Sunday, June 30, 2013

Just Can't be On the Road Again!

Saturday 06/29/2013

Today is my nephew's birthday. It's also the day my friend Marsha, who is in her fifties, is getting married for the first time. So happy for her!

I went to K's ranger led hike again because it's beautiful and it's good exercise (2.3 miles). This way, I can hike in a group! What a difference the weather makes in the ranger's pace! Last week, it was cloudy and threatening rain and he was really booking it! I didn't realize it because that was my first experience on that trail. This week was sunny and and he was sauntering. In fact, it's called the Storm Point Saunter.

K got off work early so we could get out of the park. We left at 3:20 p.m. and got to our destination at 11:00 p.m. So many miles! What?

I haven't kept track of my miles this summer, however, I do know these two statistics: I have ENTERED Yellowstone National Park 8 times this year. I have SLEPT in Yellowstone National Park 16 nights this year. You do the math. I have got to stop running around and stay put for a few days!

YELL Day 14

Friday 06/28/2013
Headstone shopping. That's what we did today. It's really crazy trying to pick out a grave marker for your mom's grave. Fortunately, my sister and Leo were there to help! She did all the driving today and we all met in Great Falls. It took about an hour to look, discuss, decide, and pay. They will email a drawing and we can get that sent out to all the siblings.

Afterward, the three of us met at Boston's for lunch. I had pasta. Then we headed to the home town to close out Mom's PO Box (a sentimental task for me...). The post office was closed for their noon hour, so my sister and I went to Sunset Hills to look around and felt good about our decisions for the grave marker.

Turns out I left my checkbook at the post office and got a call from my credit union when we were, oh, 25-30 miles down the road a piece. My dear sister patiently turned around and took me all the way back to retrieve it.

On the way back to the post office, we saw a black cow in a green field with a placenta hanging out of her. Sounds yucky I know, but it was actually a beautiful sight with her little black calf on the ground while she looked at it and sniffed it. Seems late in the season for a calf, but I was happy for her. When we passed by again, she was licking her baby. Some calves are forced from the warmth of their mother's body and dumped out on hard packed snow in below freezing temperatures in February. This one was born on soft grass on a hot June day. Good luck, you two. I hope all is well.

We got back to my sister's place and I literally stepped out of her car and into mine, making a beeline for the park. All this driving! I stopped at Wheat Montana to get treats for K.

YELL Day 13

Thursday 06/27/2013

Sadly, no pics. I left early to drive to my sister's place in Montana. I spent the afternoon with her and her grandchildren at the community pool. It was fun! For two little girls, ages 6 and 4, it was only their second experience ever in a pool. I was able to teach them a couple of confidence building things to the point where they were jumping off the side of the pool so I could "catch" them. The little four year old jumped and I pulled her up when she went under and she loved it exclaiming, "Now YOU jump and I'll catch YOU!" I had to let her know that wouldn't work.

My sister is a wonderful cook. Outstanding. She gave me leftovers for lunch which were divine scalloped potatoes and ham. After swimming, she took us all for ice cream. And then for dinner, she grilled ribeye steaks and served those with twice baked potatoes, asparagus, and watermelon. Oh, and there was a great salad with greens, tomatoes, shrimp, and sunflower seeds. Her husband had a long day at work outside doing hard labor in really hot temperatures. Still, he'll never know how lucky he is to have someone like my sister cooking those wonderful meals for him every night.

My sister has six dogs and two cats in her house. I won't enumerate all of the outside animals. Their dogs are the sweetest, nicest, most loving animals you could ever hope to meet. I may have said this before, but if you are one of the really lucky pets born to this world, then you have my sister to nurture you throughout your life. The peacocks screamed occasionally but consistently until the sun went down. They sound like cats in distress.

YELL Day 12

Wednesday 06/26/2013. It is taking me forever to read Les Miserables. I am enjoying it, but it seems my progress is slow. I read a wonderful talk by President Eyring this morning. I need to reach out more to others in service.

K and I cleaned the livingroom together and cleaned the sofa bed in our couch by vacuuming with the attachments, etc. We found thirty cents in coins left by a former resident, so I guess that was our reward. We did laundry, recycled, reported our kitchen leak to maintenance, and walked around the neighborhood, bear pepper spray in hand at all times. He went to work at 2:00 p.m. again because he was evening program again. I drove out to Pumice Point and found better cell service (three bars). I did some research on getting a headstone for Mom's grave.

