Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mammoth Shake Down

The annual shake down dinner was tonight at Mammoth Dining Room. All Mammoth employees get to attend and eat for free! It is a "practice" night for the Dining Room staff before they open tomorrow for paying visitors! I ordered the Huckleberry Brie Chicken. It was pretty good.

Denyse and I sat with Bob and Norma from Arizona. They have been married for 54 years and are the cutest little couple!! They both work in the Employee Dining Room here at Mammoth. Everyone loves them. We sat next to the window and had a nice view of the snow topped mountain peaks.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

1st day on the job

I was on the phone all day today. It went pretty smoothly. Had a guy (literally, his name was Guy pronounced Gee) from France call to change his reservation and I had a really hard time understanding him!! Had another man get aggrevated because I was taking too long but come on its only my first day!! Had a good day, but I'm tired tonight.

Another reason I probably so exhausted is because Rebekah and I took another good walk tonight. We walked down to the post office and saw 2 coyotes run across our path just beyond the post office. Then we turned and cut across the hill towards the Old Gardiner Road. We were wolf tracking!!!! Didn't see any. If I keep this hiking up, you people back home won't know me when I get home!!!!!!!

Neighborhood Bears

Woke up to snow again this morning. I would say 3 inches or so. Another yucky day. We finished training today, and I took reservation calls on my own for the last hour of the day. After dinner, Rebekah and I walked up to the terraces. A couple stopped us and told us that there were 3 bears just down the hill. We walked over, but only saw 2 bears.

These bears are less than 1/4 mile from my room!!! We've heard others talking about seeing bears in this area for the past couple of days, so I guess they like hanging out in Mammoth.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Old Man Winter is back again

I woke up to snow again this morning. It has snowed all day and is supposed to snow all week.

I stayed in bed and missed breakfast which ends at 8:00. I finally got up and cleaned my room, did laundry, and read until lunch time. Went down for a tasty lunch with Ginny, Megan and Rebekah. I drove down to the post office to drop off post cards and another card. Then, I headed over to the Yellowstone General Store .
This is right next door to my dorm. I picked up some more post cards, Christmas ornaments, and a Yellowstone pencil case for Emily to take to school this fall.

After dinner, the sun popped out and the group went for a walk to Mammoth Corrals. I thought my ears were going to freeze and fall off. The wind was really cold. Then, we went back to Ginny and Megan's and watched Message in a Bottle.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

After breakfast, Rebekah, Denyse, and I headed down to the Lava Creek trailhead which is below the Mammoth Hot Springs campground. We have been hearing talk that some wolves were in a den next to the campground. We pulled up at the trailhead and got out of the vehicle when we heard a wolf howl. We looked across the road, and sure enough, saw this wolf beside the tree:

We watched the wolf until he finally walked out of sight. We headed out in the opposite direction down Lava Creek trail. It winds down to the Gardner river. (The river has no i in the spelling, the town does).

When the trail comes to the river, it veers to the left towards a place called Boiling River. It is actually just a place where there is a boiling hot spring beside the Gardner River, and the hot water flows into the river. The combination of the cold river water and the hot spring water make a perfect swimming hole:

I am SO coming back to this place this summer!!

We walked farther on the trail headed towards Gardiner when Denyse spotted a kill. A buffalo had been taken down by a wolf. We looked around, and sure enough we could see a wolf way off in the distance, across the road on a hillside:

YIKES! In reality, we weren't really that close to the wolf (I zoomed in)! We started hiking up the hill towards the main road. There were wolf watchers with big viewing scopes along the road, and they let us look through their scopes. I took a couple pics:

There are wolf tracks everywhere. The one below was along the edge of the road. They are big prints. It was bigger than my hand:

We walked the road back to where the vehicle was parked, and Rebekah spotted a coyote to the left of us:

When we got back to the vehicle, we decided to head to Old Faithful so we could walk along the boardwalks. All the trails close to Mammoth are either snow covered or muddy from melting snow. Along the way, we spotted a grizzly in the same exact spot we saw the grizzly on Wednesday. So, it was probably the same bear:

We arrived at Old Faithful and took the 3 mile loop back to Morning Glory Pool. Along the way, we saw buffalo enjoying the warm steam from all the thermal activity:

Morning Glory Pool:

After eating a burger in the Geyser Grill, we headed back to Mammoth. We watched a coyote stalking it's prey, a Canadian goose. The goose got away. It's a little hard to spot the coyote in the snow:
We also saw a Bald Eagle sitting in a tree along the Madison River. Beautiful!

