Thursday, August 29, 2013

News from YELL

TR was at Mud Volcano guiding a group of visitors around the thermal features when he was approached by an interesting fellow who insisted on rolling up his sleeve and showing off his tattoo. Yes, it was a tattoo of Old Faithful. How did you know?

The gentleman joined TR's group and added quite a lot of commentary to the program until someone announced there was a grizzly in the parking lot! He immediately abandoned his group (right thing to do under the circumstance). TR got on the radio to notify Bear Management and was directed by them to babysit the bear (keep an eye on it, protect visitors, etc.) until they could arrive.

The lucky ranger got to watch Mr. Grizzly swim across the Yellowstone River, stop half-way to look all around and check his bearings, then continue to the other shore. Mr. Grizzly scampered off into the trees.

My work day stories aren't that stunning today but it was still a great day. One student vomited and another bled. However, someone else shared an anecdote about a student with a colorful vocabulary. His substitute teacher called him by name and with surprise, he asked in the most natural way, "How the hell did you know my name?"

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Zhjokka (sp?)

Zhjokka (sounds like "Joke-a" only there's more of an sh/zh sound at the front) is a wonderful Hungarian lady who lives in my neighborhood. I run into her at various locations around town and she always has a big hug for me. Tonight, she hugged me twice!

Between her "hello" hug and her "goodbye" hug, she told me several more things about herself. Zhjokka is a cancer survivor. Her children and grandchildren are her "treasure." She left a newly built big house in Hungary and is living in a tiny place here, but she is so much happier here! She can't believe there's a Bark Park in the neighborhood with a sandbox for dogs yet no sandbox anywhere for children. Her grandchildren sleep over every Friday night. Not all of them at once, but usually two of the four. Sometimes it's the girls, sometimes the boys, sometimes the older two, and sometimes the younger two. Tonight, she cooked for everyone. She is a lovely person with whom to chat and her last words to me this evening in slightly broken English were, "You are wonderful person and glad we met in USA. I love you, Honey!"

I will always smile when I think of my Hungarian cheerleader next door. Everyone should be so lucky to have a Zhjokka in their midst.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Visited My Lovely Cave Today!

I woke up this morning with ONE thought, "I've GOT to go to the cave!!!" No, I wasn't necessary to anyone and didn't do anything terribly important there, but I'm so glad I finally had a moment! Actually, I forgot about my friend's bridal shower (Sorry!) because I just had to get to the cave. It felt like Home.

I stopped in the VC and chatted with folks that know me. I headed up the trail and saw the slug. I think it had given up the ghost...possibly trampled? It just was not moving and I didn't think it would really appreciate being twisted if it could help it.

The trail. Ah, The Trail. It is the same beautiful butt-kicking trail it always was! My pace is still slow but I still hike the whole thing without stopping (except to chat). It was a sentimental journey full of so many memories: We had our picture taken here. Saw a rattlesnake here once. Almost died in a rock slide here. Sheltered here during an amazing thunderstorm. Held hands with five rangers as we all slid down the ice here during training. So let's move on.

I thought I would be too late to see any familiar morning walkers, but there turned out to be several. One guy, I forget his name, blurted out, "You don't work here no more?" He hikes the trail to stay in shape for guiding hunters in Alaska. One woman asked, "How's your class this year?" She is the principal of another elementary school in our district. And so on.

I was in the middle of the W's near the Dino Wayside when I heard a gunshot. It was loud. And it echoed off the canyon wall. My first thought was that someone chose to end their life. A Scout Master was hiking behind me so I turned around and as he approached I asked, "Did you hear that?" And he said, "Yeah, it sounded like a gunshot." Great. Well, it wasn't. They were bringing a visitor down on the gurney and one of the tires on the gurney POPPED!

Paid my respects to Last Chance.

The cave entrance area was a bit busy--just a normal Saturday. I batted Alyssa's tour and just felt so comfortable in the cave! One tall man decided to kneel down and scoot along the bridge over Middle Cave Lake in order to get under the formations (rather than just stooping down/bending over)! That had to have been killer on his knee caps with the metal grate!

