Our drive to Yellowstone from Billings was a bit hairy.
Sari battled semis, and occasionally, a regular vehicle, but mostly. . .
H-i-i-i-i-igh winds, which, every so often,
threatened to pitch the car off the road . . .
Seventy miles from Jackson, the following conversation ensues:
“We gotta get something to eat!” H says agitatedly.
As we serendipitously pass a cemetery, she adds, “Or we’ll end up there. . .”
From the back seat, I mutter, “Donner – party of three?”
A bit nervously, Sari chimes in, “We’re not that bad yet!”
We’re still speeding towards Jackson,
but now actively trying to find some subsistence.
“West 9500th Road is out here ! ” H exclaims.
Gives you some perspective.
* * *
Luckily, none of us expired that night
* * *
As we swooped up to the entrance to Jellystone,
the ranger (Kayla’s doppelganger!) greeted us,
“Look out for dah buffalo, coyote, wolves and dah-bears, ya hear?
Alrighty, so enjoy the park. . .”
* * *
But OH BY THE WAY due to snowy weather,
and THE FACT THAT IT’S STILL WINTER ROUND HEAH
the south entrance is still closed
and yah, that means you’re basically screwed, people
Now shove off and Good Day !”
Unable to tackle any main trails,
we did find there was some
compensation in the off-season
You see, driving in Yellowstone was ridiculous.
Ridiculously crowded with wildlife, that is . . .
We were positively giddy with delight.
Little did we know what we were in for. . .
This park-dwelling fella
ambled alongside the road,
just doh-dee-doh-ing along,
seemingly unaware of the
ruckus he was causing!!
Still doh-dee-doh’ing along
Without a care in the world . . . but perhaps some curiosity. . .
These photographers told us they’d been following
Mr. Boo Boo for two days. . .
How lucky we were to just drive by the commotion . . .
Guess who decided to join us up in all the commotion?
As we all sped up ahead to wait for Mr. BooBoo
to walk into view again, a ranger was following us too,
So when Mr. B-B decided to head for the road,
Ranger Rick was desperate to keep peeps from doing something stupid
Like getting too close to Mr. Boo Boo
H and S are yelling at me to get in the car and roll the window up
cause Boo Boo is now less than six feet from us and closing in leisurely!!!
At that moment, Sari takes this amazing shot with her cell. . .
As Mr. Boo Boo shows us his backside
he looks kinda wet and matty,
but still terribly adorable. . .
Just walkin’ through his neighborhood
with an admirable je ne sais quoi
He heads into the woods. . .
Traveling to places unknown. . .
Goodbye not-so-little Fuzzy Bear. . .
thanks for making our day. . .
* * *
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings,
Nature’s peace will flow into you
as Sunshine flows into trees,
The Winds will blow their own freshness
into you and the storms their
energy, while cares will drop off
like autumn leaves
– John Muir
* * *
Before we visit the Geysers
we are beset by more American natives —
Tutanka – the brave and bold bison
Quietly parked across from four buffalo in a valley
we’re contentedly watching these shaggy wildebeasts lunch. . .
when out of the blue, Sari comments,
“I like to watch ’em move . . .”
And so they do. . . Magnificently !
Eureka ! Baby Tutanka !!!
Notice how Mum is giving us the evil eye. . .
Very quickly, the terrain turns extra-terrestial. . .
Entering the strange world of Geysers. . .
where the world burps and belches and sputters and spews
it was cold out so the warm misty air that floated past us
from the boiling pools was most welcome. . .
the sulphuric smell is strong and initially unpleasant,
but you get used to it, strangely enough
Signs warned visitors not to step off the wooden walkways
as the ground temps are hot enough to scorch combat boots
Amazingly, we saw numerous footprints
near these volcanic hot pools
of the brave and the stupid doing just that. . .
“I don’t understand why roads have to be so curvy,” Sari says, in a moment of pique.
“I hate not knowing when it’s gonna curve.”
Should I tell her about the conspiracy between the town builders,
and the road workers, and tire makers, and auto industry,
and all that kind of curves-for-profit stuff?
Nahhhh. . .
