beauty and looking for any bear activity (always on alert!).  We didn't see any wildlife, only the occasional rustle of brush which eventually resulted in us breathing a sigh of relief when we realized that it was only Susie, the ranch's border collie, prancing along with us. 

A couple of moments sent us into fits of laughter.  One was when we were on a narrow trail next to a drop off.  I spent most of my time in that area at nearly a 45 degree angle to Sage.  I was sure I could lean that horse into staying on the trail and not plunging down the rock slope.  I really didn't need to worry, Sage spent most of his time looking at the trail.  The moments that he looked away I would calmly tell Sage to look where he was going.

The second laughter moment was when Jimmy decided he wanted to turn around and take Andrea back instead of continuing on down the trail with us.  Andrea spent some time trying to turn Jimmy back but ended up spending a few minutes circling around a tree.  Andrea eventually won.
Mammoth has been filled with elk activity.  The bulls have been bugling all night.  I repeat:  ALL NIGHT.  I remember those days, not long ago, that I couldn't wait to hear that autumn sound of bugling elk.  Ok, I've heard it.  And I wish they would observe bugling curfew.  8:00 pm:  it's a wonderful sound.  2:00 am:  it's.......well, kind of annoying.  Especially when there is work in the morning.  But when it is over I know I will once again yearn for that sound so I should muster up the early, early morning energy to appreciate it even then.  

I do appreciate the fact that I'm incredibly lucky to have such things happen right where I live and work.  And the end result of all this commotion will be all those Mammoth baby elk in the spring.  I guess I can live with the fact that I will be awaken numerous times a night to some bugling when in the future I will be squealing over those babies.

I have not been able to take my evening trips to Lake as often as I would have liked to lately.  The store went to 'short hours' (9:00 - 6:00) and with the sun setting earlier and earlier in the evening I haven't had time to make it there before sunset.  Patrick surprised me earlier this week with a trip to Mammoth to see me.  He made me dinner and we spent the evening watching Mildred Pierce (working our way through old classic movies).  

A couple of weeks ago Patrick presented me with a Kindle.  Joy, oh joy!  This is the best invention ever (followed by a close second with Mt Dew)!  Being at Lake at the time I went to the nearest location with cell service so that I could register it using the 3G network.  And that is how I ended up at Steamboat Point registering the Kindle.  In Mammoth I can use the wireless internet to get all sorts of great books.   I am having a ball loading all the free books that I can.  I have an assortment of classics (The Scarlet Letter was my first book followed by Little Women) to books on Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt to thrillers (Dracula and Frankenstein).   I am an avid reader when I have the time and I at one point in my life had nearly 2,000 books.   With winter coming I will put this Kindle to great use.

This week 4 more employees will be leaving Mammoth General Store.  Saying good-bye is something that I do but do not relish doing.  My friends at Canyon General will be leaving this coming Friday.  Another season is coming to an end.  I am here year-round but so many that I get to work with and people I form friendships with are seasonal.  They leave to go home or on to other locations to work for the winter.  An amazing thing happens here in Yellowstone.  Friendships that are formed are not seasonal friendships but they are forever friendships.  We may drift apart in miles but we are forever entwined by Yellowstone.