This morning it is raining/snowing, so it is a good time to upload some photos and do this update. Poor Jack has to crawl around under buildings today. The rain/snow should stop around noon I think. I was planning to drive into West Yellowstone today to pick up some things at the grocery. Not sure now that I will do that if the weather is not good. I may ask Megan if she would like to go. Her husband Jake works in maintenance, and she is home, in an rv, with 2 adorable small children and some cats. This young family from…Wisconsin maybe, has been full timing for a year or so. They don’t know where they will head after this season, but prefer somewhere warm! There are a lot of full timers here, mostly retired couples.

The Lerv is filling up, with many new people pulling in over the last week. The Lerv houses Xanterra employees, Delaware North employees, and Yellowstone Association employees. We like it here, it is clean, we have ample space, getting to know people, and Jack can share rides to work as most maintenance folk live here, so I can have the jeep sometimes. They still plan for us to move to Fishing Bridge RV park, but if so, that won’t be til mid-June probably. We will go where we are asked with a smile on our faces, but truthfully, this is nicer and would give a break from park visitor questions. However, our summer is in God’s hands and we will live wherever and do whatever we are asked, trusting that the Lord has His perfect reasons and plans!

Speaking of doing whatever, my job keeps changing! They can’t decide what to do with me! First, I applied for a registration job (GSA) back in the fall maybe? Remember, I flunked the typing test, so they offered me a cashier job. I decided that the cashier was lower stress, because it wasn’t a big store or anything and I was pretty happy about that. Then before we left to come here, they called and said, “hey, since you are coming out early with Jack, we are going to cross train you for both cashier and GSA.” I said OK. They said “GSA makes more money”. I said “I don’t care” (but thought, hmmm, more responsibility…). So then after we get here, the Fishing Bridge manager, Jan, comes by and says “we have decided to keep you as a cashier”. I’m like, “cool”. So most of the folks I know start their GSA training while I am still a lady of leisure. And when they come home, they are overwhelmed with the antiquated computer system they have to use and the stuff to learn, so I am REALLY happy to be a cashier. THEN, Jan comes by AGAIN this week and says “we are making you a GSA”. I have to continue to follow my cashier schedule for the next week or so, then start GSA training with the folks coming in to work at Bridge Bay campground on May 9. After I finish that, I will be put on the schedule for
Fishing Bridge. Hopefully everyone will know what they are doing by then, so they can help me! Jan said “I know you will do great as a GSA”, and I told her “if you REALLY thought that, you’d have given me that job when I applied for it in November!” She assures me I will be great and love it. She assured me of that about cashier too. LOL, poor Jan has to try to sell all this stuff after the higher ups change their minds! (Been there done that) So Margie, the senior campground attendant, encourages me to “stand up for myself” and tell them no if I don’t want to do it. And if it doesn’t work out for me there, I can work with her. By the end of the summer, I may end up trained for every campground position. LOL.

The last bit of drama about living in Yellowstone in the preseason is that a memo went out reminding us that we could not “recreate” in closed areas of the park. Poor little Megan was approached by a park ranger when she stopped in a roadside pullout to look over the valley. Now, we all LIVE in a closed area of the park. As a matter of fact MOST of my pics are from my drive through the closed area we live in, which we have to drive to get to somewhere OPEN. So, it is kind of a joke. “Don’t be recreating!”, “oh, this is the only location I can get cell service”, “thought I heard my car making a noise, so stopped to listen”. I totally get that it is not safe for us to go out on trails in this area right now, that NPS resources are committed to getting things opened and part of the reason for closure has to do with bear locations and habits at this time of year, and they don’t need to run after us if we get lost, injured, or trapped. But, we are driving on a main road, and sometimes pull safely off the road in a designated viewing spot to view the amazing scenery and wildlife Yellowstone has to offer! Jack and I ran into a young couple from Russia, I think, as I opened up the gate to leave the Lake area to go to Canyon, which is open. This couple was trying to get to Cody, where they had reservations for the night. Jack explained that this road was closed to the public, and the east entrance to the park was closed to the public, so they would have to back track to where they came from and go around the park and not through it to get to Cody. They were so frustrated, as that would add hours onto their at least 2 hour journey. Jack explained that even if we let them through, there would be other gates to go through, and they wouldn’t even be able to get out of the park! Also, the mountain pass to Cody can be closed anytime for snow, avalanche….Only 2 of 5 entrances are open, north and west. Maybe 3, not sure about northeast, but east and south are definitely closed. The young couple decided to go to West Yellowstone and call and cancel their reservation in Cody.