On the way down I met the Power Rangers who were hauling the gurney all the way back up to the entrance, ready for the next visitor who falls ill. Brad was at Dead Dog so I talked with him for a couple of minutes. Had a great walk down and met up with some other familiar and friendly ranger faces. It all pulls at my heart strings, but I wouldn't have traded a summer in Yellowstone with my husband for another summer at the cave.

Anyway, the photos are 1) slug 2) hooks for backpacks that cannot be taken through the cave 3)a V-shaped canyon 4) cave formation 5) Nancy's earthquake monitor (it just makes me smile) and 6) the rock dust from the fault line at quarter way

I went home to shower, developed some film, spent a few hours in my classroom (and brought more work home tonight to correct!), and then saved Wal-Mart for last in hopes it wouldn't be so busy. People are crazy. I got through it I guess. I have been to my classroom for 13 days in a row and I've decided I'm not going to school tomorrow no matter how behind in correcting I am!

My class is still so, so well behaved. I wish I could post pictures of them but I would get sued I suppose. They are so happy and eager to learn. I love it!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

First Day of School 2013

What a wonderful day! Oh, I can fall so quickly in love with a new batch of fifth graders...they have made me smile all day. I know, I's the "honeymoon" period of the school year, but still, they are so new and sparkly and full of hopes and dreams. They want to please and be good (and they are good)and they laugh at all of my jokes.

One girl walked in with an ice cold Pepsi (I don't drink soda, but K does) with a cute note typed, cut, and taped to it all wrapped up with a piece of colorful yarn. A mystery person left three morning glory blossoms on my desk after recess. One girl created a beautiful and glittery design for me which she brought to back-to-school night. I am certain every teacher has received similar "peace offerings" today, but each one makes me smile at the adoration these trusting souls have for their New Teacher.

I had to take a picture of a framed photo of our team picture. We dressed as cave people as inspired by The Croods. Even I am okay with the way it turned out and I am so thankful for my neighbor who sewed the costume. Sadly, you can't really see my headband with matchy zebra fabric wrapped around it. Loved being barefoot for the photo shoot, the video shoot, and the skit we performed (we were in costume for 2.5 hours and "on stage" more than we knew we would be). If the principal wants to blackmail us, she's got footage to do it!

Another great part of the day was seeing last year's students, the big sixth graders that they are now. It's so sweet that they even want to hug me. They are thrilled with their new teachers and some of them have an added skip in their step. Four incredulous boys just had to let me know that they are in four separate classes this year! Wow, I wonder how that happened!

In other news, TR emailed to let me know they've been instructed to prepare to evacuate due to a fire. Part of the Grand Loop road is closed. He has a bag packed with a few things in his vehicle. He asked if there was anything I wanted him to grab for me. I asked for my sheepskin slippers--they are a bit sentimental. If they are told to evacuate, he will go to one of two places depending on the urgency of the situation. Ash was falling on him as he presented the evening program tonight. More adventures in Yellowstone National Park! Today is THE twenty-fifth anniversary of the big fires of 1988--they call it Black Saturday. To "celebrate" they were told to prepare to evacuate!

In still other news, don't ever try the sugar free cantaloupe bundt cake in the August issue of Diabetic Living magazine. No, I have not been diagnosed with diabetes, but I am now receiving all of my deceased mother's mail, so I spotted this recipe and gave it a whirl. I had never tried sugar free cake mix and will likely never try it again. I liked the idea of a cut up cantaloupe blended in the blender to make a moist cake, but I think what really happened over the last forty-eight hours is fermentation. It reeked when I got home tonight so I threw the thing in the trash. Ever heard of cantaloupe cake? Yeah, there might be a reason you haven't. Now we know.

Monday, August 19, 2013

How The Croods Have Blessed My Life

Tonight was Back-to-School Night and I loved meeting the children who will be Fifth Graders in my classroom. Such a joy! It's been a busy time preparing everything, cleaning out junk, organizing, shopping, labeling, planning, learning, and all the rest of the effort that goes in to getting ready for a new school year.

Each grade level team at our school was assigned by our principal to choose to a "theme movie" for the upcoming school year. Because I was tucked away in Yellowstone living off grid, I simply told my team to "let me know." They chose The Croods.

