Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Slough Creek and the Outside World

Sad news from the east and the west in recent days (although for me it's actually east and east).

There's the oil spill into the Yellowstone River by our old friends Exxon. Combine a ruptured underwater pipeline--at one time cutting edge technology just like the newest version which can't possibly go wrong--(42,000 gallons spilled is the last figure I've read, which as usual is many more gallons and much more far-reaching than the company's early spin) and the longest undammed river in the country which happens to be at flood stage and you've got the usual mess. From a selfish point of view, I take a small degree of relief from the fact that the oily river flows away from my location.

And farther east in Boston, Kip Tiernan, one of the better humans, died. She cared about the people who needed to be cared about, an approach to life which has never been very popular in this country. I met her in 1990 during the fast she did at Arlington Street Church, a wonderful UU church which I used to attend. Her reason for the fast is mentioned in this article.

“We should atone for what we have allowed to happen to all poor people in this state, in the name of fiscal austerity or plain mean-spiritedness… . We have, as citizens, much to repent for, for what we have and have not done, to ease the suffering of our sisters and brothers who have no lobby to protect them.’’

She was an inspiring woman, and Boston will be a lesser place without her.

Today I did a hike with a group in the Slough Creek area, which many people claim as their favorite part of the park for reasons ranging from the campground to the fishing to the scenery.





Although it was pretty, I can't really say I enjoyed myself because of the pace of the hike. It was scheduled for eight miles with a return time of 4:00; instead we hiked over ten miles and got back a half hour early. I've never seen the point of get there as fast as you can hiking--I'm a stroller, a saunterer, a meanderer who'd rather go half the distance and notice twice as many interesting plants and animals. By staying behind the group as much as possible, I did manage to find a few of those interesting moments.

Like this critter--at least no one stepped on him as they whizzed past.





And this frog wondering what the hurry was.





I was trying all day to find time to wait for one of the many butterflies to land. Finally found this one in the parking lot.



Of course, I've long known that I'm out of step with my time. There's a reason, after all, that I have that different drummer t-shirt. And I can't complain too much about a program that at least allows me to see places I might never see otherwise, even if the program doesn't let me enjoy them fully.

But there may be hope for improvement, for me and many other people. I don't think there has been public transit in Yellowstone since the days when the stagecoaches were the only way to get anywhere, but local bus companies are planning to start changing that this month with a program called Ride Linx in Yellowstone which will make stops at surrounding towns and in-park lodges, campgrounds, and attractions. I haven't seen info yet on frequency and fares, but I'm hoping this will provide a little more freedom, a little less pollution, and maybe slightly fewer road-killed wildlife.

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