We got back to Mammoth around 4:00. Had dinner in the EDR, and then Rebekah and I went to Ginny and Megan's room to watch 27 Dresses.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Happy Birthday, Denyse!

Today was Denyse's birthday. She, Rebekah and I went to Outlaw's Pizza in Gardiner for dinner. Outlaw's was great! We stopped at the ONLY grocery in town, Food Farm, only to find it closes at 7:00 p.m. This should tell you something about the size of this town!! We wanted ice cream really bad, but everything except the gas stations were closed. So we stopped at a gas station, bought a half gallon of Moose Tracks ice cream, and brought it back to Mammoth to devour it!!!!

We didn't walk tonight because it is quite cold here again. Instead, we went to visit our friends Ginny from OK and Megan from CT who will be leaving Monday. They are moving to Old Faithful Snow Lodge to work as Guest Service Agents (front desk). I will miss them, but hopefully we can meet up later in the summer for some hiking.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

GRIZZLY! and the raven

I saw my first grizzly bear today!! We (reservations and front desk trainees) went on the Yellowstone in a Day Tour, and on the road to Norris, this bear was beside the road. The bus pulled over and some of us got off the bus to take pictures. Apparently, the bear was digging for grubs. The raven wanted in on the action and would try to sneak up to where the bear was digging. At first, the bear would ignore the raven, but when it got too close, it would ran after it as you can see in the last pic:

It was so cool!

After we got back and had dinner, a group of us walked down the Roosevelt/Tower Rd to the Gardner River bridge. It was quite a walk! Uphill the whole way back! But there was pretty scenery and good people around so it was worth it!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Old Road to Gardiner, MT

Tonight after dinner, a group of us hiked part of the Old Road to Gardiner. This was the original road used when the U.S. Army was stationed at Fort Yellowstone here at Mammoth Hot Springs. The road is 5 miles to Gardiner, but we probably only hiked 2 miles or so before turning back. We started seeing wolf tracks so we got a little chicken!!!!

Below is a partial view of the little town of Gardiner from the road:

We saw several different types of animals along the way. I didn't get a pic of the buffalo, but seeing a buffalo here is like seeing cattle back home! Below are some elk eating on the parade ground:

There were about 6 deer right above us on the trail. They couldn't have been more than a 100 ft or so but they didn't seem to be concerned or scared by us.

A pretty bluebird:

And a squirrel, I think:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday in the park

Had another busy, full day. I woke up early this morning so I could attend church services here in the park. I started walking down there but was stopped halfway because there were elk everywhere! I probably got a little closer than I should have, but they still weren't budging so I respectively backed off!

Then, I rode with a buddy to Bozeman for a Wal-Mart run. We drove back "home" through Big Sky, MT and West Yellowstone, MT. When I got back "home", I sat in the EDR (employee dining room) with some new friends for a while, and then we all went for a walk around the hot spring terraces. I didn't have my camera with me at all today, so I don't have any pics to post. I have learned today to have my camera with me at ALL times! There is always a Kodak moment around every corner!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Open Roads

The West Entrance opened yesterday allowing traffic to Old Faithful and Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Since we were off this weekend, Denyse and I hit the roads:

We spotted this otter next to Madison River. He was soaking up the sunshine and was stopping traffic!

Here is the Old Faithful Snow Lodge area:

Old Faithful Geyser

Old Faithful Inn still covered in snow. It won't be open for another month.

We stopped at the Biscuit Basin thermal activity area and walked along the boardwalk:

Below is Jewel Geyser:

We stopped along this river and ate lunch. It was a peaceful and relaxing spot.

We had company on the road:

Not too far from this spot above, we spotted a big gray wolf walking off in the distance.

Gibbon Falls