Monday, August 30, 2010

Driven Away By Rain and Snow

I awoke this morning to the clouds moving in, the winds picking up, and rain starting to fall. I broke camp and checked the forecast. Mixed snow and rain all day! Not terribly good weather for much of what I wanted to do. So I took another suggestion from the ladies of Conrad, MT and went to Cody for the day.
It was a good decision because on leaving the park I ran into 3 different buffalo herds, one of which was straddling the roadway. The first group of five was "hiding" behind the Soda Butte, but eventually they moved out from behind. I got some great pictures!

The trip to Cody was wild! The roadway climbed up to 8000 feet with lots of switchbacks and beautiful views of the Shoshone Mountains. One bridge going over a river was about 1000 feet high. Bungy jumping anyone?

After geting into Cody, I went to the Buffalo Bill Historical Museum. It actually has five different parts, but the most interesting one was the Museum of the American Indian of the Plains. It had actual clothing, ceremonial garb, weapons and tools from the various indian tribes dating from the mid-to-late 1800's. It has been described as the Smithsonian of the Plains Indians. The picture is of Sitting Bull's tomahawk, given to the Army when he surrendered.

Tonight, I am staying at the Buffalo Bill State Park which overlooks the Buffalo Bill Reservoir which is created by the Buffalo Bill Dam. Do you see a pattern here?
By the way, the local Walmart here in Cody is filled with RV's!

Geothermal Day

Well after a great sleep I decided to head off for the Norris area and Mammoth Hot Springs on Sunday. The Norris area has two large areas of geysers, hot water springs, etc. A varied pallette of colors, sounds and smells. Certainly sulfur was the prevalent odor! But the noises ranged from a washing machine to a jet engine to air being let out of a balloon. Green was algae. Orange was iron. Bluish-green was minerals. It stimulated all the senses!

I've include a picture of Mammoth Hot Springs as well. It is a large geothermal feature with water running on the surface! I ended up camping near the Northeast entrance at Pebble Creek. A pretty typical mountain stream passes beside it.

Lastly, the campers next to me last night were a mother and son from Nebraska, Kathy and Jim. So many interesting coincidences. Art, she is a veterinarian, but believe it or not she graduated from Kansas State University! Her husband passed away 3 1/2 years ago, but when he was alive, he too was a Big Brother to a 9-year-old at one time. Her older son (who chose not to go on this trip) had a bout with cancer but is now fine. She had brought her son who is going into 6th grade to camp by herself being more comfortable in the city. She knows that he needs ways to embrace his masculinity because his father is no longer alive, but she admits that it is challenging for her. I offered help with building a fire and showing Jim how to chop wood.

How tested she has been by life, yet she gives so lovingly what she can to her son, trying to learn as she goes. I know that this encounter reaffirms for me that the focus of my volunteer work will remain with boys who lack a positive masculine influence in their life and suffer with self-esteem. Kathy and Jim, thank you for that gift of clarity!

Arrival At Yellowstone

Late afternoon on Saturday I arrived at the Madison Campground, just east of West Yellowstone. On my entrance into the park, I was greeted by a welcoming committee... a group of elk!

On my way to the park, I stopped at Big Sky, which is one of the premier ski areas out west. I got a good idea about the area and the terrain and where I might rent an on-mountain condo that had an ideal location. Any takers for the year after next?
Met a great guy from Maine in the campground. He is a retired middle-school science teacher. Hey, Frank, that could be you in a few short years!