The Yellowstone Round-Up

Trip Start Mar 04, 2007
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Trip End Jun 16, 2007


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Flag of United States  , Montana
Sunday, May 27, 2007

Yellowstone Round Up (Sunday, May 27th)

What a difference a day makes . . . Friday, mostly cloudy with snow; Saturday - mostly sunny and warm. Friday - practically had the park to myself; Saturday - the tourist hordes have arrived - yikes!

I wish the weather had been better earlier in the week before the Memorial Day crowds descended but overall it's been great. I've made the round of the three bars that you can smoke in; drank for free - Brenda you'd be proud of me; and even had dinner bought for me twice. Guess, I'd cute after all . . . or there just isn't a lot of competition ; )

I ran into Bob and Betty again, the following day. I had just parked my car and was walking to the overlook when I heard someone yell, "Hey Lady, your car's rolling away!" I went into a panic and turned and ran back towards the car. It was fine but when I looked around Bob and Betty where laughing. They'd seen me pull in and thought they'd have some fun.

A few final thoughts on Yellowstone:

Geysers in general: A feast for the senses and if you have gas, no one will notice. The sulfur and other noxious odors mask anything you could put out. The sounds of gurgling, burbling, and pfsts abound - much like a case of bad indigestion. The variety and colors seem endless, black cauldrons in a bleak landscape to steam fumaroles in a lush pasture to spring mounds in a log pine forest. There also seems to be a lot of buffalo poo in the thermal areas - humans must stay on the walks though.

Animals I've seen:
Buffalo
Coyote - like that's new
Mule Deer - also in abundance
Elk
Big Horn Sheep & her lamb
Pikas
Unita Squirrels


Birds:
Osprey
Trumpeter Swans
Bald Eagle
Hawks
Ducks
Canadian Geese & their babies
Various smaller birds including sparrows, bluebirds, robins, etc.


I wrote this a couple days ago: Buffalo everywhere - they are most accommodating in having their picture taken and cause quite the "wildlife jam" on the roads as the herds meander along and across them. I came across a heard at 5:30 this morning in the middle of the road while it was still dark. Since the Little Guy and I weigh about the same as one Buffalo, I was afraid to try and pass them. They were in any hurry to move so we sat there staring at each other until a ranger came by and moved them along.

Now, I'm sick to death of buffalo. They are a pain in the butt and cause numerous traffic jams. Of course, it could be the tourists that are driving me crazy. 90% are great: considerate, friendly, follow the park rules, etc. It's the 10% that are either assholes or idiots: stop in the middle of the road if they see wildlife (i.e. buffalo, geese, etc.) instead of pulling over to the side, loud & obnoxious, rude, don't following the rules (i.e. stay on the trails, stay the proper distance from the WILD animals, etc.)

The restaurants and most concessions in the Park are run by a company called Xanterra. What a monopoly they have. They recruit youngsters from all over the world to come to the U.S. and work in the hotels, restaurants, gift shops, etc. Unfortunately, English seems to be a problem thus training seems to be lacking. It's not for lack of trying; they're mostly friendly and nice, wanting to please, just not quite sure how to do their jobs well. It's a bit of a racket as well. Xanterra doesn't even pay many of them minimum wage, they use the "trainee/apprentice" out. So these kids come over on their own dime and hope to make enough to pay for their trip and often don't. They stay in dorms provided by the company and eat in an employee only cafeteria. They're stuck as they don't have transportation either. Hopefully, they benefit from learning more English and experiencing a great national park. But, it seems a bit exploitative to me.

Tonight's my last evening as I leave at the crack of dawn tomorrow to beat the crowds out and go to Helena to pick up the part for my car that I ripped off at Little Big Horn. I'll get an oil change while I'm at it. From Helena it's off to Calgary, Alberta, then Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper Canada National Parks and then Edmonton. From Edmonton I head off to the greater wilderness.
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