Sunday, May 29, 2011

10 Days Later.

I had been so proud of myself for consistently posting; however, it's hard when you don't live in an area that encompasses an internet signal.  I'm not trying to make excuses and just to be better - but I'm not going to lie about the challenges that I feel.

I haven't even had any chances to go out and take photos!  My desk arrived (I'm working as the asst. front office manager at Canyon Lodge this summer) and it has been pretty much non-stop training since then.  I've also been using my film camera a bit, which means I miss out on half the photos to instantly have access to.  We moved up to Canyon today - in the middle of a snow storm.  The good news of that is that we can still go skiing, which I plan on doing tomorrow!

Just wanted to quick check in - I hope everything is going fantastically with everyone!

“Oh, these vast, calm, measureless mountain days, inciting at once to work and rest!  Days in whose light everything seems equally divine, opening a thousand windows to show us God.  Nevermore, however weary, should one faint by the way gains the blessings of one mountain day; whatever his fate, long life, short life, stormy or calm, he is rich forever.” 
                                                                                                 – John Muir

Thursday, May 19, 2011


“The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.”
                                                  -John Muir

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

First Camping Trip.

Windy Forest Trail

This past weekend, we decided to go on the first camping trip of the season.  I am pretty sore and exhausted today – but I had a blast the last few days.  The only part of the park that is remotely dry and almost completely uncovered from snow is the northern edge. 

We started out at the Hellroaring Creek trailheaded.  Our friend, Jesse, walked with us to the suspension bridge, but then stopped to hang up his hammock and relax for the afternoon. 

 We continued on to the Hellroaring Creek, where you have the option to ford or to walk an extra 3.6 miles to a footbridge and then back (to where you can see the sign explaining this about 100 yards on the other side of the bank).  We didn’t think about it being springtime, so we had to take the extra detour because of the melting snow swelling all the rivers and streams.

Goose and her Gosling.
By the time we got around the river, the sun was starting to set over the valley that we were meandering through.  The valley is pretty marshy with raging streams coming down from the mountain runoff that we had to navigate through.  The almost full moon rose up behind a hill that was being grazed by a small gang of bison.

About the time we were starting to turn on our headlamps and rely heavily on the light from the moon, we herd a strange noise.  Graham, who was about 20 feet ahead of Adam and me, came back to us with a terrified look on his face.   Suddenly two grouse flew out of the trees to our left and across the trail.  We were glad that it was just a couple of birds – and we were almost to our campsite.

The next morning, we headed back to the road via Blacktail Canyon.  It was beautiful, prime bear country – although, I think the grouse were the scariest thing we saw on the whole trip.  At first, I was a little sad to see winter leaving, but now I am excited that summer is getting started. 

Running Summer Mileage:  36 miles

Friday, May 13, 2011

Farmer Pa.

"I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want to own."
                                                                                              -Andy Warhol

When we were on our break, we visited my dad's land out in east Texas.  It's near the historic marker for Muddig, which I have attempted to do some quick internet research on and wasn't able to find much.  All I could find was a flickr member's description that includes, "This road is gravel now, but the thick sticky blackland mud roads out here can stop an average driver in a 4 wheel drive vehicle in less than a hundred yards. If you can drive a two wheel drive vehicle down one of these roads when it's muddy, you are one hell of a driver."  My dad does this on the black, sticky mud - at about 40 mph.

One morning I woke up early and took some photos while Graham slept in.  It was an absolutely beautiful morning and fell in love with the property.  He has 40 acres and is attempting to encourage the regrowth of Texas Native Grasses.  They typically hold on to a continued existence by surviving along the fences that separate the lands into farming plots.  My dad has cleared out a lot of the brush and crowded trees to provide space.  He mows once a year - in every August - to provide the grasses with their best growth chances during the fall months.

There are a couple of ponds, one that was there and one that has been added, and a little A-frame cabin that my dad has put extensive work into.  He has taken it from an almost bare (and what was there was often rotten) cabin to a fully livable (or almost) home.  He has raised the whole thing approx. 10 ft, added a bathroom (with a fully working toilet and soon shower), and currently is adding a kitchen sink.  The whole thing is heated by a wood burning stove and kept cool by opening the windows, which isn't technically that cool in the Texas heat. 

I will admit that the cabin and land was a sore subject with me for a while; however, I can see how happy it makes my dad.  After my experiences (and my alterations in priorities), I can understand why.  It's nice to be able to have a place that you call yours that isn't surrounded by everybody else's zooming around.  I'm proud of my dad's land and the solitude and happiness provided to him.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


“From form to form, beauty to beauty, ever changing, never resting, all are speeding on with love’s enthusiasm, singing with the stars the eternal song of creation.”
                                                                                                   –John Muir.

It’s almost the one-year anniversary from the date that I first stepped into Yellowstone National Park, which has become my home in almost every sense of the word.  It’s a place where I feel most comfortable in my surroundings – whether it be relaxing next to the Canyon with me feet up or tromping through the woods.  It’s a place that I strive to know as much about as possible – from the wildflowers that are first starting to peep through the melting snow to the bears that have recently awoken from their winter slumber. 

The changes that occur throughout the year are so much more prominent in the springtime.  The snow is starting to melt (especially at Mammoth Hot Springs, where I’m living at for the next few weeks) and details of the earth’s beauty that have been lingering under winter’s hold are starting to reveal themselves. 


The Sagebrush Buttercup made a welcome appearance in time to help provide nourishment to the newborn Red Dogs that have started to dot the herds of winter weary Bison.  The yearlings that have toughed it out through one of the harshest winters the park has seen in years has been playing and romping with extra energy from the sun’s heat. 

A variety of birds have started making their migrations north.  One of my favorite birds, the Mountain Blue Birds, has started looking for partners by dancing in the evening around carefully chosen nesting sites.  There is a Snowshoe Hare that I have discovered living near the top of the Mammoth Terraces and have often seen eating grass and dandelions around sunset. 

Although there are days that truly feel and smell like spring, there are still the occasional snow flurries.  Areas located higher in elevation still contain up to 22 feet of snow, keeping the mountains under winter’s grip.   It’s only a matter of time ‘til the snow melts and is running from the mountaintops through the rivers and eventually out into the ocean or possibly used to quench the thirst of a newborn.