At 5:00 p.m., I went to Fishing Bridge for the River Reflections talk, K's first this season. As usual, he did a great job and there was a nice pelican flying around and showing off nicely, which enhanced the whole experience for the visitors. I went to his EP at Bridge Bay and when he introduced himself and mentioned it was his first season working at Yellowstone, the audience of 101 people applauded. That's the spirit!

YELL Day 11

Tuesday 06/25/2013

We slept in. I read while K sorted through some maps, books, and papers. We had gospel study together. We made grilled Swiss cheese for lunch and then he was on duty at 2:00 p.m. I proceeded to "deep clean" the kitchen which revealed a nasty leak under the kitchen sink. I also read a lot on my Kindle. I made taco soup and orange rolls for K's lunch break at 7:00 p.m.--he loved it because it's been cold and rainy today! He went back to work and I drove out to Mary Bay for cell service that isn't that great (one bar). Then I went to K's evening program at 9:30 p.m. at Fishing Bridge. The weather started to clear so he didn't have to cancel. I love his theme! K's boss sat by me and took lots of notes. She said she hopes he comes back next year.

I'm having a hard time getting myself to hike alone in Yellowstone because it's "against the rules" sort of. An employee was approached near our home by a grizzly recently while hiking alone, so even though I carry bear spray, I guess I just don't want to risk it. A black bear had to be put down at Canyon on Saturday after approaching two people who were eating at their picnic table. He got within six feet of them and they backed off. The bear naturally started eating their food and that was the end of that bear. I guess I'll stick to the ranger led hikes and guided walks. Come visit us and hike with me! A bear has never approached a party with more than three people.

YELL Day 10

Monday 06/24/2013. We made a little camping friend, Jayla, age 6. That child knows no strangers. She was friends with the entire campground. She asked us if we had a son or daughter for her to play with. When we left, we gave her some candy (with her mom's permission, of course). She begged us to stay another night. When we told her we couldn't, she threw her arms around my belly and said, "Love you!"

We drove the entire Beartooth Highway today, oh MY! It was EXQUISITE! We ran into a good storm up on top (10,900 feet) with lightning, sleet, and a temperature of 34 degrees. We walked around at various pullouts and had a nice gentle experience with meeting a deer--she didn't mind us and we didn't mind her--share the forest and play nice. We drove up Slough Creek back in the park and spied an antelope who at first seemed to be alone. However, there were some little tips of little ears poking up behind her and that's when we were able to see her little antelope baby. It was a treat!


Sunday 06/23/2013

We left early Sunday morning to drive the two hours to Church. There was so much mist and fog along the river. We attended the Gardiner Branch in Montana and met some of the folks there. Turns out, K was already buddies with Amanda Brown because she helped process him and his paper work at Mammoth. She approached saying, "You look SO familiar!"

After Church we drove toward Red Lodge and found a wonderful camping spot, our first campout of 2013. K asked, "Are you surprised it's in Montana?" We had foil dinners and the temperatures were perfect. Our view of the super moon was limited due to the number of lodge pole pines, but we stayed up for it. K used the axe my dad gave him to chop would for the fire. He commented about that axe, "What a gift!"

Simple Gifts.

Attending Ranger Programs

Saturday 06/22/2013

I have the opportunity to attend a lot of ranger programs. K has the opportunity to present a lot of ranger programs. He hates it when I take pictures of him in action, but you know, I decided to post some of those pictures anyway. I attended his 10:00 a.m. ranger led hike to Storm Point and I also attended his 2:00 p.m. Featured Creature program about moose.

The hike begins at Indian Pond and then goes through the meadow, into the trees, along the lake shore, to the beach, and back through the forest and meadow. There's a contingency of marmots living in their fortress of rock palaces near the lake and they are characters. Always a big hit with the visitors (rodents, seriously, are the most photographed wildlife in the history of the universe!)! I had to chuckle to myself at one of our stops. As K was interpreting (speaking), a marmot popped up and seemed to be hanging on the ranger's every word, listening intently. And some of them whistle pretty loudly. The hike is a 2.3 mile loop. It spit on us at times, but the real rain held off until we got back to our cars.