The minute I returned from YELL I saw the film at the dollar theatre. Then I asked my neighbor to sew a cave woman costume for me. I purchased fabric and borrowed some natural/earthly looking jewelry, and that was my costume. I'm so glad I put as much thought into it as I did because we ended up spending 2.5 hours in costume on our Professional Development day. We knew we were going to have team photos, but we did not know we would be performing a skit and getting videotaped.

So there was all this zebra print fabric left over and I asked my seamstress if she could make little "erasers" for the student sized whiteboards in every desk.

Talk about going ABOVE and BEYOND! Tonight, she hand delivered 40 (forty!) little "mitts" for my students to use. Each and everyone has the zebra theme fabric with a flannel backing of either blue or green. I am still blown away. Maybe that fabric will help us all to remember how to "Shine Your Way!"

Monday, August 12, 2013

YELL Day 43

Today (meaning Monday 08/12/2013) is the last YELL day of my summer vacation. Last year, there were, I believe, 48 days of summer vacation, but this year, only 43. Even my husband says, "Your vacations are getting shorter and shorter!"

There are two more days before I am absolutely required to show my face at school, but I'm not counting them as summer vacation days due to the homework assigned to me over the summer along with varied assignments and tasks received throughout the summer. This includes things like reading a 322 page book, doing two writing assignments about the book, watching a movie, procuring a costume to dress like a character in the movie, etc. It all adds up and I think two days is actually an underestimate, but I'm saying two days of stuff that needed to be completed prior to returning to contract time.

In spite of the extra work, let me tell you...I was at school today for about six hours and I was filled with joy and happiness. I am so excited to meet my new group of children and try out some things I've learned recently. I'm excited to see those from last year's class who will arrive in the morning to help me (I have no idea exactly who or how many are coming!). It will be like a mini class reunion slash service project with treats at the end. I am so grateful, GRATEFUL! that I have the honor and blessing of working with a variety of priceless ten and eleven year old learners. My heart has been warm and fuzzy all day as I cleaned out my desk and re-read notes from May. I smiled as I organized my poetry bookshelf, hoping to inspire at least one more child to attach themselves to word smithing and verse. I watched an American History video while doing laundry this evening because I'm pumped to teach our amazing social studies curriculum. I framed some pictures during the 10:00 news in hopes of freshening up one of my bulletin boards. I know which book will be our first read aloud of the year!

Sure loved my magical Yellowstone summer, but I now declare that my 43-day summer vacation is officially ovah!

Sunday, August 11, 2013


I love Church. We've been going to Church all summer in four states (depending on our location), but today, I got to go to my own ward and it felt good. I participated in various ways and enjoyed seeing some familiar faces. I'm so glad there are other congregations to visit around the country and around the world, but I'm also happy to belong to my congregation. I could ramble on, but suffice it to say I LOVE CHURCH!!!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Bison Encounter I Never Had

My day wasn't all that newsworthy but I finally made it to my classroom. I cannot wait to get a look at my class list! Nah...the story of the day comes from TR.

There was a big bison jam in Hayden Valley (YNP) as there often can be and some visitors did something inappropriate. I mean, even the bison knew it was inappropriate. If you've never been involved, bison jams can be tricky because you don't know what might provoke a bison. Bison have been known to suddenly ram parked vehicles with no one inside just because they can. And it's not just a little dent. Those horns make holes in cars sometimes. So when you meet up with them on a road, you try to give them plenty of time and plenty of space. It depends on the situation, but most people understand that the bison own the park and get to do whatever they want. Sometimes you can get by them easily, but sometimes you might be driving along behind them since they've chosen to walk down the middle of the road, at their leisurely pace, and you just "blend in" with your car...all part of the same happy herd.

I have never exited my vehicle to get a closer look or a better picture of a bison. The rules say you should remain a minimum of 25 yards away and if the bison moves closer to you, it's your responsibility to move as well to ensure the 25 yards safety distance. Now of course some things can't be helped while you're driving. Say a herd is walking down the road as opposing traffic and they just walk right past your vehicle. I personally like to make sure my stereo is off and if I'm going to risk a photo, I really make sure the flash is off. I keep my windows rolled up if they are in close proximity. I also like to send off a little "chi" toward the bison by thinking happy thoughts and gathering peace so that the bison will sense no fear or threat in the vicinity of my car. It goes back to blending in with the herd and remaining calm. Those are just my own little personal practices.

