Monday, June 28, 2010


I do have to I was working on updating my last post, a bear ran across the field next to our dorm. I could see it from my window. It's pretty sweet to be this close to the wild. There are usually buffalo grazing on the grass next to the parking lot too. Ha ha, I laugh every time I see them. :)

Day Thirty-two - Forty-two

Day Thirty-two – Forty-two:

I finally have better internet access! I will be able to up date much better now. They changed something in our dorms so I have access from my room and its not so slow. Yay! Lots of things have happened since I last wrote. I will try to get it all in here and not make it too lengthy.

The weekend after I wrote last was full of some fun activities. Friday after work we went to hike Ice Lake. The first half of the trail was a young forest. After the fires in 1988 the pine cones that fell re-seeded the entire area. Its amazing how fire is necessary for forest life to continue. The second half was a prettier trail. There was a beautiful waterfall along the way as well. After our hike we went to the town of West Yellowstone to check it out and get some dinner. (Unfortunately while trying to get some better food we got some of the worst Mexican food ever!) On the way there we got stuck in a Bison Jam. We spent nearly two hours moving slowly while the buffalo were in the middle of the road. We got home late after that trip and saw some coyote running on the side of the road in the dark. That was pretty neat.

Saturday we spent with some friends. We met a couple in the Badlands that were on there way to work here at Yellowstone. We met up with them when we first arrived and then again a few days after we started working. They invited us over to their RV. We had a great time playing games and sharing dinner. It was also fun to see inside an RV. Josh and I are definitely interested in owning one some day.

On Sunday we drove into Cody, WY on a Wal-Mart run. We walked around the town too. There was a Native American Pow-wow going on, but we ended up not stopping. We did get a nice lunch there at a historic hotel.

Monday and Tuesday didn’t hold much. We worked different schedules and it rained some of the time. Wednesday was a little more exciting. After work we went on a scenic cruise on the Lake Queen II. It was a ride around Lake Yellowstone, giving some history and interesting facts of the area. Of all the thousands of thermal influences in the park 60% are located in the Lake. But surprisingly it still only has an average summer temperature of 45 degrees. As employees we got to ride free. Many of the tours are free to employees when there is space available.

After the Lake tour we drove to Lake Butte Overlook. On our way there we were stopped by a Grizzly Bear on the side of the road. I took a lot of pictures of him. He was so cool digging around in the grass for food and rolling around. It was the closest I’ve ever been to a bear and he got a little close for comfort at times. He was really fun to watch. He wandered out of view after a while so we continued on our way. We went up to the overlook to watch the sunset. It was amazing. The sun set over the lake into the mountains. We were sitting on an old tree that fell after some fires. Most of the trees in the immediate area were dead from fire. It was interesting to see the contrast of the dead trees against the gorgeous sunset. We really enjoyed spending that time together.

Thursday I was off and did some Birthday shopping for Josh. On my way to Canyon I saw a bunch of cars stopped and decided to get out and see what it was. By the Yellowstone River there was a coyote! He was just hanging out. It looked like we wanted to cross, but the water was moving too quickly. I watched him for a while. Later that day we went to Old Faithful to try to get on a sunset tour. It started raining though, so we skipped it.

The next day we did a Full Moon Hike up Mt. Washburn. That was awesome. We started out in the evening and on our way up the sunset. It was a fairly strenuous hike going uphill the whole way. It started to get cloudy and we were afraid we would miss the moon, but on one curve in the trail we saw the moon perfectly haloed by some clouds. It was amazing. At the top the view was darkened by the clouds and I would love to go again and see the view in the daylight. We didn’t stay very long at the top because there was lightning in the distance and we didn’t want to get stuck in a storm on the mountain. The descent was much quicker. I did find how slow of a hiker I am. I didn’t realize it until I was in a group of people that hike fast. It must be my short legs. I took a picture of the moon on the lake when we got back. It was amazingly beautiful. It was much brighter in real life, but this picture shows it pretty well.