YELL Day 9

If you'll look at the picture carefully, especially at the bottom center, you might see evidence that we did indeed burn a bison chip at our Summer Solstice party out back. Ranger Lydia, from Maryland, just picked it up and said something like, "They say these things burn...let's try it!" It was a chilly rainy day and the kick off to summer almost didn't happen, but going with the idea that "if you build it (the fire), they will come" we got a grand total of seven people out there with a variety of foods to share: chips and salsa, cookies, pineapple upside down cake, hot dogs, smores, and homemade pizza. It was fun to chat with people and get to know them better and hear their amazing stories. Rangers are interesting creatures. Wes told about working in Alaska and how a tourist got off her cruise ship and started petting his beard. He was also attacked by a goshawk once. Shaun piped up with, "I made a really awesome fire poker in the blacksmith shop once!" He used to work at another park where he was able to such "crafts" as blacksmithing and basketry (in fact, he's working on a basket in his apartment now!).

Earlier in the day I drove. I drove from Idaho back into the park. I unpacked the car. I cleaned. I made food for the party. I was very tired. That's how Day 9 of Summer Vacation went down on Friday 06/21/2013!

YELL Day 8

Thursday 06/20/2013

No, there are no pictures for this particular day of summer vacation. I woke up in Utah this morning having "run home" for some important things we left behind. I did laundry, checked the mail, went to the eye doctor, baked cookies...and left.

Somewhere in the middle of that I managed to take lunch to a friend who has been battling illness. It was about a two hour visit and I loved it! It's so nice having a moment to give a teeny bit of service. Truly, the greater blessing came to me.

Ran to Idaho and slept at Suzette's. She is so good about saying, "Anytime!" Surely she must be tired of washing the sheets for me. I love seeing her and visiting with her. And she feeds me breakfast. I don't know if I can ever grow up to be like her one day, but that would certainly be a worthy goal to have. She is wonderful!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

YELL Day 7

I left the park today to retrieve some very much needed items we both forgot to grab from home. Am finally seeing some "red dogs" which are the baby bison. So far it's been a lot of bulls, but it looks like some cows and babies are headed to Hayden Valley at last. There must be some secret bison message system that lets all of them know when and where to show up for their gatherings. I have learned that the female horns don't curve so much--more straight. The male horns are curvier, little devils that they are!

YELL Day 6

Tuesday 18 June 1013...

Here's my friend, Sacagawea (or some still say Sacajawea, but I've been taught). We visited...don't quite know the proper name of it...perhaps Buffalo Bill Historic Center...but anyway, it's the big huge five-in-one musuem in Cody, Wyoming. It's very nice! The five parts of the museum are: Firearms, Western Art, Plains Indians, Buffalo Bill, and Natural History. Both the Smithsonian and National Geographic have special exhibits there. The firearms museum alone has over 2700 firearms on display. I noticed that part of the musuem had the most "I need a break" seating and I did spy some wives dozing and/or yawning while their husbands knocked themselves out.

K got to eat lunch at his beloved Taco John's. I survived. Somehow. Then I ended up beating him at miniature golf. This was our very first time ever playing mini golf with each other! K couldn't believe it asking, "Didn't we go to Trafalga once?" I said, "Nope, you must be thinking of some other girl..."

We did some photo developing and some shopping and then we ate at Bubba's Bar-B-Q (nice salad bar!). Then we headed back to the park to attend a program at Bridge Bay about the park service and its history.

YELL Day 5

Monday 17 June 2013...

K had to be interviewed (yes, on his day off) by a federal agent as part of his major background check. After that, we took off on a little weekend trip! We stopped at the Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone as well as the Brink of the Upper Falls. We drove through Lamar Valley which was rich with green and bison and antelope and other things unseen. We had a great picnic lunch with homemade potato salad and cold cherries. We hiked to and around Trout Lake and witnessed the cutthroat trout spawning. So MUCH energy in the water! We drove the whole Chief Joseph Highway--spectacular! We cooked Manwich/sloppy joes on our campstove for dinner.

It was a beautiful day with a wonderful man and I am grateful for all these experiences!

Cell Service at Mary Bay

Sunday (06/16/2013)

K had to work today. It's 5.5 miles to Mary Bay where we can get some cell service. So that's 11 miles round trip. You never know what you'll see out that way so I always have my camera handy. A common visitor questions is, "When are you guys gonna clean up all them dead trees?" The answer is, "Never." I think they make beautiful lines in the photograph. There was another storm coming in over Yellowstone Lake. And then back at the ranch, more bison. This time they were in the front--one to the left of my car and another to the right!

We went to Church at 7:00 p.m. over at Lake Lodge. We learned that we are part of the Old Faithful Branch which is part of the Ashton Idaho Stake. The stake sends speakers every single week. It's kind of like "church in a suitcase." Everything they need packs up and gets stored in a closet. Still, it was great to worship and partake of the Sacrament.