Friday. Autumn is knocking on the door here in Yellowstone. Yesterday a friend and I drove down to Leeks Marina in Grand Teton NP for pizza, beer, and conversation. The drive took us by Lewis Lake and Lewis Falls and along the Lewis River. Not only are the grasses changing from green to golden, the low shrubs are also changing into their fall reds, oranges and yellows. I love fall colors and fall weather. It’s my favorite season, even if it only lasts about a minute and a half.
I can recommend the pizza restaurant at Leeks Marina. Excellent pizza, cold beer, and a wonderful setting with the magnificent Tetons reflected in the still waters of the marina. Picturesque.
This morning a strange fog hung low in the trees around the Hovel, hiding the lake and the Absarokas from view. It hung around for several hours and didn’t completely lift until mid-morning.
I decided to stay close to home during this break and rest up. The pace has been intense with a short staff and another one bit the dust this week. We also gained one, and it appears he is worth two of the one we lost so we are almost back to normal. The problem with taking a break to rest up is that I start feeling guilty about not doing all the hikes and ranger talks and other activities. There are hundreds of hiking trails and ranger talks at every village every evening. Realistically, it probably isn’t possible to do it all, at least in one season. It seems like I have spent most of the summer adapting to the environment and my new life style, not to mention working like crazy.
It was a beautiful, mild day once the fog lifted, so I took a bike ride around Grant Village: down to the Lake House and Pavilion, the amphitheater, post office, campgrounds…The traffic has calmed down significantly from July’s peak. I had a lot of the road and trail to myself, making the uphill walking of the bicycle less embarrassing, and giving me a chance to look closely, listen ?-ly, and breath deeply of the pines and humus. A clear day after so many smoke-filled ones, made the colors appear more brilliant than ever.
After the bike ride, a nap of course, followed by a lazy afternoon of reflection and daydreaming. That’s what summer afternoons are for, aren’t they?
Saturday. A gorgeous start to the day and some excitement this morning. An actual helicopter landed on the helipad at the end of Workcamp Yellowstone. All this time, it’s been no more than a great spot to walk the dogs and look at the lake.
There is a fire in the park, on the Promontory peninsula of the Lake, between the two southern arms of the lake. It’s been burning since Monday, following a lightening strike.
From all appearances, this was a relief crew coming in to replace some of the firefighters who are keeping the fire from spreading to other areas while it burns itself out. One group was clean and fresh and the other was covered in soot. The really interesting thing was that of the two crews (about six or seven people) there was only one male in the group. The rest were young women firefighters.
I’m glad I lived long enough to see women following their dreams to become firefighters, Army Rangers, and fighter pilots. As I get older I realize the only thing that limits me is my imagination, or lack thereof. If you can see yourself doing it, you can do it! You may have to convince the imagination-challenged folks around you, sometimes the hardest barrier of all; and, if that group is too difficult to win over, you may need to start hanging with a different crowd.
Back to work this afternoon for three swings and two day shifts. Just a little over three weeks left before Grant Village closes for the year, and those of us left head out for the next destination. Some will be going directly home, some to other parks (Death Valley is a popular spot for the “migrant” park workers), and some (like me) a a little trip planned before we head to the permanent or next address.
I’ll be visiting friends and relatives in Idaho, Oregon, California, and Nevada before I get back to Denver in October. From there, I’m looking for something in south Texas to get me through the winter (National Park, State Park, or RV Park). The requirements: a place to park the Hovel, a beautiful view, and some time to enjoy it. I’m looking for something in or within an hour or so of San Antonio. WiFi would also be nice. Let me know if you hear something!