Bison sure are funny looking creatures, but don't forget, they are like Olympic athletes. Some weigh as much as 2000 pounds and yet they can jump 6-8 feet! Never underestimate a bison. So today in Hayden Valley there was a bison jam and some human decided to reach out and PET a bison as it was walking past their car! The bison KICKED their vehicle and someone else reported it to law enforcement. LE caught up with these people at the next Visitor Center and CITED them! Now these folks have a fine to pay and an insurance claim to settle. Hooray for the bison!!!

On a side note, also in Hayden Valley, someone reported a child up in a tree (above the bison) with no adults anywhere to be found! A busy day for law enforcement, educating the public and keeping the bison unprovoked.

Friday, August 9, 2013

YELL Day 42

Slept in. Love our bed. You can't even know the difference from where we've been sleeping. On the phone tonight I said, "Honey, I'm not trying to brag or make you jealous or anything, but when I crawled in last night, every cell in my body just said 'Ahhhhh.....'" Showered. Love our shower. And our nice hair and bathing products. We've been living skimpy in YELL. Took care of mail, appointments, business, etc. Met a friend for lunch. She's also a teacher so that was practically professional development. I read a blog post about #carPD where teachers travel together to professional development in distant places, chattering about their work the whole way, sharing ideas, etc. So I guess we could call this #lunchPD.

As per a summer homework assignment, I went to see The Croods at the "dollar" theater (it was really $1.50). Then I went to Costco because this place hasn't seen fresh produce for months. Literally, months. The blueberries are so good I'm speechless.

Now that I have internet access, I looked up the online newspaper from my home town to see what's been happening. One of my favorite articles is the WEEKLY FIRE, POLICE, AND AMBULANCE REPORT. Some of the things make me chuckle and others illustrate beautifully the rural place from which I hail. Are you ready?

Horse on the loose.

Report of loud music coming from the back of a local establishment.

Request law enforcement for male who has been drinking and is getting hard to handle.

Antlers stolen.

Haystack fire.

Saw light on in neighbor's garage. Suspicious activity.

Report missing dog.

Eight kids in alley causing a ruckus.

Report of a dead deer.

Female has possibly taken pills and is being unruly and uncooperative.

Report of a flat bed trailer parked on the wrong side of a county road.

Jay Leno could have a lot of fun with this type of material..."So...decribe exactly the way your antlers look."

YELL Day 41

Thursday 08/08/2013

Today was my leaving day and K had to work of course. I decided to not set an alarm last night and just sleep until I woke up so I wouldn't be too tired for the drive back. I woke up at 4:00 a.m.! I stayed in bed for awhile, mind racing, and then started to get up and prepare while trying to not disturb TR. Finally, it was 5:25 a.m. and I decided I should hit the road as it was barely beginning to get light. You really need to be careful in YELL because dark bison on dark roads at night are dangerous. I began to cry and sniffle and woke my husband up. He got out of bed and said goodbye and escorted me out. It never gets easier or usual to leave him. I felt bad for disturbing his sleep at such an early hour, but I had to say goodbye.

I was driving through the park, reflecting on the whole summer, and finding it "a hard place to leave." That's a John Muir quote about his time in Yellowstone. Not only was I leaving my companion, but the park itself has infiltrated my spirit more than I thought it would. I was feeling a little surprised at my emotions as I passed all these spectacular landmarks and memories "for the last time." I was tempted to stop at Mud Volcano "one last time" and to see such-and-such "one more time" but I kept going.

And then...I was driving along between Norris and Madison, more specifically between Artists' Paint Pots and Beryl Spring when off to the right I saw...could it be...WOLVES! I hadn't seen wolves all summer (but I hadn't tried very hard...I'd only gone to Hayden Valley a couple of times early in the morning to look through spotting scopes and binoculars (just another grizzly...). But there they were. Three wolves, all frisk and frolic. There were lots of other people there at 6:26 a.m. observing the show (it was quite a show of happy dog-like behavior) in the morning mist. I was stunned. For me? Seriously? A departure gift such as this? I had to double-check. I asked to make sure they were wolves and not coyotes and someone confirmed there were three. I could see them without binoculars--just my eyes...three wolves. On my leaving day. I hadn't even put in a request about this.

