D8: Yellowstone Point...Oh the Majesty

Trip Start Jul 07, 2012
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Trip End Sep 27, 2012


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Flag of United States  , Wyoming
Thursday, July 26, 2012

*Writer's Note: I pen this diary entry late, late at night from a hostel in Boise, Idaho, after a couple (ok, perhaps more than a couple) beers at a few bars downtown with some people I met here. The last bar I went to had a 90s cover band. I'm still in shock from its sheer awesomeness. Anything you might find wrong with tense, spelling, or general couth, please attribute to The Rocco Johnson Band at Humpin' Hannah's in Boise. Goodness, what a wholly wonderful bar name haha.*

This morning was SO cold. Never have I wanted to stay in my sleeping bag more than at 7:45 AM on this day, already late in terms of needing to be ready by 9 AM, because every centimeter outside the sleeping bag felt like ice. In fact, I slept in a hoodie, hat, socks, pants, and long sleeve shirt because it was as cold as an Arctic lake (I don't care that this is an extreme exaggeration. It was COLD!) So cold, in fact, that my backpack was completely caked by frost. Lovely.

But, enough bitching about the cold. I feel confident you the reader understand the sensory frustration I was going through :).

Breakfast this morning was Perkies (a round rice crispy, basically), brown sugar, powdered milk, granola, and water. SUGAR RUSH! Then I forgot about the cold. Though that was probably more because the sun came up as I was finishing my intense and much-needed sugar bomb. Out in the wilderness, the temperature rises by 30 degrees instantly as the sun begins to shine on you. That's one thing you can definitely appreciate about the wilderness: the simple fact that the sun gets up every day, even if you don't want to. Thank you Mr. Sun.

Today was our 2nd layover day, and we decided to hike to the top of Yellowstone Point for what we hoped to be a great view. It was a roughly ~ 1100 foot ascent to the top, but none of it was on marked trail. This meant we had to navigate solely by maps, a skill I was not terribly great at to this point in the trip. During the first part of the hike, I gravitated towards the back of the pack, talking with the instructors and enjoying my view as caboose. We traveled in a group of 18 today, so being in the back meant more opportunity to see things instead of being sandwiched in between people. It was nice.

I learned what the word "Teton" meant on this day. I had been wondering since the first day. Believe it or not, "Teton" is French for "Boob". I cackled heartily. Teton! Ha!

After an extremely large uphill incline, probably covering half the elevation climb in much less than a quarter mile, we found a lake that confirmed our immediate proximity to Yellowstone Point. The lake was nice, but I was more stoked to see what the Point had in store. Come to find out, this was a very valid desire.

Our first peek across the vast valley as viewed from Yellowstone Point left me quite speechess, quite unaware of any inner struggle I may have been going through, quite content to sit and take pictures until sunset. To describe it with words may by physically impossible. We could see the Yellowstone River snaking back and forth over miles and miles between two large ridges, on one of which we were standing. The green of the grass and willows was painted onto the valley in a manner that can only be achieved by a master artist, shading the least viewable point as much as the most because the carry the same existential importance. It was the kind of sight that you might imagine befell Adam as he opened his eyes unto Eden. This, unlike the cold I wrote of earlier in this diary, was no exaggeration. This spot reminded everyone of why we came here. To see beautiful things and live beautifully. This classified as one of those beautiful, majestic sights that make life seem just wonderful. So wonderful, it might even whisk away the dreariness or the struggle or the sorrow if only for a moment, sprouting a seed of hope in an otherwise desolate landscape. And who knows how big that sprout might grow.

To add to the perfection of the scenery already branded into the my brain, I got the opportunity to do my spotlight at the Point. One could not ask for a better place to tell their 5-minute life story and to answer questions about it. I was very elated to be able to express myself in that way in that place. It was grand. The hour we spent up there was one I will never forget, and the things about life, love, and happiness I thought about up there will remain with me for years to come.

On the way back down, I was able to take the lead in bringing people down the mountain. Because there was no real trail, we did a ton of bushwhacking, trying to go in the right general direction. I pointed the way based on my gut a couple times, but was kindly corrected by the ITeam. Maps and me were not on the same page during Day 8 :). However, after hopping over many trees, pushing aside plenty of branches, and defeating a general sense of "Where the hell are we? Get us to a trail dude!", we found a game trail that brought us back down to camp. Woohoo!

The day ended meekly, with a good dinner heartily consumed by tired boys and girls, ready to get to sleep and conquer the next day. That ascent will forever be etched into my being. Seeing something so pristine, so majestic, so wild, and being able to contemplate my life and how I want to live it, is not something I take lightly in the least. I hope everyone gets the chance to stare at something that beautiful and contemplate what life really means to them. It's quite the treat. A treat almost as tasty as a Mint Chocolate Chip blizzard from Dairy Queen.

Teton! :-P

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The snake of Yellowstone winds about
A marsh of green as a frontline scout
To discover lost souls whose path has dove
Into illusions of city lights as life awove
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