Saturday our plans changed. We slept in late because we didn’t get home until almost one in the morning. And when we got up it was rainy, so our plan to go on long overnight hike was postponed. (we realized later we could have still done it because it cleared up by noon) We went instead to West Yellowstone to see an IMAX. As employees we got some free tickets and then got discounts on a second one. The first we watched as on Yellowstone. It was a lot of history on the people that explored the area and how it first became a National Park. The second we watched was on Caves. That was very interesting. This world is full of so much variety in the creatures, the geology and just everything. It blows my mind.

This is White Dome Geyser. We saw it going off as we drove up to it, but it finished once we got close. It is located near Firehole Lake. An amazing lake that steams all over from the thermal influences underneath.

On our way home we stopped at Old Faithful to see the Geyser Basin. I got lots of pictures of the various geysers and got a good picture of Old Faithful. I have more photos, but I can't post everything. We didn’t see everything there because the area is very big. It’s an easy trip for later though.

The next day we did go on a long hike. The trail was called Cygnet Lakes. It was similar to the Ice Lake trail with all the young trees. One part opened out to a view of a meadow that was spectacular. At the end it opens into another meadow where the lakes are located. It’s strange to hike through trees and then all of a sudden be in a huge clearing. That was our longest hike yet. It was a good eight miles. We were beat after that.

We did go to check out a Ranger Museum that was nearby. It gave some history on how the National Park Service got started. It’s a great invention for our parks. After that we went to the Norris Geyser Basin. We didn’t walk all of it because we were worn out, but we saw most of it. This was probably my favorite area so far. The colors in some of the pools are just amazing. It makes me just stand in awe of the creativity of God. Why he made some bacteria to be bright orange and another green I don’t know, but it is beautiful.

Now we are back to work for the week. We have some big hikes planned for weekends and we’ll hit some more little ones during the week when we can. It’s finally warming up here. The sun is so bright and the sky so big and beautiful. I love it!

I should be able to up date a little more often now that the internet is better. Sorry I’ve been taking so long to share!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day Twenty-five - Thirty-one

Day Twenty-five – Thirty-one:

Let me think…We’ve been busy! Work takes up a bit of time during the day. We’re getting some good hours which is nice. I’m not quite enjoying my job, but its not bad. I like the people I work with and my background at Starbucks helps me enjoy “connecting” with customers. Josh’s job is going well too. He does a lot of walking. Quite a change from sitting at a desk!

We were both off last Sunday, so we went to hike Ribbon Lake. It’s a beautiful hike that leads us through a pine forest to a remote lake. The lake was situated on the top of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. We followed one trail that took us to the edge of the canyon for an amazing view. I was a little freaked out being so close to the edge, but it was so beautiful. That hike wore us out quite a bit, but it is so worth it every time. I don’t think we can get tired of hiking.

The next few days we weren’t able to go anywhere. There was a slight oil leak in the car and we were waiting on a part to get to us. Josh was able to fix it very easily though. And then we were free to drive places! This park is so big that we need transportation to get everywhere. There aren’t too many hikes right in this area.

Once the car was fixed we went one evening to Canyon (another area in the park). Near there is a Mud Volcano. We stopped to check it out. Steam is created underground from water being heated by magma. It pushes its way up and in some areas it gushes out through mud, creating a goopy boiling pot. It’s really cool. In other areas there is sulfur steaming up from the ground. It bubbles up into pools of water creating an extremely acidic mixture. Certain types of bacteria (I can’t remember what they are called) live in these extreme conditions. The different types of bacteria are bright colored making rings and trails of colors flowing from the boiling water. Its amazing.

Yesterday I was off all during the day, so while Josh worked I hiked. I hiked the nearby trail called Elephant Back. We had done it before, but I didn’t want to just sit in our dorm room, so I got out. It was very refreshing to just get outside and breathe the fresh air and see the beauty of God’s creation.

Later I went with some friends from work to Lone Star Geyser. That hike was very easy. It was on an old paved road so it was very flat and smooth. There was a beautiful river that wound around the trail. The geyser was a very unique shape. We missed it going off, it had erupted about twenty minutes before we got there and it was going to be another three hours before it went again. We did get to see the steam pouring out of the top which was really neat. We didn’t stay to see it blow since we all had to get back to work.