I think I've mentioned this before, but Heavenly Father seems to have a way of treating me to some of the little desires of my heart. I don't know why we don't get to be parents, but sometimes, certain things happen on certain days to let me know He is mindful of me. I guess He knows a girl like me would really appreciate some wolves. I will explain further, the back story if you will. If you can stand all the detail.

When I was a National Park Ranger at Timpanogos Cave National Monument, we often had rattlesnakes on the trail. We would move them, if necessary, to protect them from the visitors. We used a snake stick to do this. Well, I would forever hear on the radio that someone needed the snake stick and I was never in the area, so I never got to do this really cool thing of moving rattlesnakes. One of my evening programs was about the snakes in the monument and I happened to be living next door to a world-famous herpetologist, so as I learned to handle non-venomous snakes and so forth, I was always just a little bummed that the snake moving duty never fell to me. I know, most people don't think this way, but I am not most people. Well, one day, I was giving a cave tour and a volunteer was holding the snake stick at the exit and I was the one that got to move the snake! My whole tour group was snapping pictures of me and I felt so happy that it was finally my turn. Additionally, the snake had already killed a rodent which was dead just inside the exit door because it had run to escape and then gave up the ghost. The rattlesnake was just trying to enjoy its meal. What's more, it was my BIRTHDAY and I just knew that God had sent me a rattlesnake on my birthday. Sounds crazy, I know, but I got to move the predator and the prey! My visitors loved it all.

Fast forward to Mother's Day this year. We had moved K to the park, I had to drive back to teach school, it was my first Mother's Day since my mom died, I was emotional about the fact that we don't have any posterity, and I was driving far away from my dear husband. So Heavenly Father sent a grizzly bear and let it walk up the road, toward me, right past my car so I could take some nifty photographs. No, it wasn't exactly a bouquet of roses, but it was something He knew I would really appreciate because I had never seen a grizzly in the wild. A definite gift.

And then today, my leaving day. He knew I was a little sad once more leaving K and facing the stress of a new school year and all the exhaustion that lies ahead. He let me know it would be okay because on this day, as I was driving out of the park at the end of my summer vacation, He sent three wolves! Some of you will chalk it up to coincidence, but I cannot.

I just hope I can keep looking for and noticing the gifts, counting the blessings, and appreciating all of the special moments.

And I just threw those other pictures in because apparently, my plants don't need anything from me other than a drink of water every three weeks and the opportunity to hang out in a ninety degree home with the blinds closed. They seem to have thrived in my absence! They have never looked so big, so lush, and so healthy to me.

YELL Day 40

Wednesday 08/07/2013

Our last day together... We rented a motorboat at Bridge Bay Marina and went for a little tour around the lake. K basically gave us the same tour he gives all the visitors on the Lake Queen II. We saw the remnants of the E.C. Waters (held 600 people) out at Stevenson Island. It was a lovely day for boating!

Afterward, we all went to the Lake Hotel for lunch. This hotel is the oldest hotel in all of Yellowstone National Park (yes, even older than Old Faithful). It is beautiful and the architecture is nowhere near woodsy log cabin style.

In the afternoon, K's family went to the Fishing Bridge Visitor Center to see K in action over there and get their passport books stamped. I stayed home to pack and load up my car. They came back and I took them over to West Thumb to see those thermal features. We were all surprised to see a cow elk drinking out of one of the pools!!! Who knows what the temperature and acidity of that pool was, but she kept drinking from it. I thought, "Maybe she's the one who lost her calf in the hot pools earlier this spring."

We had dinner during Ken's lunch break and then his mom and aunt went shopping at the General Store. His dad and Grandpa stayed with me while we visited, did dishes, and folded laundry.

