Saturday, October 30, 2010

Flashback

Back in the good old days at Yellowstone, I provided a link to the employee photo contest winners which included the winner in the wildlife category: an injured bison being chased down a snowy road by a grizzly.

That photo and the story behind it is now getting more publicity, including a sequence of 14 photos of the chase. The accompanying story says the bison had been burned in one of the geothermal areas, escaped the grizzly, only to be killed by rangers the next day.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

"Sure Is Flat Here."

So I said to myself when I woke up somewhere in Minnesota Saturday morning. On the positive side, after five months in Yellowstone, climbing the hills of Duluth seems much easier than it used to. And it was nice to see some hardwood forests along the way, even with most of the limbs bare. But the couple who'd just met performing a variety of sex acts under the blanket across the bus aisle was a little odd. I think I'd probably have had a more satisfying relationship back in Yellowstone if I'd been that casual, but too late now.

Back in time in Bozeman, the lecture/slides evening about wolves in Yellowstone was very interesting. Wolves are a huge issue out there now--on the list, off the list, planned hunt, hunt stopped, mix and repeat. The evening was a reminder that as cool as Yellowstone is as a place to live, it's not complete freedom for the animals but only for as long as they don't interfere with human interests. Along with the elk and bears which were harassed by rangers while I was in Mammoth, I learned in Bozeman that a wolf had been killed near Old Faithful in 2009 (?) (out of sight of tourists) because s/he had followed people. And a pack who moved in and were killing elk right in Mammoth (also in 2009 if I remember correctly--the info is packed) were hazed out of the area. The folks who reintroduced wolves to Yellowstone are in favor of hunting them in the surrounding states as the only way to placate those (ranchers, hunters, etc.) who don't want them there at all. It may all be very practical, but just as Yellowstone isn't legally wilderness, it shouldn't be thought of as a complete sanctuary for animals either, just a relative one.

That final morning I'd stopped by the office and said my goodbyes, in some cases the last time I'll see those people. I left a box of my stuff tucked away by my desk. A coworker gave me a ride to Bozeman and we had a good talk all the way about the place and people--it was a good way to end it for now.

So here I am in Duluth. The Lake is still pretty; it's a great Lake, superior to any Yellowstone lake. But all the cars and houses and people (and not people I recognize from my little Mammoth community)--it feels like such a strange way to live now. But I've seen a couple friends, and had some good food (my old favorite "mock duck" in garlic sauce twice already), and oh yeah, I'm a Duluthian again. I signed a four month lease to live in the building next to the one I lived in for eight years.

I'll be back riding the buses early Wednesday to head east for a couple weeks to reduce my earthly possessions again and ship the remainder here, and to go to the veggie food fest in Boston. I'm leaving another box of my stuff here so I don't have to carry it back and forth, and can carry different stuff back instead of paying to ship it. I'm spreading myself out around the country like a long distance hiker caching supplies. I think I'll reunite us all in Yellowstone in the spring and see what happens from there.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Last Night in the Park

I took a few of my usual local walks today, looking around with as much wonder and delight as the first time I saw it. Actually, that's not true. I looked with more wonder and delight now that this place has become a part of me. This evening I kept getting restless in the room and going outside to see it all one more time. Yellowstone is a very difficult place to leave. Or as I put it during my work review today, "I'm only leaving because you're making me." If things work out as several people are planning it, I'll be back here to work in March.

I'll spend tomorrow in Bozeman and had checked to see if anything interesting will be going on. I discovered that Dr. Doug Smith, head of Yellowstone's Wolf Project will be speaking at the museum. So I'll have a bit of a transition evening there as well as the chance to try a new and highly recommended Thai restaurant.

Then on to Duluth to see friends and hunt for a place to live for four months. If I have no luck, I'll probably take the bus back to Bozeman and look there.

One last Yellowstone item--I'd like to introduce you to two of the people I met here. I don't like to link to pdf items but this one is worth the exception. Scroll down to page 8 and the very well-written article about a 68 year old woman who took her first hike ever here and went on to walk over 500 miles this summer, five years after breaking her hip. The pictured author is one of the folks who led hikes, trips, and other employee recreation events.

"We'll always have Yellowstone."

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Short Attention Span Wrap-Up

I finally made it to the brink of the falls and Artist's Point for the stunning view of the canyon, but I didn't have my camera. Maybe next year.

I won't be in Yellowstone this winter. I will be back in May barring unforeseen events (which is not necessarily the same as unlikely events).

Four elk jousted with clicking antlers beside the hotel, hoping that next year they'd be big enough to be in charge. Occasionally they'd swap opponents.

The guest cabins at Mammoth extend to the bottom of the hills. A couple days after they were closed for the season and became a low activity area, a beautiful coyote came strolling out a few feet away from me as I walked home from work.

I hear Bozeman has a great new Thai restaurant downtown which I'm looking forward to trying in a week, and the coop plans to open a smaller downtown branch with deli. An appealing town.

There is one less odd but lovable cat in the world tonight. There's nothing more I can say about that. Now the best thing I have to look forward to is Duluth's library (assuming I can find a place to live there) and the more than two dozen newly published books which I've added to my to be read list since I've been here.

I believe the Antelope Creek fire is out. The last update I saw said it had burned 4400 acres, but the heavy sight and smell of smoke in the air here has been missing for the past couple days.

I never did hear a cause of death of the large grizzly whose body was found and after a rapid start to the season, the number of both bear and human fatalities here stopped rising quite a while ago.

Most of my stuff is packed, and I've started accumulating the paperwork I need to leave in good graces next week. It's been a mostly good experience in a fantastic location, and now that I've learned the newbie's lessons I think a second season would be better if it happens.