At the end of the day, we headed back to Jackson and our hotel
when we suddenly see lots of blue sky and fluffy clouds ahead
perhaps we should try and see what’s been enshrouded in fog for days
so we turn around and head towards
“those damned bosoms” as Sari says,
(inspired by the lonely French explorers
who named Le Grand Tetons)
for a quick reconnaissance
but as we leave Jackson the view grows more fog-laden
seemingly unchanged from the last two days
and the bottoms of the Tetons continue to tantalize
peeking out coquettishly from under the dense clouds.
Having viewed all the other spectacular bubbling pools and geysers
by the time we make it to Old Faithful,
I find myself scribbling in my notebook,
“A bit of a sputter, if you ask me.”
Sari is convinced “perma clouds” have overtaken the Tetons.
In Jackson we woke up to a hazy sun . . .
We learned that three million peeps
descend upon Jackson Hole every year,
a town that supports a mere 8,000. . .
Ever optimistic, we head back to Jellystone
to see if the south entrance has opened. . .
Write “9” goals in red says
Ellen Whitehurst on the Bob and Sherry Show.
Then read the goals in the a.m. and p.m.
Plant it in yer subconscious, she advises.
After all “Thoughts are things.”
* * *
One night, while we’re waiting for dinner,
we’ve popped into one of those “Despair” type of towns
just outside of Jackson.
Somehow H brings up her negativity and
she has an “Oprah epiphany” concerned she may have passed her negativity
on her to her dochka. I’m taking photos of the restaurant so I missed the conversation. . .
It doesn’t seem right to ask for a re-hash
While we are leaving the endless park,
we notice a photog with his tripod situated by the Snake River.
I run out and ask him what’s to see?
He tells us a blue heron just flew away when the car just before us drove up.
During the ride, we read from H’s Frommer’s Yellowstone and Grand Teton Guides:
” Everything You Need for an Unforgettable Vacation”
We learn ravens are symbiotic friends of wolves leading them to prey
so after wolves catch their prey, ravens can scavenge the leftover carcass.
So that’s why this curious big guy who
leapt up on Sari’s side view mirror
made H and S scream . . .
while I hung out the back window
pointing at more buffalo across the way,
When I turned to see what the screams were about
our large black feathered friend cocked his head
and looked in on us. . . as though to say
hey, come on out, it’s supper time ! !
Donner party of 3?
The fascinating world of scat and animal foot prints
intrigued us at the Old Faithful Gift Shoppe
Apparently magpies have been known to tease wolves for not catching mountain goats.
Our last morning in Jackson, we find a nearby local eatery
It’s very cowboyish, the locals grumbling over their coffee
and gossiping about shenanigans in the Valley.
Sari has a visceral reaction to anything cowboy-ish.
* * *
As we leave Jellystone Park, we see cars stopped haphazardly
along the shoulders–
And you know what that means !! We are seriously excited. . .
We quickly find out as a grizzly mama with two cubs
scramble calmly down the bank next to us
and then proceed to cross directly behind us
while I hear different yells of: “Get in the car Lady!
You’re too close ! ” As Momma bear crosses
with cubs in tow . . . . Schweeeeet!!
she’s trying to get to the valley across the road,
I realize the lady they’re yelling at is me
My heart is just pounding like crazy,
but I will not miss this shot, People !!
Bear and cubs calmly cross to valley.
Cubs scrambling underneath mama or scampering accordion-like,
but always strictly ridiculously adhesively adhering next to Mama
Once again a trusty ranger catches up to all the action
and directs me to move my derriere into the vee-hi-cull.
Yes Sir ! He’s not only politely forceful,
he’s quite handsome too. . . apparently a job requirement
Though not as handsome as these local creatures . . .
When we get back to Minneapolis,
H asks, Do you know how amazing that was we saw the cubs?
Cubs are only born every other year. . .
Shaking with excitement, my camera chose that moment to inform me my card was full
so I grabbed H’s Casio, whose battery promptly died, so I grabbed my cell and started snappin’.
It was very confusing and frantic. Only now can I look at the pics and think, wow,
we saw all these beautiful creatures. They were just feet away from us.
I had maybe a few meditative moments to enjoy the experience, but I was too nerved up
with all the cameras to fully appreciate what was happening? You know?
And although H’s camera doesn’t focus after zooming,
and I really should have brought Ireney’s,
but who knew we’d run into all these amazing creatures,
still, it’s all good. . . one mustn’t get greedy . . .
< Sigh >
Stay tuned for more exciting local action. . .