Off we went to K's evening program where about 175 people were in attendance. K, as always, did a great job with his theme, "Finding Yellowstone." His family really enjoyed the actual program, but of course, it was thrilling for them to see their son, in uniform, doing his thing at the first national park in the world. He did mention in the middle of his program that it was a special evening for him to have his wife, his parents, his aunt, and his 90 year old grandpa in the audience. They spontaneously applauded for him. He mentioned his childhood memories of coming to the park in his grandparents' motorhome and seeing the bison. Then he exclaimed, "Look what they started!" At the end, he encouraged the audience to go find their Yellowstone and to be sure to share it with someone. It really was a bit of a tear-jerker. After every program, all of the rangers invite anyone with Junior Ranger programs to come up and get them signed. Well, he happened to have had quite a number of Junior Rangers in the audience so it was a pretty long line. He had talked about "wildlife jams" earlier in the program and I heard one girl say, "It's a RANGER jam!!!" While he was signing papers, I saw his aunt wipe tears from her eyes. His family joked aloud wondering whether anyone could read K's signature and whether his penmanship had improved over the years. His dad commented to his mom, "He really is a professional, isn't he?" It was just one of those "parent paycheck" type moments. When all the Junior Rangers finally left, we said goodbye to K's family and they loaded him up with compliments.

And that was my last full day of summer vacation in Yellowstone National Park.

YELL Day 39

Tuesday 08/06/2013

We went to the Fountain Paint Pots, the Firehole Drive, and Biscuit Basin. The first photo shows water splashing out of the middle of the lighter colored rock (with the black color in front of the splash). The second photo shows the splash coming from in front of the black colored rock. We didn't see the switch, but K and I noticed that there had been a switch right in front of our eyes. Those crazy thermal features can change whenever. One of our family members is K's Grandpa who is 90 years old. He can still walk (lives alone on his farm), but it was just easier to let him ride on the boardwalks. K was thrilled his Grandpa could make the trip. He really is an impressive gentleman! We love Grandpa!

YELL Day 38

We took K's family to Mammoth making other little stops here and there. We also drove to Lamar Valley where the Big Bison Convention is taking place, also known as "the rut." One dapper fellow charmed us by digging in the dirt, rolling in the dirt, shaking the dirt afterward, and also by just sitting there. Too bad you can't hear the snorting and grunting. If you look carefully, you may see how the wind is blowing the hair on the top of his head from behind (#toupee). He's looking a bit messy with grasses stuck in his fur here and there. I just kept chuckling while snapping photos.

The terraces were wonderful of course. That "winter" scene is a summer scene and it was hot out. That's just the magic of calcite travertine folks.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Family Comes to YELL!

Sunday 08/04/2013

K's family came to visit. We took them to Storm Point, Gull Point Drive, Mud Volcano, and then back home for pulled pork and potato salad. We are trying to show them a nice time!

Ice, Ice, Baby!

Saturday 08/03/2013

The in-laws planned to arrive this evening so it was my last chance to run around the park in the wee hours of the morning (when all the good stuff happens). I've always appreciated the morning mist that rises above the Yellowstone River. Someone with the right stuff could photograph it with justice. I headed for Norris in order to walk around the Back Basin.

I parked in the parking lot and walked to the restroom. When I opened the door to the women's side, I was immediately on high alert for the rodent who had torn the place up! There was toilet paper EVERYWHERE!!! However, nothing stirred and I realized that HUMANS were responsible for this incredible mess. I later saw an employee and asked him about it, "It's like that every single morning. Rodents have nothing to do with it." If you tear toilet paper off the roll, I think you're quite capable of eventually depositing it in either the toilet or the trash. If you throw it on the floor and think that somebody gets paid to clean up after you, then I think you're pretty despicable. Lazy, lazy, thoughtless, and unkind. Yes, I feel strongly about this and I'm not sure why because I've never been a custodian. Remember, your real character is depicted by your actions behind closed doors. Who are these folks? A bunch of passive-aggressive creeps? It is beyond my reasoning. If you can explain it to me (a logical reason for the mess), I would LOVE to be enlightened! Steps off soap box with heavy sigh...

