Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Luge Day is always an exciting day.  Who wouldn't love hopping in a sled and flying down a track as fast as you can?  I didn't get as many photos as I would have liked of actual luge participants - but I did get a few portraits that I really enjoy.


Gunga Ga Lunga!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gunga Ga Lunga!!!

It's official - the 2012 Snow Lodge Winter Olympic games have begun.  The Snow Gods must have been happy with us since it dumped snow all day long.  A parade and speech from the wonderful Bethanie began the winter games.

Bethanie shared the story of young Prince Ràiner, whom was born to the Queen.  There were others that wanted Prince Ràiner so they kidnapped him and took him way over the mountains.  The fearless Birkenbeaners skied out into those mountains and brought young Prince Ràiner back to the Queen.  All Hail Queen Rachel!

The first event is the Rainer cup, a relay race on skis.  We pass along a backpack with a six-pack of soda, which is conveniently the same size that young Prince Ràiner was when he was kidnapped those many years ago.  We lost horribly!  It all started when Graham took off on the first leg and his ski boots popped out of his bindings.  As he struggled to put his boots back in the clip, the strap of the backpack came undone.  Eventually, he did get going but after an obviously slower start than the rest of the racers.  By the time it was my turn (the third leg), I had enough time to take a quick bathroom break between the first switch off and my turn to switch off.  We ended up in last place.

Next was tug-o-war (on skis, of course).  No metal edged skis - safety first.  Tug-o-war is about a lot of drunken trash talking, falling and trying to keep pulling.  Team Rainer always wins.

I'm glad the Olympics are here - it's a nice break from the monotony of the end of the season.  People seem to be excited this year and good participation.  I hope it keeps up until the closing ceremonies - Yellowstone's Birthday, March 1.   Gunga Ga Lunga!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Upper Falls. Spring 2011.
We have 20 days left before we leave Yellowstone forever.  Well not quite forever because that would be unnecessarily dramatic, I'm sure we'll be back sooner than later.  It is definitely strange to think that we aren't coming back this summer.  It's been my home for the last two years - and Graham's a summer longer. 

East View at Inspiration Point.  Summer 2010.
I went on an amazing Canyon Ski tour the other day and was feeling a bit teary eyed when we went out to Inspiration Point.  When you get to the parking area, there are some steps to the right, which I think I've only been done once or twice and there is a view out to the left that takes your eyes down the river meandering through the Canyon for what seems like miles.  It's a view that most people hurry past in the summer to get down the stairs and it's a view in the winter that few get to experience.  I think it's my favorite view.

East View at Inspiration Point. Winter 2012.
I used to love going out to the rim after work to get away from the hustle and bustle of the developed areas.  I would bring my notebook and write about whatever had been on my mind.  As the words escaped through my pen so would the tension and stress be blown away by the warm summer breeze. 

Near the end of my first season, Luke and I had gone for a hike along the North Rim as a farewell and had accidentally gotten off the trail near Crystal Falls.  We followed what must have been an old path that was fine on the side we were on, but once we crossed the stream it had been overgrown.  We scrambled up the hill and found an old building.  I couldn't tell you what it was because Luke was so afraid a Ranger was going to come popping out from behind a tree and give us a fine for being off trail.  We were about 60 seconds away from the Brink of the Upper Falls parking lot but I can still see Luke running off out of fear.

Upper Falls at Night.  Summer 2010.
The next chapter of my life is going to be amazing - hiking from Georgia to Maine with my best friend.  It's certainly getting sad that this chapter will soon be wrapping up.  I'm sure to have a few more nostalgic posts before the end is over - the Canyon has been my backyard, I figured it was the best place to start.

North Rim.  Summer 2010.
P.S. The 2012 Snow Lodge Winter Olympics begin next week!  Gunga Ga Lunga!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Photo Contest.

It's that time of year again - photo contest time.  Tomorrow is the deadline and I got my photos in the mail yesterday - whew!  Here are the three competitors:


The Fantastic Mr. Fox




Waiting with a Friend.

Wish me luck! 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Lost & Found.

It was BEAUTIFUL today!  Clear blue skies, warm temperatures (around 35 F), and I worked all day.  So I went ice-skating during my "cigarette" break and had a ball!

A ("fictional") story:

Rebecca Daisy is a wonderfully kind 76-year-old marathon athlete and cross-country competitive skier from a small town tucked away in the rolling high plains with grand vistas of the Rocky Mountains.  She recently went on vacation – skiing out at the Little Canyon of the Purplerock and along Autumn Creek.  During the last day of her visit, she began to feel under the weather.  It was most likely a cold that caused her to feel a bit more hazy than normal.

After returning home from her vacation, she took a few days to unpack while she waiting for her sore throat and scratchy voice to evaporate.  When she finally went through her bag, she was missing a jacket.  Not just any jacket but one that she had received a few years ago for being the oldest and one of the most active members of her ski club.  She was wearing it when she won the big ski race in Wisconsin last winter.

She called the Front Desk say she had forgotten her jacket hanging in her closet of her cabin.  When she had returned from her Autumn Creek ski, she knows she remembers hanging up the coat she wore (not the one she left but a different one since it had been a fairly warm day and she needed something lighter) next to it.  She just must have missed it since she wasn’t feeling well. 

After clearing her driveway of any accumulated snow, she called back to learn that housekeeping couldn’t find it. Well if the housekeeping staff couldn’t find this very sentimental jacket, then she was would hire the best detective in the land! 

After stewing in her feelings over the lost jacket, she called again before her moonlight ski to see if any new developments had happened.  Bad news – no jacket.  By now, she’s not sure if a detective will be enough, maybe she will need a lawyer as well.

As she was heading out for her ski, she looked in her closet to get her jacket and she found the missing jacket from the ski club!  So she called 411, which connected her to payphone outside the hotel where a random smoker happened to answer.  The confused recipient stopped by the front desk to inform the staff to call of their search – the ski had been lovely and the jacket had been found!

During my last two days at work, we have been accused of stealing twice.  Ms. Daisy (whose name has been changed to protect the innocent) was really a very nice lady (truly - there is no sarcasm in the sentence. I would love to sit down and have a cup of tea with her.).    However, the day before, a totally different lady came down and said that she had left her prescription sunglasses with a pink frame on her desk.  They must have disappeared after housekeeping had been in her room because they aren’t anywhere to be found.  We went looking - lost & found, the lobby, a quick glance in her room (where my boss was attacked by a scarf and he freaked like a little girl).  She asked us to file a police report, which we did, and place a letter of suspension in whomever had cleaned her room's file.  That evening, we discovered she was looking for regular glasses, which we had in our lost & found and promptly returned to her.

Please keep my last two days in mind next time you misplace an item.  The gal behind the front desk will appreciate it.