After all this hiking I’m already a quarter of the way to reaching my One Hundred Miles. (Yeah, I joined the club!) Josh reached his hundred last time he was here. He is now in the Five Hundred Mile Club. I doubt he’ll reach that this year, but if we ever come again he can keep working on it.

And I must tell you that is actually snowing right now. I think we have encountered all four seasons since we’ve been here. It is quite odd. The weather changes suddenly and drastically. And the sun is out for a very long time. It rises before five-thirty and doesn’t go down until after nine. Plenty of light for hiking activities!

I don’t have much else to share right now. Today I got an extra day off. My boss said I’ve been working so hard that he’s rewarding me with a day off. I took it since my legs are so sore from hiking over nine miles yesterday and then bussing tables all night. I don’t mind resting sometimes! And I can update this. We miss you all and would love to hear from some of you!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Day Seventeen - Twenty-Four

Day Seventeen - Twenty-Four:

Well not too much has happened this past week. Josh started work, his job is alright. We’ve met some cool people and hung out with them a little. It rained for almost a whole week straight so we weren’t able to do any hiking.

Last Thursday we played bingo in one of the dorms. It was hilarious. There are a bunch of older ladies that all talk smack and joke the whole time. We’ll probably go again.

One day cleared up a little so we took a muddy hike called Storm Point. It was just a nice easy hike. It goes out to a beautiful view of Lake Yellowstone. One cove off the lake was still full of ice and each way made it sound like glass clattering. It was pretty sweet. I didn’t have my camera on that hike so I didn’t get any pictures, but I won’t forget it again!

I started my job too. It’s ok. I miss Starbucks! My training has been very unorganized and not well put together. We recently learned that Xanterra (the company we work for at the park) is one of the worst companies in America to work for. But oh well, we aren’t here for the jobs!

The sun has stayed out for a couple of days now. Last night we had an area meeting so we couldn’t go hike, and tonight I have to work. Hopefully we will get some time off soon so we can go be outdoors!

It has been difficult for me to get online. There isn’t wi-fi in my dorm so I have to go next door. And its pretty slow. (Technology isn’t a big thing here.) I have more pictures from my last post that I wanted to put on, but it wouldn’t connect. I will do my best to get some posted and let you know what we are up to.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day Eleven - Sixteen

Day Eleven (Part Two):

After we did our laundry and took showers in Gardiner, we headed back into the park. We had to get our employee sticker for the car so we can enter the gate easily, so we went to the visitor center in Mammoth. At the visitor center we got our National Park Passport stamped too. (kinda cheesy but I like it) There were also some museum type items and facts to read in the visitor center so we looked around there for awhile.

Mammoth is the location of the old army outpost that was established before the National Park Service. There are several old army buildings and all the lawns are kept manicured as part of the history of the area. One of the funniest sites to see is the Elk wandering around the cut grass, eating it, laying on it, and just hanging out.

I believe on this day (they really started to run together and I am having difficulty remembering what we did on what days!) we went to see Tower Falls. On our way there we saw a black bear! Usually when there is a wildlife spotting there are many cars pulled on the side of the road and people are out pointing and taking pictures.

Near Tower Falls is a hike we were going to attempt that takes us to a Petrified Tree, but it was threatening rain, so we drove to the sight instead. (Of course it didn’t rain!) The tree was pretty cool. There is along strenuous hike that goes to more petrified trees. Josh went on it before, but we didn’t have the time to try it out yet.

Tower Falls was absolutely beautiful! It is tucked back into a small canyon. It’s amazing how mesmerizing falling water can be. We stayed and watched it for a while. There are some other walks around that area too, that we checked out. Such amazingly beautiful land everywhere!

Later this day we went back out to Gardiner for dinner. (Ramen and peanut butter sandwiches get old fast.) We went to a local burger spot and I had a buffalo burger and Josh had an Elk burger. Both were very tasty. We ended the evening just hanging out by the fire playing cards and making s’mores. Life is good!

Day Twelve:

We finally decided to leave our campsite. The plan was to drive down to Grand Teton to camp. It took several hours to actually get to Grand Teton National Park. Yellowstone is such a large place. On our way out we stopped at Moose Falls. When it gets a little warmer we will be able to swim there. There are over three hundred waterfalls in Yellowstone. Each one is beautiful in its own way.

