Monday, April 26, 2010

Hike Number One, Yellowstone National Park

Whoopee! At last we went for a hike.  Sitting in class has made me feel like I could be anyplace, but today I became nature woman.  I put on my hiking boots, grabbed my bottled water, and set off with 5 of my classmates.  Stella, who is one of our team leaders, guided us on our hike.  Of course, she can cross country ski for days at a time, but she graciously took it easy on us.

I'll show you a map first so that you have some idea where we were.

We are staying in Mammoth Hot Springs which is at the top left of the map.  We drove east to Roosevelt, which is a primitive camping area and parked our cars there.  Roosevelt isn't open yet and the road is blocked off.  We were able to walk the road which is kind of amateur hiking, but good enough for me.  We made it to Tower Falls and back which is five miles.  I felt like Rocky at the top of the steps.  I made it!

Here are a selection of pictures from our hike.

He's a little far away, but we saw this black bear while we were driving.  He scampered off when we pulled out our cameras.  Just a little shy.

See that tiny black speck by  the tree?  If we had binoculars right now, you would see another black bear.  He has had a bison carcass in the water for several days.  He's sunning himself, thinking about taking a few more bites later in the afternoon.

Here's crazy Dave.  He's working night desk.  His voices told him it would be a good option for him.

Proof that I made it to the top of this road.

This picture is for the hubby.  He loves rocks.

These are marmots.  Basically large ground squirrels.  They posed for us and later did a little song and dance.  They're such hams.

This is a view of the Yellowstone River from the road.

That's Tower Falls in the background.  Well worth the hike.

More cool rock formations for the hubby.

A babbling brook for babbling brook fans.

A dead thing because it is nature.  Ted thought it was a bison skull.  I know it wasn't Bob from our hotel parking lot, because I saw him this morning.

Driving back to Mammoth, we got in the noon bison jam.  You notice that we stayed in the car.

These are the bison on the other side of the road.

Did you know the females have horns too?  I just thought there were a lot of guys around.  Maybe some kind of gay bison community.  What do I know?  Many of the females are pregnant.  I can't wait to see the calves, but from a distance.  Mamas are protective.

Here are my thoughts about working in Yellowstone for today.

Just to make it clear, you report for duty at the Human Resources Office in Gardiner, Montana.  They give you a park pass and you drive 5 miles to Mammoth Hot Springs.  The hotel is closed right now but will open in a couple of weeks.  Everyone goes through a brief orientation there and then moves on to  their  permanent  location.  Since I was selected for a Guest Services position, I stayed in Mammoth for training.  They are putting us up in the hotel for the two weeks.

People arrive at many different times.  The Park opens in stages with Old Faithful being the area that opens first.  Normally there would be a lot of snow in the northern part of the Park, but it is dry for now.  It can snow in June or July, so you have to be prepared for all kinds of weather.  It is said that you can have all four seasons in one day here.

Things to bring:
Sun screen for your face and other exposed body parts (you are at a high altitude and will burn easier.)
Water bottle.  You need to drink a lot of fluids because of the altitude.
Headache medication.  Until you get used to the altitude, you may wake up with a headache.
A winter hat and a ball cap.
Backpack for your water bottle, camera, snacks and other hiking gear.
Get some cool hiking clothes.  I suggest a turtle neck, a vest, fleece jacket, hiking socks, hiking  get the idea.  You need to layer as it starts out cold, but as you walk, you start shedding clothing.  You don't want anything too bulky as you want to put discarded clothing in your backpack.
The pros suggest rain pants in case a storm comes up.  These are also light weight so that they can be kept in your backpack.
Chap stick...lots of it.  You get very dry up here.

I'm sure I'll think of more things later but there is plenty of time to add to the list.

I have a single room right now.  Oh joy, oh rapture.  My 20 year old roommate is having a tough time adjusting.  Now she has a horrible cold and has slept for 24 hours.  I asked for my own room so that I can hopefully avoid getting sick.  My own room.  What sweet words.

If you have questions, please ask.  If I don't know the answer, I will find out.

Same time tomorrow.


POD said...

Wow, this is progress! I'm feeling a bit sorry for your ex roomie though (having had a cold the past several weeks). You are so courageous in a way I am not - to do this adventure.
It's great to live vicariously through you.

(I agree with the parking meter thing and death. I prefer died as opposed to passed away or anything remotely goofy). Passed, expired, bought the farm).
Please be careful of those babbling brook fans. They sound silly.

greentangle said...

So, very cool. The hike makes some of the other things tolerable. And the single room--I would have gladly let them take twice as much from my check for a single room if that were an option.

So you've already had internet problems? I imagine it gets worse when all the rest of us get there. How's the food? Of course, I'm a vegetarian expecting four months of salad bar, but how is what you're eating?

darlin said...

I'm one of the babbling brook fans, awesome photo! I now understand why you are doing what you are, it's beautiful there! You're really connecting with nature and what an awesome experience, good for you for making it all that way on your hike! You've got a ton of spunk Judy... you go girl!

Mike said...

Hi Judy. Great adventure for you. Love the critters and the rock formations. You were looking down at the river so what do you think your elevation was there and what is the elevation of Yellowstone Lake which you haven't seen yet? When I come out this summer, we will have to check out Speciman Ridge which has rare petrified trees embedded vertically. Have you seen a geyser yet? Can't wait for your next hike!

David Barnes said...

I was in a West Yellowstone pizzeria last night and someone was talking about how there is quicksand in park. Look out for quicksand!

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