Fumeroles and Ungulates in the Park

Trip Start Aug 19, 2006
Trip End Oct 30, 2006

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I had despaired of the possibility, but today it finally happened. We had fun. All day!

Departed Bill's fabulous cabin, which by the way, if you are suffering from insomnia, make haste to this hideaway! I average six hours of sleep per night, no matter where I am. At Bill's, I slept almost 8 hours last night and a whopping 10 hours the night before that... Chris says it's the altitude but I have never slept that long at Robert's cabin, even after a long day of fishing. Basically, the house has amazing sleep juju...

Headed toward Big Timber, MT via Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks... After a few hours in the park, I remembered why this is mecca and nowhere else. It is simply gorgeous. Up until this moment, for the past few weeks, I've been pretty dead set on finding a way to move to Kanab. But, after a few hours in Yellowstone, I now remember why this is it. Kanab has the color, no doubt, and the temperate climate. But Yellowstone... with it's changing terrain, sweeping vistas, and rivers and creeks everywhere ! There just isn't enough water in Kanab and, more importantly, Kanab isn't protected like Yellowstone. So there's no guarantee, you know? of course, if Bush & Co. keep it up, there's no guarantees about any of the parks, either.

I really think that it should have been an unofficial mandate that every president after TR should have to set aside a parcel of land for preservation. Even if it's an acre. Conservation should be a priority. And the thing is, you see that it can work, b/c it works in Yellowstone. It's so awesome to see cars stop and yield to the elk, the buffalo and the moose. Why can't it be like that everywhere??? Here, man and animals do co-exist and the only difference between here and the rest of the country is that sometimes, man has to defer to the animals... is that really so bad??? I find it sad that you have to be in a national park or at least National Forest or BLM land before you see wildlife anymore... at least alive wildlife...

I've been in the northern part of the park before, and back in the Thorofare, but had not yet been to the Southern end of the park. Today, I got to see Old Faithful. It was very cool, even tho the height of the spout wasn't all that spectacular (80 ft as opposed to say 180 ft) - cool, nevertheless.

We watched this movie while waiting for Old Faithful's next blow (you know we arrived in the parking lot just as OF went off) that explained the caldera for the GP who know nothing. Two cool previously unknown facts:

the water/mud/steam you see bubbling up is approximately 100 years old! It's water that was sucked down anywhere up to 100 miles down from the earth's surface and then propelled back up towards the surface.

the North America plate is moving at a rate of inch per year over the Yellowstone "hot spot."

Okay, so what's so wild about the second thing? Well, first you have to know that the hot spot could blow any minute. It's something like 60,000 years past due. And if it does, bye bye everything you know... But in a small scale, if the plate moves in such a way as to cover up the hole to the center of the earth that Old Faithful spouts out of, well, won't you be sad you never saw it if you never did?

As cool as OF was, what REALLY got me off was the paintpots! I can't tell you why I thought these were the coolest except that they, like volcanoes and hurricanes, are reminders that we are soooooo not in control of our environment. When I look at molten limestone bubbling as if it were set on high on a gas stove, I just can't help thinking how insignificant I am, much less my problems, or my perceived problems! And the steam coming out of the earth just makes you feel so insignificant... but in a good way ;-)

Checked out the Fire Hole River, with all that steam coming out everywhere - also very cool... I don't know about you but I do get sensory overload out in nature, especially when the terrain is changing and there's something new to see every few minutes...

We made it as far as Mammoth and stayed at the camp ground. Did I mention we have no way of knowing how much or how little propane we have in the tank, short of disengaging it from its storage place at the front of the trailer? And that it has been REALLY cold (by my standards at least)?

Back in Logan, UT, we pulled off the road at a State CG to overnight, and didn't bother to unhook Bokeh. The site wasn't all that level, but it wasn't like we were sleeping with our feet 10 above or heads or anything... anyway, we think but are not sure that the angle of the trailer and the steady rain worked together to get rainwater in the spot Chris was suspicious of from the get go... the result? Our tempurpedic mattress was SOAKED by the time we got to Jackson... What does this have to do with propane and cold? Well, hang on, I'm getting there!!

Tempurpedic, being composed of Swedish "space age" materials, are mold-resistant, so although I wasn't worried about that, I did want to make sure it was dry before we had to sleep on it again. Having no idea we would be lounging around in Jackson for three days, I decided to turn the heat on in Bokeh to dry that mattress out! So, for three days, the heater ran, fueled by propane heat. The last time we filled up the propane tank was in Albuquerque, NM. The only thing the propane runs other than the heater is the gas stove (duh) and the refrigerator, and only the latter when Bokeh is not plugged in to an electrical source. Sooooooooo, we've gone a really long time on one tank of propane, and it didn't quit until sometime between I got up to pee at 3:40am this morning and 6am when we both woke up - me obviously colder than Chris... No morning hot beverage, and not much of a difference between outside and inside. Brrrrrr...

Poor Chris, he's convinced that rv'ing instead of sleeping in his tent on a thermarest is making him soft!

Speaking of soft, the other bizarre thing about the tempurpedic (you thought I was going somewhere else with this, didn't you!?!) mattress is that when it's cold - like it was before we turned the heat on in Jackson, the bed gets hard as a rock. And I mean rock. No give at all. Solid rock. In the heat, however, it's really soft - but the mattress itself never gets hot or cold, which is weird... anyway.

So, here I am in Livingston, MT. Chris took Bokeh to Big Timber so we don't have to drag her all the way to Seattle, then he's coming back to pick me up before we head to Bozeman, where we will be interviewing an Italian baker who relocated to MT after Katrina and opened "Mezzo Matto." After that, we go to Coeur d'Alene, ID, see what we can find there, and then on to Seattle to stay with my sister Karin.

Now, I'm off to find a Thrift Store with gently used Patagonia fleece tops... I thought I'd find such a thing in Jackson, and end up with Brooke Shields' old ski parka or something, but apparently rich folks in Jackson either throw their old clothes in the trash or keep them forever!

Mountain House Beef Teriyaki with Rice
8 out of 10
Too salty, says Chris. I thought it was surprisingly tasty. I don't care for rice, Chris likes rice just fine, but we both agreed it would be better with noodles. Chris was bored with it before getting half way through. It's definitely got a kick to it, that's for sure. The score of 8 is from my 9 and Chris' 7.

Things we HATE
Getting passed on the road by a car who lays on the horn at us like we're *choosing* to go 15mph uphill!! Sheesh...

Things we LOVE
Yellowstone National Park and all that that entails...
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