Notes from Yellowstone #11

I was up early today. It’s the last hours of my break, and I was going to go back to West Thumb this morning, to watch the sunrise across the lake whilst surrounded by the steam and mists of the geysers there. It sounded so romantic.

I woke up to steady rain. It only let up a little for the dogs and I to dodge the puddles a couple of times this morning. No sunrise has been observed. 

So, we’re huddled inside the Hovel watching and listening to the rain until it stops or it’s time for me to go to work, whichever comes first.

Short shift tonight: 5-11. The rest of the work week won’t be as attractive. Sunday and Monday: 1:30-11pm. This includes two shower cleanings and closing. Tuesday and Wednesday: 6:45am-3pm. Then break. With no supply run to make this week, I’m going to try to see some more of the park. That is why I came here, after all. I want to do something that more than 98% of the people who visit Yellowstone fail to do: get more than 1/4 mile off the main road. 

I will repeat the above work schedule the following week, unless of course another coworker or two bales. I overheard some folks yesterday, who work in other departments for the same company, that there have been several exits this past week for all kinds of reasons: School starting for some, job offers for others, and of course some disappointment and dissatisfaction with the long hours, low pay, and difficult work. 

Another motivation for me to stay is just to see how all of this turns out. The park visitors will keep coming until the park closes the roads for winter, except for the road between Gardiner and Cook City at the north and northeast entrances. I wonder what the visitor experience is with lodging, housekeeping, campground and camper services all short-staffed in a year that Yellowstone is poised to break attendance records? This would make for a pretty good expose of how privatizing these functions in national parks with 20-year contracts may not be very beneficial to anyone except the contract awardee. It certainly doesn’t add to the perception of the government being very efficient, because even though these are not government jobs, the people filling them are the face of the national park and the face of the government. 

I suppose I will see some of the oversight, as we are due to have a Nat’l Park Service inspection sometime before the end of the season. As an old taxpaying, national park loving, somewhat experienced in standards and training, but totally unbiased employee (<— sarcasam), I look forward to speaking with the inspectors (as I always have {<— obvious sarcasm})

The rain is off and on now and the morning is almost gone. The spruce outside my big window occasionally glistens with drops at the tip of each needle while the sun teases, branches drooping slightly from the weight of the water diamonds. Just about the time I starty thinking about socks and boots, instead of wicked good slippers, another blast of wind and another driving rain squall convinces me that the Hovel, and its wonderful view of the storm and the trees, is a pretty good place to be.

Critters. Last evening I watched a chipmunk actually teasing the dogs. Who knew they were such pranksters? We were taking our last walk of the day at dusk. Down to the lake view, as well as a view of the steam rising from the West Thumb geysers, at the helipad. There, no more than 10 feet in front of them, a chipmunk stopped on the pavement and appeared to be observing them. 

Gidget want it SO badly.

We are working on walking skills, as opposed to pulling Mom on her face skills, so I kept the leash very short and let them creep forward a step at a time.

The chipmunk remained motionless. We were now perhaps 8 feet away, and the leash is 6 feet. I let it out, a little at a time — and the chipmunk was off to the woods. Those little guys move like rockets, and I knew the critter was pretty safe from my two predators. 

Ah. Sorry guys. So close, too! But what a story you’ll have to tell, next time you’re at the dog park. That time you almost caught a chipmunk in Yellowstone.

About Sharon

Like anyone who lives long enough, I have experienced great loss and survived. I am convinced that my survival depends on my own participation in creating the reality I am living in, and I am determined to be a thoughtful and active participant/creator. These writings are my way of documenting that creation. As the song goes, "I will survive!" I chose the title Staying Vertical because I find that surviving isn't just staying on my feet physically. Keeping my thoughts and emotions on the vertical plane keeps me alive and moving forward. Thanks for joining me!
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4 Responses to Notes from Yellowstone #11

  1. Frank Knowles says:

    Smiling again, as I was reading this one………my wife thinks I am up to no good again…….worth it!

  2. Dan Mullin says:

    Sharon…Scott, Stan and I all say howdy!

  3. So beautiful. You breath so much life into your “moments.” I look forward to these snippets.

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