Thursday, July 18, 2013

YELL Day 27

No photos can click out of here now.

Annual physical (love my doc), Thai cuisine for lunch, a little shopping, photos printed, went to my classroom (key still works!), Jimmy John's for dinner, a little service, great conversation with a great friend via the old-fashioned way (phone), technology rendezvous with TR (The Ranger--he would like me to bring tortillas), and the sun has set!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

YELL Day 26

Today was a day of errands and appointments, plum full! Some were better than others. The pedicure, for instance, was very nice. The photo at the DMV...worst ever. The next five years cannot pass quickly enough until I get another crack at that!

I drove my car through the car wash and stopped off afterward to vacuum the insides with their free vacuum. Sometimes they have these Vulture-Disguised-as-a-Rock-Chip-Repairman guys hanging around. Sure enough, one approached me, yelling over the noise of the vacuum, "Good Morning!!!" It was 2:00 p.m.

Without making eye contact I said, "Hi." I was vacuuming with purpose.

I kept doing my thing (the thing of vacuuming) and he kept doing his thing (the thing of being a vulture disguised as a rock chip repairman). Pretty soon, he yelled out in a dramatically dramatic voice, "Oh NO!!!"

I still did not look up. I just kept vacuuming.

So he yelled more loudly while touching my clean windshield with his bare paws, "You have a rock chip!!!!!"

I was, ahem, finished with my vacuuming so I hung the blasted thing up, looked the guy in the eye and said, "Yeah, I know. Yesterday. I-15 in Idaho. I've already signed my life away to Techna-Glass over on Eighth North and I'm actually headed there now." (When I got the first rock chip repaired a few weeks ago, I got the lifetime warranty for rock chips and it has already paid for itself.)

Vulture Guy says, "You know, you're already here and I'm already here and your car is already parked and I can just run this through your insurance and it will be FREE!"

I looked him square in the eyes again and said with a firm tone, "It's free at the other place and they never asked for my insurance information."

Finally! He backed down just a tad, "Well, okay, let me give you my card then."

I said, quite boldly, "I don't need your card."

Did I see some feathers ruffle? I think I did.

Vulture Guy insists, "Well, this is for when you'll be needing your whole windshield replaced--not just a rock chip!"

Having become weary of the Vulture, I again looked directly at him and said in an even tone, "I will never contact you."

He rustled up a fake smile and charged over to the next person who had parked to vacuum while yelling at the top of his lungs, "Good Morning!!!" I let it go at the car wash, so I'll say it here:

"Vulture, it is TWO something o'clock in the AFTERNOON! Try a new greeting!"

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

YELL Day 25

Tuesday 07/16/2013
Today was my twenty-fifth day of summer vacation and it was a travel day! I left the park early to attend to some appointments and errands. There were a couple of bull elk grazing on the side of the road. In Idaho, there was an accident on I-15. It must have just happened because there were NO emergency personnel there yet and the cows in the pasture were staring INTENTLY at the road. You KNOW when the cows are engrossed, it's pretty bad. A guy was waving us past the pickup and thankfully, there was just enough space between the front of his truck and the guard rail on the shoulder of the road to sneak by. What a mess. I felt so bad for all involved. A semi had pulled over, so who knows. It's a high wind area, so maybe the RV and/or the semi lost control due to the wind.

I picked up our mail, started laundry, made several important phone calls (the things you can do when you're near civilization!), and promptly crashed on our bed. I did manage to get my visiting teaching done this evening thanks to some flexible women in the neighborhood! And now I'm caught up on the blog!

YELL Day 24

Monday 07/15/2013

So last night, as we were getting ready to crawl into our tent, K said something funny (to me, perhaps you have to know us better or you had to be there). You see, I almost always crawl in first while he takes out his contacts in the car. I always sleep next to the tent door, so he always has to crawl over me (I don't mind). However, he happened to be all ready for bed, so he headed for the tent and so did I. He was a bit ahead and called back, "Sweetie, I'm going to crawl in first if that's okay. Just look at the moon for a couple of minutes." So I dutifully and promptly sat down on the picnic table holding my pillow, my Kindle, and my head lamp...looking at the moon. And then I started to laugh because he probably sounds like he's talking to a three year old, but his comment was just perfect for me. He knows I love the moon and the night sky and that it would keep me more than occupied until he could settle himself.

So then I got into the tent. I asked, "Did you bring bear spray?" He said, "No." I pushed, "So you're not prepared to protect us in case of attack? How many times have you given the wildlife safety message? Do you even care about my safety?" He answered, "It will be okay." And then I was able to drop my punch line, "Well, it's a good thing I brought MY bear spray!"

This morning (did I mention I'm a morning person?) I was trying to get breakfast going and K was trying to roll up his sleeping bag, etc., so I was kind of in his way at the picnic table. He's never too excited about eating breakfast, whereas, I'm perpetually starving. So, in a nice way, he asked if he could take care of his duties before I proceeded in the kitchen. He suggested, "Just listen to the birds chirp for a minute." We both laughed our heads off!

We hiked between String Lake and Leigh Lake. Lots of people were having fun with canoes. There's a short portage between the lakes due to the boulders. Then we took a boat ride on Jenny Lake. We walked up to Hidden Falls--it was lovely in the late afternoon sunlight. All good weekends must come to an end...

One Bug, Two Bug, Red Bug, Blue Bug

On Saturday, I hiked to Storm Point while K worked. Found those cool bugs. Wonder what they are. The flowers were incredibly fragrant near Indian Pond. On clear days, you can see the Tetons from Yellowstone. K got off work and we headed for Grand Teton National Park Saturday afternoon. We camped at Gros Ventre (pronounced " want"). We discovered that GRTE has an historic Mormon district called "Mormon Row." This is where that famous 100 year old Moulton barn that appears on multitudinous calendars, checkbooks, and return address labels is--with the Tetons in the background. In fact, on Sunday morning, the speakers in Church were descendents of the Moultons and told us the whole family history. You can go to the fundraiser this Saturday to help get that barn restored so it will still stand for another hundred years.

