Yellowstone: June 14th, 2013

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It’s been another glorious day here in Smellystone (don’t worry, it’s a good smelly). Strange dreams are still afoot but I‘m taking it in stride. Work uneventfully started at 8 am with a review of the field season schedule and then a trip to Indian Pond. Deb was disappointed with the water level and loss of amphibian habitat happening in the pond. In 2006, I remember it being far more expansive and Deb told me it was because 06 was a decent year for water. It seems like droughts are becoming an increasing threat to this ecosystem. Thus, we may find a lot of dry wetlands this year. There’s nothing more disappointing than a 5 mile off-trail hike over mature, burnt forest with thick regrowth only to find your once bountiful wetland has become a dried up puddle. Hopefully the amphibians can compensate for this. We finished for the day at 10 am and then the Park was my oyster. I read and relaxed for several hours and then headed to West Thumb and Old Faithful, stopping along the lake shore, the continental divide and Kepler Cascade along the way. I took way more photos than necessary but that’s better than none at all. It’s nice to be reunited with my digital camera. I’m having to learn its tricks all over again. I’m in love with the panorama function so be ready for panoramas galore. The trip was just heavenly, apart from the weather. It was a brisk 35 degrees, cloudy with intermittent freezing rain and hail. I persevered because bad weather is the best time to see the major landmarks–it keeps the hoards of tourists at bay. I managed to miss Old Faithful go off twice while I was there. The second time I climbed to the overlook for a better view of her but I grew impatient so I figured I would walk around for a bit. I ended up in this dark forested area without my bear spray or SPOT device to call for help. I began to whistle thinking it would scare off any bears but then I remembered from bear training that whistles sound like dying animals to a bear. So I began to worry that my whistling combined with the huckleberry lotion I tried on in the gift shop just minutes before would not work in my favor. I retreated and halfway through my backtrack I heard the oohing and ahhing of the crowd witnessing Old Faithful do her thing. Douh! It sounded delightful.

If you have the chance, visit the Old Faithful Visitors Center. They have a fantastic little museum there. I was completely enthralled with their underwater footage of Yellowstone Lake. Their gift shop is tip-top as well. I managed to purchase these quilting blocks from the store:

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Now I can’t wait to get home and make something! Okay… I can wait.

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