Once we were in Grand Teton National Park, the mountains started getting bigger. The Rocky Mountains extend way up this way and the Grand Teton Range is part of it. They are so amazing! I absolutely love mountains. We drove close to the range and I got a few pictures. Unfortunately it started to get cloudy, so the mountains started getting covered up. The temperature started dropping too.

We arrived at the Visitor Center at the southern part of the park (it doesn’t take as long to drive through it). We got our passport stamped and asked about camping in the area. There is an area called Jenny Lake that is supposed to be the prettiest. And there is some good hiking around there. At the visitor center they had the weather posted. It didn’t look good. Rain and cold and snow. I didn’t want to camp in cold, wet weather so we drove on toward Jackson, WY. (Just south of the park)

Fortunately we found a place that wasn’t out of our price range. We got a room and then went into town to check it out and find some food. The town is neat, but it definitely felt upper class. It’s strange how different towns will have a certain feel to the place. Snake River Brewery was fitting for us so we had a nice dinner. I failed to take any pictures while we were there. It was raining and I was getting so burnt out on travel and I know we’ll head that way again while we are here. After dinner we crashed in our room.

Day Thirteen:

The weather was still wet and cold. I voted for another night in the hotel. The only time we went out was to get food. The rest of the day we stayed inside and were completely lazy. I think the altitude was really getting to both of us and we just needed some rest.

On our way back from breakfast, I did see a hawk swoop down and catch a little bird. That was the most excitement for that day!

Day Fourteen:

Back into Yellowstone we go! The weather was finally going to be dry (still very cold, but dry!). First we drove up to West Thumb and went to see the Geyser Basin in that area. While we were there it snowed on us! The geysers and hot pools were pretty neat. There are so many colors in the pools from the bacteria that grow at different temperatures. This basin was on the edge of Lewis Lake and there were geysers on the shoreline.

After taking a walk in the snowy geyser basin, we headed out to our campsite. We stayed a Norris this time. The sites had a different look. More trees and hills were around this site. And there were buffalo and bears roaming around. That makes things a little more interesting!

It started to get very cold even with the fire going and lots of layers on. We were in for a chilly night. We had to bundle up quite a bit to try to stay warm. I woke up a few times with chills. It was hard sleeping there, but it’s all part of the experience.

Day Fifteen:

As soon as morning hit we packed up and were out of there. We were so frozen through, that we just had to get moving. We went into Gardiner again to do some laundry. This was our last day before check-in at Yellowstone. We didn’t want to arrive with dirty clothes. And we didn’t want to be smelly so we had booked a room at Chico Hot Springs.

After the laundry was done we had time to kill before we could get our room at Chico, so we headed a little farther and went to Livingston, MT. While we were there we found a neat little spot for a picnic, Sacajuwea Park. There was a pleasant walk along the Yellowstone River and a big swingset just for fun.

We still had some time so we found a little museum, the Yellowstone Gateway Museum. Back in the early days of the park people rode the Northern-Pacific Railway to get there. The main train station was in Livingston. From there they could continue to Gardiner or take a stagecoach.

The Museum was really neat. It was full of all kinds of local memorabilia. Our favorite part was all about Yellowstone. There were photos from the first Geological Survey of the area. Old photos are amazing. I liked the old pictures of the people from Livingston.

When we got to Chico we soaked in the hot spring for a little while. It was pretty crowed though because it was holiday. We went to bed somewhat early too. Morning was going to come quickly. We didn’t want to be late for check-in!

Day Sixteen:

We are official! This morning we arrived on time and got all our paper work in order, our pictures taken for our IDs. We also got our uniforms for our specific jobs. Of course they suck and don’t fit well. I hope I can at least wear some normal fitting khakis for one of my uniforms. The other one it got was some nice checkered pants and white shirt with a sweet chef’s hat. I’ll be ok with that one. Josh got a nice looking outfit.

After that we got some lunch in the employee dining room and then hung out for a bit. We had to go to our general orientation that afternoon. We learned some bear safety and some interesting facts about the park.