Wednesday, April 27, 2011

On Tour

We had another one of those snowy mornings which made everything look like it was photographed in black and white.

Today I went on an employee tour of some of the park. Since my future here was still undecided (my Duluth landlord had no apartments available for May, but did for June and I'd already told my boss from last year that I might be leaving so she could start reviewing applications), the trip felt very bittersweet, perhaps the last time I'd ever see parts of the park.

We made a stop at Fountain Paint Pots, a place I hadn't seen before.

I found the bison we saw there a lot more impressive than the geothermal features. Those ribs show you what a tough winter it has been for the animals here.

Here's a look at the lobby of the Old Faithful Inn. I got to see a lot of the rooms I've been reserving for people for the past month. If you ever stay there, try for a room in the Old House rather than the wings.

Saw my first new bison of the season, if only through a bus window.

The following photo from the Canyon area will give you an idea of how deep the snow still is in the interior of the park. And really, the depth in this photo is nothing--traveling between Canyon and Lake, the drifts by the side of the road were sometimes higher than the bus.

Coming up, one shot of Upper Falls (109 feet) and two of Lower Falls (308 feet). Click on any of the photos for better views.

The road between Canyon and Lake is still closed, but we had the key allowing us to pass through those huge drifts. I've been hearing and seeing quite a few sandhill cranes in recent days and in that section of the park, we spotted a pair running across nothing but whiteness in all directions.

Here's a view from the road beside the lake.

When I returned I learned that my roommate was moving out tonight so my immediate crisis was resolved. Not a situation to celebrate but I was very relieved. I'll be getting a new roommate any day and can only hope it will be a better match for both people.

The situation here is frustrating because I like both of my jobs and I'm good enough at them that the manager of my current one asked where I switched to in the summer and if there was anything he could offer to keep me where I am now. I told him no but that if my upcoming decision were based solely on the jobs, I would gladly apply to work here the annual maximum of ten months (which would be six for him) for seasonal employees, thus making myself eligible for health insurance and all those other things I haven't had in a decade or so.

But the living situation for me here sucks. Some of that is due to my not driving--that would have provided a much easier solution to the most recent problem. But that solution might have been prohibitively expensive given the low pay we get for working here. So I'm stuck with sharing a small room with a stranger even though I'd pay any amount to have a room of my own, and with surviving on food of much lower quality than I eat when I'm living in the outside world.

Hopefully that difficult decision is now delayed until later in the year and I'll be able to enjoy the summer doing many of the things in the park I didn't get to last year. If I get them all done, maybe I'll be ready to leave for good more happily in the fall than I almost left this week.


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