19 hours ago
Friday, August 9, 2013
YELL Day 40
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.