Yellowstone: June 16th, 2013

Female Elk (3)In previous blog posts I’ve mentioned having weird dreams but this morning takes the cake! Have you ever heard your name being called in the middle of the night or right when you are dozing off? I think it’s fairly common and experts say it’s a hallucination of a sleepy mind. I woke up at about 4 am to a disembodied voice say something. The freaky part is that Brooke, one of the new forest ecologists from Wisconsin, woke up at the same time and started yelling “What? What did you say? Who is there?” I just hid under my covers and freaked out. I would have never believed that two people could have the same hallucination or hear the same disembodied voice. The next morning, I formally introduced myself and asked her if she remembered any strangeness in the early hours. She had no recollection of yelling into mid-air in the wee hours of the morn.

Besides disturbing my new dorm-mate with stories of strange voices and such, I started the day off by creating a mock-up of the book I’m writing–with Cassie illustrating. I got farther than I’d imagined and am feeling really good about the potential benefits of having a book like this available. When my ideas became less than awesome I took a break and went to the Fishing Bridge general store to eye the fishing poles and lures. I’ve been manhandling their fishing gear every day since I arrived. When I saw there was only one more metallic green pole left, I knew it was time to spring into action. I gathered up the pole, a lure, a huge hunting knife and went for it. Then I headed to the marina to purchase a fishing license for the entire season. Now I need to find me some pliers to crush the barbs down (a requirement in the park since it does less damage to the fish). There are only a few species considered native to the area and the rest you are legally required to kill. You can either puncture their swim bladders and let them sink to the bottom of the lake (which adds nutrients to this nutrient-deficient ecosystem) or eat them. I’m not sure I am capable of either. I’m a bleeding-heart sucker but we shall see, maybe I will get in touch with my inner mountain man.

The afternoon was spent hiking the West Thumb Lake Overlook. It’s an easy hike with a beautiful view of Yellowstone Lake. On the way back to the car I literally ran into a herd of elk. Since they are not hunted in the Park, they’re accustomed to having humans up in their grill taking photos of them. They didn’t mind me being there at all. I took a photo or two and continued on. As I walked back to the car, I couldn’t help but consider the 4+ million visitors to the Park, most of whom only stay for less than 1.5 days. They’re idea of enjoying the Park is the cheap and dirty pay-off. It’s the view from their tour bus window or the instant gratification of a roadside peek at a herd of bison or elk. Most never get to feel the exhilaration of stumbling into the middle of a herd of bedded down elk. It’s better than nothing I guess, but to me it’s still sad.

Now I’m back at the dorm, sitting at the picnic table, typing this. Just behind me, our favorite bison from years passed, named Swing Set, is lying down next to the playground equipment he’s named after and it looks like he’s brought a friend. Awe. We also have a marmot scurrying around the dorm. Chunky little waddler! He ate the corner of our grass welcome mat. Gross!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

1 response to Yellowstone: June 16th, 2013

  1. Jess says:

    When I was there I found a book at the gift shop about the ghosts of Yellowstone. No doubt there are a few!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s