Speaking of West Yellowstone, last weekend Jack finally got 2 days off. We took off on Saturday and headed west. Went to the Artist’s Paint Pots, a pretty cool thermal feature and Gibbon Falls (the ranger station said a mama grizzly and cubs were spotted around Gibbon Falls, but we didn’t see anything along the way except bison and some elk). We went to Old Faithful and had lunch, and then watched the world’s most famous geyser. Glad to have done that before there are thousands there! There were, however, more people there than I have seen in 2 weeks!

We spent Saturday night in West Yellowstone, and found a small church to attend on Sunday morning.

That was great, as I really miss worship service! Very nice folks, invited us to breakfast. We will probably go back as we are able for their Wed eve Bible study, as it appears that from here on out, our days off (after I am done training) SHOULD be Tues and Wed. May be some good connections for fishing and hunting outside of the park 😉. West Yellowstone is a pretty easy drive, about an hour and a half straight through, at least for now. It is reported to be horribly slow during peak season with lots and lots of traffic.

Yesterday Martha had the day off so we headed out to recreate in the forbidden area on our way to the open area! Hayden Valley, between the Lerv and the gate before we get to Canyon, is an amazing spot to see wildlife! Saw a bear through binoculars, but too far away for a pic. Saw our buddy the wolf, both going and coming through the valley. I’ve seen him 4 times. He seems to stay fairly close to the road, which probably isn’t very good for him. And he’s always alone, so I wonder if he got run out of a pack. I have seen him enough to declare him MY wolf. There are only 90-100 wolves in this park of over 2 million acres and I have seen this guy 4 times! Super exciting!!!

We also went up to the falls at Canyon. Saw this osprey nest, with an osprey on it, which was cool, but it got even cooler! We were talking to this couple from New Zealand and watching the nest and saw the mate return to the nest and take over egg-sitting duty while the other took off. Then a raven came by trying to get to the nest and we watched the osprey chase that raven for some time to get him away from the nest. They were so fast I couldn’t even begin to capture it!

Included some other photos from last week. Who would have thought that bison could swim? Martha and I watched a group/herd/whatever of bison cross the river one day. Those massive hulks of muscle that lumber slowly down the road can swim pretty fast! It is so awesome to be here when there are so few people around. A sight like that will cause a traffic jam for miles come summer! It is so cool to watch the snow melt and things just begin to green up. Attached a pic of Yellowstone Lake. The mountains turn pink when the sun starts to go down. Sometimes the lake and the sky are the same color and the pink mountains appear just to be floating. I am just awed by the beauty and am so honored to be here to experience it. Photo here of home sweet home, in case you wondered. And of my position yesterday afternoon. Most of the snow around the rv is gone, but still a big pile in back. Yesterday was gorgeous and the sun is so warm even when the temperature is not so much. I do think it was about 60 yesterday. As I sat on my “front porch”, the sky seemed so deep and so blue, and the clouds so white and so close, different, somehow, better, than at home. Everytime I turn around I am brought to tears (in a good and thankful way!) by this place. As I sat there, the Lerv manager, Bethany ran over and said “hey Jodie, you have a pine….something or other….. on your snow pile”, and she starts running around my rv. I never saw it. She said it is a weasel type thing about 2-3 feet long with a bushy tail. Then again, as Jack and I were walking around the park later in the evening, we stopped to talk with one of the maintenance guys, and Bethany and the guy’s wife come bursting out of their rv saying “there’s the PINE MARTEN again!” I told Jack I thought Bethany was trying to take me on the Wyoming version of a snipe hunt! But then I did see something fairly large (as compared to squirrels and chipmunks!) scurry under a shed. Didn’t get a good look, but googled it later! You will have to do the same. They like to burrow in snow, so I guess I will have to spend time staring at my snow pile before it is gone!

My upcoming schedule, a meeting at Fishing Bridge on Saturday, a bus tour on Sunday (I guess so we can experience it and “upsell” the activities as campers roll in). I may have a meeting Monday eve. Jack is off Tuesday and Wednesday, and we may go up to Bozeman MT. Looking for a lap top. I have cashier training on Thursday, and start GSA training on Saturday the 9th. Fishing Bridge opens partially on May 8.

Guess now I will try to add this and my pics, fingers crossed!!!

Additional photos below
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