It's been another week in Yellowstone, where summer might be over. The temperature was about 20 degrees below average today with a strong chilly wind and showers which felt like snow wasn't far away. The heat rattled the pipes in the office.
A couple coworkers who've been working summers here for many years left today for medical reasons and aren't likely to be back. They're not the first people I've known here to leave suddenly. It's a strange life, knowing that every relationship you have will, on the one hand, only last five months, but that on the other hand, those five months could be repeated for many years. An odd mix of distance and closeness develops even between people who only nod at each other every other day.
I walked out of the dorm early one morning with camera in backpack and was instantly confronted by this.
I didn't witness it but one morning rangers on horseback and armed with shovels drove the elk away from the visitor's center and up into the hills. Hardly seems in keeping with the don't disturb the wildlife motto, not to mention that many tourists come to Mammoth specifically to see the elk. Have no fear though, there were several around the employee dining room for breakfast today.
I didn't witness this one either but I've heard reports of traffic jams caused by mating bison blocking passage. They must have been listening to The White Album. Why Don't We Do It in the Road?, for the youngsters and non-Beatles fans amongst us.
I was happy to finally get some photos of perched mountain bluebirds. They're bad photos, but at least you can tell they're birds and blue.
I'm signed up for a group hike tomorrow which might give me my first view of a grizzly bear on foot. Me on foot, I mean, not the bear--I've seen them from vehicles. I've heard one recent report from a hiker seeing one from one of the trails we'll be on, and another report from someone driving by the area and seeing one several times in the past couple weeks. Actually, I've thought of not doing the hike for various reasons but the chance of a griz encounter will probably get me there.
There's another group hike I'm scheduled for in two weeks, but I probably will skip that one because I just learned of the Yellowstone Music Festival which is the same day and sounds like something I need a lot more right now.