"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

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lucky Indeed

 Please excuse any typos or gibberish.  At this point in the game I am basically just dragging my fingertips across the keyboard with hopes that something coherent comes out of my attempt.  This season is drawing to a close and with 10 hour work days my energy levels are depleting.  We have had excellent weather until last week.  The change in the seasons came with winter weather advisories, snow/rain/sleet, and road closures through the Park.  Just today the Comm. Center called me four times with road closures notifications.  I had a rare evening of being able to make it to Lake and I left there this morning at 6:30 driving through rain, snow and slushy roads.  Yet there is an excitement to seeing the change in seasons.  And that excitement is in direct relation to my new winter wardrobe that I've been dying to wear.  

The last of the Mammoth employees will be leaving this weekend.  And then there were four.  Number five, Andrea, will be coming for the winter but will not be here until the Adventure Store closes on November 6.  Our first Taco Tuesday will be November 8.  

Though my new friends will be leaving I did get the opportunity to visit with some old friends.  Jay and Cassie (Adventure Store 2010 -- Cassie was our Huckleberry Lady) were heading back to the east coast after a summer at Glacier National Park.  Lee (Adventure Store 2010 & 2011), Andrea and myself met them for dinner in Bozeman last Sunday.   It was so great to see them again. 

This past Saturday I went to Lake to help Patrick with his winter move to Mammoth.  October is a wonderful month to be in the Park.  After a summer filled with bison and bear jams, and with only glances out the car window on my part, I finally took the opportunity to do some wildlife viewing.  Mammoth has been an elk bonanza and I see them on a regular basis.  A mountain lion was even seen behind the Mammoth Hotel last week and mountain goats are a regular by Golden Gate (yet I have still havent' seen them - pout!).  But that Saturday I decided to take my time driving and actually use my camera.  

My first encounter was with a grizzly bear that ran in front of my car by Otter Creek.  I reach in the backseat and grab my trusty camera.  Unfortunately my camera strap was entwined with some stuff that came flying into the front seat with the camera.  I missed that shot.  Luckily I saw another bear just past Mud Volcano....and I really can't believe that I actually saw it.  I casually looked out my window to the east and noticed a black dot on the other side of the river.  I knew it was a bear.  I headed down to Nez Perce Ford just in time to see the bear right across the river.

Though I can't be sure but this inky black grizzly bear looked just like the bear I had photographed in this same area two years ago.....and nearly to the day.  After months and months of traveling this same road I can't tell you how nice it is to finally be able to take the time to watch the wildlife without battling traffic and hordes of tourists.  

So the cat's out of the bag.  October is a great month to visit Yellowstone.  However, with temperamental weather conditions it can also be a big gamble.  I'm not much of a gambler so its a lucky thing that I live here and outside my backdoor can be either a bear, an elk, a bison or even a mountain lion.  I'm lucky indeed.