Sept 10 2015 DOES A BEAR S#*T IN THE WOOD? YOU BET IT DOES!


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Published: September 11th 2015
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Fall in Yellowstone is great! Temps are mild, sun is warm, nights are chilly. Crowds lessened, but then they came back Labor day weekend and are hanging around til at least next week. They say this time of year is popular with European visitors and “newly weds and nearly deads”. 2 weeks until Fishing Bridge closes down! Our last day is the 20th. Jack, however, works until Oct. 13 or so. We will move back to the Lerv on Sept 19 or 20 and say goodbye to most of my coworkers.



Our friends Tim and Roxann came out to visit and we had the best time! Bless their hearts, the directions weren’t so clear, I guess, and they were late. Very late. After landing in Billings, I figured they would arrive in Yellowstone around 6pm. We were at a cookout at Jim and Norma’s watching every car that came in, looking for them. I tried to call, but couldn’t reach them. Finally, I tried texting and did. (Score one for texting over voice conversations! LOL) They had driven right past Fishing Bridge and clear over to the west side of the park. We eventually did meet up, it was late, they were exhausted, and we all hit the hay!



The next day we sent them to Old Faithful (because honestly, I don’t care if I ever go back to it…) and Jack and I went to work. Then that evening we drove into Cody and had a great dinner and went to the last rodeo of the season. 50% off in the gift shop, woohoo!



On Tuesday we took a fishing charter out on Yellowstone Lake. Had no luck the first couple of hours, but at the end we started catching cutthroat trout. Have to release them, so we did not catch our dinner! Cutthroat trout are the native species in the lake, rivers, and streams. Some years ago Lake trout were introduced for sporting and they have taken over, so they have to be kept or killed. We told our guide, Dan, that we wanted to catch Lake trout so we could have supper, but that didn’t happen. Dan was very nice and brought us fish from his own freezer later that day. We weren’t home at the time, so he left it at Jim and Norma’s, and we didn’t even know about it until I went back to work Saturday! Anyway,the lake was very calm in the morning when we started out, but was a bit choppy after noon or so. We had a great time, dinner or no dinner! Had lunch, checked Tim and Rox into their accomodations at the Canyon Lodge. Went to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and the Upper and Lower Falls, and watched some elk in the Hayden Valley.



Wednesday we went to the Lone Star Geyser. It was amazing. About a 2 mile hike back to it, but at least it is not hilly! It is quite a pretty walk through the forest along a creek. It is one of the few paths that bicyclists are able/allowed to use. The geyser goes off about every 3 hours, and it spouts a little bit for a while, then is quiet for about 20 minutes, then it blows. We met some people coming back, and from what they said, we figured we would get there in time to see the big eruption without a 3 hour wait! Jack told them that the geyser should erupt higher and longer than what they saw, but they were sure that was all and continued back. When we got there, there were about 8 people there waiting (and wondering why the people we ran into had left). The geyser spit and sizzled and boiled a little bit, had a small eruption, and then it blew, high and long. It was really cool, and only a few people there as compared to hundreds and hundreds at Old Faithful. We were able to be safely close enough to feel the mist when the wind blew. After we hiked back to the car, we went to the Midway Geyser Basin to see the Grand Prismatic pool since a) Jack had not been there before, and b) Tim and Roxann had disregarded my expert recommendations the day before and did not go there. So hot there, like a sauna with all the steam coming out of those pools! Later, Jack and Tim tried their fly rods in the Firehole River, but with no luck. It was very windy.



Thursday we headed up over the mountain to drive through Lamar Valley and got some pics of Rox’s antelopes. We saw so many mountain goats high up on the ledges near the northeast park entrance. Jack and I look for goats there frequently and don’t find them, but that day there were at least 8 up there. They were far away and high, so as of this moment, I am not sure how the pics will turn out. We had lunch at the Soda Butte Creek picnic area, and Jack and Tim tried fishing again in the creek, but said they saw no fish. A friend of Jack’s later told him he had been out there a day or 2 before us to fish and overheard a conversation in which a park service employee was saying that he had been out poisoning fish in the creek (to get rid of invasive species…). Doesn’t sound very ecologically friendly???? Anyway, after we left there we headed to Mammoth, and then to the Boiling River. The Boiling River is where the water from the hot springs at Mammoth empties into the Gardiner River. Over the years, people have created little “hot tubs” with rocks to soak in. It is a challenge to find the right spot between the very hot water from the hot springs and the very cold water from the river! Tim and Rox snagged a spot, and Jack and I left them and went a little further down stream. He found a place he liked, and as long as he stayed in one position, I was good, but when he shifted, I was burned! Finally found my comfort spot and we soaked for a good while, til we were all pruny. Sorry, no pics of that, we left all our stuff in the car, not wanting to leave camera equipment and stuff just sitting out along the banks. It is about a 15 minute walk along the Gardiner River from the parking lot to the Boiling River.



