Saturday, June 11, 2011

Elk Calves, Cookout

The elk put on a show one night last week.

That fence isn't about the elk--it's about the construction going on at our dorm. They might have been better off if they had been fenced in though, because a bear or bears continue to wipe out elk calves around Mammoth at a high rate. Three or four were killed in the past couple days, so all those in the photos could already be dead. Even in the developed parts of Yellowstone, life isn't easy. Despite the tourists who want to pet the animals and ask about swimming pools and televisions and microwaves (no, there aren't any), this isn't Disneyland or a resort and hopefully never will be.

Last night, over 150 employees including me went to a free shakedown (practice) cookout over at Roosevelt. It was a lot of fun and everyone involved did a great job, from the wagon drivers to the storytelling guides to the coffee pourer and the cooks to the singing cowboy. Tonight they start for real with paying customers--over 200 people attend every night, and I heard many employees say they plan to go back and pay to do it again this summer. OK, maybe it is a little like a resort.

Crossing the prairie.

Our team of Shorty and Squirt.

Wagons parked by the cookout site.

How many marmots can you find in the following photo?

OK, that wasn't too difficult because it was a relative closeup, but you can see how well camouflaged they are on a hillside of those rocks.

On the way back, we passed Phantom Lake which is a roadside meadow which is usually dry during the summer. Right now because of all the winter snow and spring rain, there really is a good sized lake there. The water was still, the setting sunlight was coming in at a low angle over mountain top and through clouds, the shoreline trees and various colors appeared in the water in the most stunningly beautiful reflection I've ever seen. Although everyone oohed and ahhed and others were stopped taking photos, our driver didn't stop so I can't share the moment. I did take some sky shots through the moving car's window shortly afterward.

I have a three day weekend and then only two more days to work in my first job of the season before switching next week. It's been a good three months, and if my decision were based only on the jobs I'd apply to work a ten month stretch here beginning in December but there are other factors I'll have to consider.

I passed up a long hiking offer today of a trail I'd like to do because I started getting a cold yesterday and I'm still trying to decide whether to do my shorter local hike today or just hang out in the room. Monday I have to choose between a hike and a trip to Bozeman.


Allan Stellar said...

Sounds fun...

And I finally got around to reading Turner's "Abstract Wild". I had to read it twice to drink it in. Still, I'm not sure that I get it. Highlights were his decision to hang up academia in order to pursue his passion after reading Naess. And I like his emphasis on developing a Deep Ecology lifestyle. And how to have the human not extirpate everything. As for the Abstract part of the wild---he asks good questions, but just doesn't quite arrive at what he means by the "wild". Can you help me figure it out?

greentangle said...

Glad you read and enjoyed at least parts of it. I'd have to reread it to try to answer your question. I expect I will read it again some day but probably not in the near future.

I think he's mostly concerned with how removed we are from real interaction with the natural world, but I recall that in his book about Yellowstone he seemed to suggest that wolves now in Yellowstone don't qualify as wild because their ancestors were brought here which seemed nonsensical to me, but maybe I'm not remembering correctly.