Anyway, to get to the back basin, I chose left which led me past Steamboat once again (a loop trail). I was walking along like nobody's business when I noticed myself slipping. Sure enough, that boardwalk was covered with a thin layer of ice. Perhaps it was from the steam of Steamboat in the below freezing morning temperature. So I grabbed those handrails and SLID on my feet all the way down past Steamboat until I arrived at Cistern. It was a ways. At that point I was able to walk normally--no more ice. Did not see another soul during the whole 1.5 mile walk! It was GLORIOUS! I emerged near the museum and contemplated walking around Porcelain Basin, however, just then, a busload of Asians (and I love Asians!) arrived and went running down the hill chattering in Chinese, cameras clicking. Nah...guess not. I'll come back another time. The magic disappeared.

I stopped at Canyon, arrived late for K's ranger-guided hike, and when he got off duty, we drove to Pahaska Tepee near the East Entrance. K's family came to visit us!!! Just as they pulled in, K realized we were locked out of our home, but no worries, he handily found a way in later in the evening.

YELL Day 37

Friday 08/02/2013

The day after an excursion is usually a housework day. I finished reading These Is My Words, an EXCELLENT historic fiction piece by Nancy E. Turner. Loved it. So much.

YELL Day 36

Thursday 08/01/2013

This was one of my field trip days so I headed back to Old Faithful for some unfinished business. I went on a ranger-led walk in the Upper Geyser Basin and learned so much! I can't even begin to tell you the fascinating things I learned. Anyway, the ranger said he had a secret to share and that he wanted to build suspense during the tour. Well. That didn't last. At the second stop he blurted out, "I can't stand it anymore!!! Steamboat Geyser erupted LAST NIGHT!!!"

Okay, if you're not a geyser gazer then you may not know that this is RARE. It was 2005 the last time it happened. We were told it could steam anywhere from 10 hours to 40 days after an eruption, so the Old Faithful rangers were spreading the news and telling us to head over there just to see the after steam. So I did. The road was closed off. Turns out no one got hurt (even though visitors were running pell mell toward Steamboat when it started to go), but the geyser is so big and usually spits out rocks to the point that cars in the parking lot get damaged. I could have hiked in (probably) from Norris Campground, but decided to go home knowing that K would have heard the news at work. He was already eating lunch when I arrived so I had a big smile on my face when I walked in. I didn't get a smile back. He just looked at me with a mixture of jealousy and disappointment saying, "Heavenly Father loves you so much. You get to see EVERYTHING! You get geysers and grizzlies and all sorts of happy surprises." I answered, "Relax. The road to Norris was closed--they wouldn't let me in." So we drove over there in the evening, together, after K got off duty. I packed a picnic supper and drove while he ate his chicken salad sandwich. I parked the car and he jumped out and ran off. I didn't see him again for another twenty minutes or so. He couldn't wait! This is the proof he really was so terribly excited: he REQUESTED to have his picture taken in front of it!!!

YELL Day 35

Wednesday 07/31/2013

My friend came to visit and brought two of her neices, both age ten! They were all so fun to play with! Sometimes K gets some pretty rowdy boys on his hikes. Boys just naturally try to fall off cliffs, throw sticks and rocks, and stomp on every log they can find in the forest. They seriously "tear the place apart!" Hiking with girls is so different. They went to the lakeshore and sweetly called back to me, "Are we allowed to skip rocks?" Yes, my dear angels, skip all the rocks you please. Later we went to West Thumb Geyser Basin, possibly my favorite thermal area in the park, and a ranger was explaining that an elk calf met its demise earlier this spring by stepping into that hot pool of water. You can see the white baby elk bones remaining. Let that be a lesson to us all!

YELL Day 34

Tuesday 07/30/2013

I was in the bathroom when I heard some curious noises. The walls are paper thin so I wondered, "Is that Eric snoring???" That didn't seem right because we've never heard him snore and was the middle of the day. Then I heard some other noises and thought, "Are there bison out there?" Yes, there were. They were walking right in front of our front door and right past all of our vehicles and they were grunting and grazing and doing what bison do. So, let's just say I was closer than the minimum 25 yards while still inside the safety of my own home. I've seen plenty of bison this summer but there's something a tad bit charming about them when they show up on your door step.

In other news, I finished the unabridged version of Les Miserables. All 1,463 pages, Baby! Every English word, French word, song lyric, Greek name it, I read every word. On page 985 it says, "To learn to read is to kindle a fire." Is that where Amazon got that?