Finally, on Friday we headed to Cody. Tim and Rox had a reservation in Cody for Friday night and left from there on Sat to return to Billings and fly home early Sun morning. Roxann and I went shopping and the boys went out to the BLM area where we saw the wild mustangs some time ago. They didn’t see the horses but were very excited about seeing rattlesnakes…… We had dinner at Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel and watched the gunfight in the street, then Jack and I headed back to YNP….and back to work….at least it was a short week! Oh yeah, almost forgot, Rox and I stopped at the Buffalo Bill Reservoir and dam for a while. Then we got stranded there. Their fancy rental car had a push button starter. Tim had the key, which apparently has to be nearby the car in order for it to start. Jack and Tim had to backtrack from Cody to rescue us…..



This “weekend” we didn’t travel far. On Tues we headed out toward Cody, stopped and took a short hike along the way in the North Absaroka Wilderness. The Absaroka Mountain range is the largest individual mountain range in the Rockies and is the range that Yellowstone is in. It is also the range supposedly featured in our new favorite tv show, “Longmire” (thanks, Christine and Jim for turning us on to that. Now I have to sign up for Netflix again! We are ready for the new season!) But I digress… just hiked back a mile, maybe less, don’t even know where, there was no trail head name, just a number where we turned off the Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway. It was hot, sunny, dusty, and windy. Plenty of bear scat along the way. Too fresh for my comfort! After that we took care of regular business, jeep maintenance and grocery shopping at Walmart. Picked up a new space heater at TSC and the one we brought was just not heating and it is now COLD at night! Our furnace does not like the really cold temps, like mid 20’s.



Wed morning we took a few minutes for a prank, stealing the Seattle Seahawks flag of my coworker Bill, and replacing it with my Bengals flag. We then left for a hike, and when we returned, Bill had come home for lunch and placed his larger Seahawks flag in my yard. All flags have been returned to their proper homes and a truce called….for now.



We hiked the Elephant Back trail, which I have repeatedly said no to, and especially after that guy was killed in that area! But this time, I said yes. The trail has been reopened for a while and is very busy. Some trail guides say it is a 2.8 mile loop. Some say it is 3.6. My pedometer said 5. All I know is that it is all up hill and I thought I was dying! Some trail guides said that you could barely tell there was an incline until the last 300 (of 900) feet. They lie. The first 600 were difficult and the last 300 torturous! I was looking forward to the summit, with a view overlooking the lake and mountains, with a bench I could rest on for a good long while before going back down! HOWEVER, when we were about 50 yards or so from the top, we met a young couple coming down- frightened- because they had just seen a bear at the top. First they described it as being about 4 feet tall at the shoulders, then 200 lbs, then the size of a Bernese mountain dog, a cub, but no mama in sight. They were very nervous, had no bear spray or anything. The girl was worried about the peanut butter sandwich in her backpack attracting bears. We just turned around and went back down the mountain with them. Going up was strenuous but not painful. Going down painful but not strenuous. And I learned that when you reach the loop part of the trail, going right is the short way and going left is the long way to the summit. We went up, and down the long way. Ugh. Met 3 rangers headed up the trail on the way back, having already got word from other hikers apparently about the bears up there. They are keeping a close eye on that trail since the death of that hiker, even though he did everything wrong and Blaze has been put down. Not placing more value on the bear than the person, but it is still very sad and doesn’t seem right that this bear who was protecting her cubs in her habitat, not on a hiking trail, paid a price for poor human judgement. Enough about that!



We are considering returning next year. Jack really likes his job, his boss, his coworkers. My boss is trying really hard to get everyone to come back. This was a hard year, with most everyone being new, and a lot of turnover. I suggested that the company allow 2 of us to job share, and my boss Jan thought that was a great idea. Norma agreed she may be willing to do that with me, so the idea has been floated by the higher ups and we shall see what happens. I would be interested in returning if I don’t have to work a 5 day week! I think not working at all would be pretty boring. There is only so much to do around an RV, and there are many things I won’t do on my own in the park. And maybe there are better opportunities elsewhere, who knows?



11 days til closing (9 working days). 18 days til Rob and Cass come to visit. Can’t wait!



PS Couldn't get all photos to load....internet too slow. More to come!


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12th September 2015

I vote you guys make the decision on whether you're going back out there ASAP! That way we can start booking accommodations and saving money to come see you next summer!!! Love you!
12th September 2015

We would have so much fun! You would need to check with pediatrician for Baby O and altitude change!

Tot: 1.431s; Tpl: 0.056s; cc: 9; qc: 54; dbt: 0.0313s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 2; ; mem: 1.4mb