Every year, millions of people make plans to come here for vacation. Never one to go with the crowd, I've been busy making plans to leave here for vacation(s). And this morning I finalized arrangements for one of them--in mid-November, I'll be riding the City of New Orleans all the way down to the city of New Orleans and revisiting a place which reawakened me in the late 80s when I was struggling through a couple years in Corporate Amerika. Amazingly, it's already having the same effect from 1500 miles away.
Going there never would have seriously crossed my mind if a coworker hadn't gone recently. When I heard she was going, we started talking about the place and her enthusiasm (despite the fact that she goes there regularly) was contagious, and the conversations about musicians serendipitous--I went to work one morning intending to ask her if she knew of someone I'd listened to years ago because I'd just discovered he plays almost weekly at a club a couple blocks from where I'll be staying. Before I had the chance, she was telling me about another club where he plays with a couple other musicians. Along with my own research and memories, I'll be getting lots of tips about restaurants and clubs in the coming weeks.
And in the process of figuring out how I was going to travel to New Orleans, I found that a bus route between Duluth and Marquette is running again so I'll probably spend a couple days over there because I thought I'd never be able to get to the UP again. It probably won't be that cold and snowy for the all night bus trips along the winding Yooper roads in early November, but you never know. And the return bus still leaves Marquette in the wee hours just like in the old days!
The road to happiness:
Well, Gardiner, anyway.
What's been happening in Yellowstone? We've got another dead hiker, a Yooper in fact. Although the news release said the cause of death is unknown (that is, was it a bear attack or bear scavenging?), I've heard three bear traps were flown into the area yesterday but I don't know if they're intended for one bear or a sow with two cubs. Doesn't sound good for the bear(s) involved. I've read the suggestion of suicide by the man in a couple places, and Yellowstone is a popular place for it. Even if not intentional suicide, hiking that trail (Mary Mountain) alone without bear spray is certainly tempting fate. Three weeks ago as we drove past the trailhead, a Yellowstone Association guide said, "I'd never hike that trail without bear spray."
On the other hand, several rooms at the Old Faithful Inn had to be evacuated when a guest, who I'd wager has never stepped more than a few feet away from a car here, used bear spray on a mouse. Really, I can't make this stuff up.
I did another hike to Lost Lake. It's still there, and some of the thimbleberries were ripe. I could barely see them, but I ate as many as I could find when we passed them at dusk.
The terraces are still here too and as lovely as ever.
Although we've been having an uncomfortable hot spell at Mammoth with a spectacular display of lightning crossing the sky a couple nights ago, the season is changing. There are warbling yellow flashes, and almost all the ground squirrels are back underground til spring. On a couple days outside the office, we saw a bull snake investigating the squirrel holes.
The photo contest winners haven't been announced yet, but all the votes are in. One of my five photos made it past the initial cuts where about 3/4 of the submissions are eliminated. I don't expect it to win (I only voted it third myself) but I'll do a post on the contest when you can see the winners.
And this Thursday, I've got the day off and based on all I've heard about the area where we're going, I should have some spectacular scenery for you next weekend.
Laissez les bon temps rouler!
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