"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, February 25, 2010

The Swarm

Here is a special message to Dave: I have been informed by Jackie that you will be joining the YGS family and will be working with me at the Adventure Store in Canyon this summer. I'm looking forward to a great summer there.
I have been getting a bit antsy lately. When I get off work it is noticeably lighter outside. But it lasts just long enough for me to take a short drive with some light. The elk have been hanging out in Mammoth. Yesterday Connie and I watched a female run up the hill by the store only to watch her bounce (literally bounce) back down the hill 2 minutes later with two young bulls behind her. She seemed to be a bit of a tease as she ran much faster toward the boys than away from them. The bulls stopped for a few seconds to butt heads together before they continued on their pursuit of the vixen.
I have heard numerous reports of the Gardiner wolf pack roaming through Mammoth. One local saw them by the corrals at 9:30 the other night and one person saw at least one wolf by the Entrance Station as they drove into the Park. Two days ago as I went home for lunch I felt eyes on me. When I turned around I found Big Boy was across the road standing below a tree. I've been waiting for the bison to make their way into the Yak. I stopped for a few moments the other day to watch the elk herd run on Capital Hill. 3 people had climbed to the top and surprised the herd which immediately swarmed off at full run. They reminded me of a flock of birds that fly in unison (such as the ones I watched in Hayden Valley this summer). The elk were running toward the road and all I could see was a sheet of brown with 100 legs only to have them all turn away leaving me with a view of tan rumps. I've also heard of some bear sightings near Gardiner and bear tracks in the snow east of here.
The temps have dropped this past week. It has been in the 20's during the day and mostly cloudy with a few peaks of sunshine. We've had a few flakes falling during the day but nothing that covers the ground. Snowplowing will be starting on March 8, the same day that the Mammoth Hotel closes. There is plenty of winter left but I am really looking forward to spring.