On Sunday, we drove up Gros Ventre Canyon and found The Wedding Tree, a place where all the locals get engagement photos taken with the Tetons in the background. It's not on a map, but K found it in a guide book--short walk from the pull-out. We also drove up to the Red Hills and the Slide area.

YELL Day 23

Friday 07/12/2013

Today was another field trip day for me! I left early to drive over Dunraven Pass to see Tower Falls and met up with a couple of deer. Then I hiked to Wraith Falls. When I parked, there was a van there so I thought, "Oh good! A family to help scare bears away!" Just as I started hiking, here they came all finished with their hike. I ended up having the place to myself and obviously made enough racket to scare all of the animals away. As I proceeded to Mammoth from Wraith Falls, I met up with a coyote. That guy was so focused on something that he didn't care that I was there. I stopped the car and he just kept walking down the middle of the road. I tried to get a second picture, but as it turns out, you can just barely see the tips of his ears and a bit of his bum as he walked past my driver's side mirror. Oh well, at least I got one decent photo. And then I arrived in Mammoth near Historic Fort Yellowstone. There were a TON of elk making statues of themselves on the nicely manicured lawns. I don't mean to offend anyone, but every time I see the face of a cow elk, I think of Audrey Hepburn. They are so elegant and beautiful with dark features, long eyelashes, and slender neck lines. Do you see the resemblance? And then did you see that cow elk completely sacked out on the grass? She's asking in a sleepy voice, "Predator? What's a predator?"

After the fort, I headed over to the terraces. There was a bird hiking up Minerva Terrace. Honestly, I watched this bird hiking for a really long time--up, up, and up! The stamina! After the terraces, I drove into Gardiner to get fuel. Thought I should snap one of the famous Roosevelt Arch at the north entrance. I stopped at Sheepeater Cliff for lunch--lava basalt, the perfect playground. I think my mother-in-law will really enjoy this site. On the way back, I got stuck in another bison jam but it gave me the chance to catch a red dog nursing.

K's supervisor has seen some of my photos and she said, "I don't know if it's you or your car, but one of you is a wildlife magnet."

In the evening, we met up with a ranger friend from Golden Spike, John (and his grandson). John made dinner reservations at the Lake Hotel back in April for the four of us and we were treated to a wonderful evening with great conversation and laughter. I had the fetuccini with salmon and K had the pork schnitzel. It was a great dinner date and so good to see friends!

YELL Day 22

Thursday 07/11/2013

While you were all out getting your free mini slurpees from 7-11, I was finishing my Junior Ranger Wolf Badge by walking barefoot in the sand on the shore of Yellowstone Lake, one of the requirements. Because I don't want to be accused of being a cheater-head, I documented the event with my camera. I love the "beach art" left by others. They tend to stack up driftwood in curious arrays and someone spent some time decorating with stones. The lake is so big, it seems like an ocean and the waves roll in similarly. Soothing. I drove out to Mary Bay afterward and found that purple reigns this time of year. K tried to take me to the Employee Pub for pizza, but they were carding and since I don't have an employee ID, they wouldn't let me in. They don't care that I'm the ranger's wife. Oh, well, who are we, Mormons, fighting to get into a lousy pub? K ordered the pizza to go and we ate it at home. And then he solidly beat me at Yahtzee.

YELL Day 21

Oh how I love Orange! I love the Earth and the colors designed by Mother Nature. I have begun taking "excursions" while K is working. I still don't dare hike more than a mile or so by myself (besides, it's exhausting being even more situationally aware when hiking alone and expending all that energy clapping hands and calling out various phrases...I mean, I just need to breathe while I hike...clapping, talking, etc. takes a bit of the pleasure out of it), but there are plenty of "front country" things to see and do in the park, so I've set up some field trips for myself. Things are definitely more fun with K along, but my time is short in the park and I must go and do and see. John Muir said, "The mountains are calling and I must go!" I keep telling myself, "I must GO!" I had a lovely day viewing more thermal features (Grand Prismatic Spring, etc.) and water falls and other such treats. K is more than jealous, but that's not going to hold me back. On the way back to Lake from Canyon, I got stuck in a classic bison jam. Do you see that bison up on the hillside on the right? Yep, one bison. There are 3,999 more, People. Promise! You WILL see another one!

YELL Day 20

Tuesday 07/09/2013 I failed to mention in yesterday's post that we camped in the park at Lewis Lake for the weekend. The day after Shoshone Lake, we visited Biscuit Basin and hiked up to the Mystic Falls Overlook. Oh, my. Did I mention I don't work at the cave anymore? This was a three mile loop with some elevation involved and I am getting wimpy in my old age. However, it was beautiful and we had the place to ourselves. We also visited many other geyser basins and there's just no way for me to capture everything with my little digital (but I persist in trying! oh, I persist). So that was nine miles of hiking for me in less than twenty-four hours. K wanted to hike from Black Sand Basin over to Old Faithful so he could see some cool stuff along the way. I just didn't have another two miles in me, so he hiked and I drove. I immediately purchased a large ice cream cone and sat outside on the porch at Old Faithful while meeting lots of new friends from all over. People are so friendly and chatty and excited to show me their videos and pictures of Yellowstone, Gettysburg, the Statue of Liberty, and everywhere else they've been. One man gave me a hug goodbye as they left the area. Ice cream and technology--brings folks together. K showed up and promptly purchased ice cream for himself.