Walking ~ Days 10-12 Yellowstone

Okay, where was I? It was getting increasingly difficult to keep up with blogging while on the road. So many miles through places like Wyoming, the definition of the Lonely Planet. No houses, no businesses, no anything, for miles and miles. So, of course, no Internet service. I was using my daughter’s laptop to write my blogs. I have to admit I am not good without a mouse. That little scroll pad doesn’t work so well for me. But I’m home now in Florida, back on my MAC. During all the miles we logged on the road, I kept a map and my journal handy at all times. I took lots of notes, so let’s get caught up on my attempt to walk 365 days.

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Day 10

Here we go, time for some truth telling. I did not walk on Day 10. I passed the seven day benchmark, the habit of walking daily should be ingrained, right? One thing you should know about me, I am an imperfect person and I own it. Besides, yesterday in Idaho I walked twice, remember? The waterfall then the walk into town for dinner. So I’m doing a carryover, I had a walk in the bank.

The reason I didn’t walk was my husband wanted to get on the road early, so we quickly left our hotel by the river and headed north to Montana. Mistakes will be made, others will be blamed. By the time we got to our next hotel in Bozeman, a steady rain was falling. I was hoping it would end soon and I could walk through downtown Bozeman, which is a great little college town with lots of shops and restaurants near the Montana State University campus. No such luck and besides, my husband and my daughter wanted to catch the end of the hockey game. I could have walked while they watched the game but we found a great place, The Bacchus Pub, where everyone there was a Bruins fan and the special of the night was a tomatillo pork taco, which was delicious. The beers were cold and I justified it as family time. After all, we were leaving my daughter at Yellowstone in two days and wouldn’t see her again until Labor Day.

Go Bruins! (They lost in overtime).

Day 10

We arrived at Yellowstone and it was everything we imagined and everything I have been ranting about lately-accessibility to this great country’s natural wonders for all-shorelines, forests, parks and streams. Thank you Teddy Roosevelt. The entrance to Yellowstone says it all:

First walk of the day-Mammoth Springs. We took the full walking tour, up several levels of stairs and around the back side of the springs. What a strange and fascinating landscape. The sulphur smell is so strong you can taste it. As I climbed the endless stairs, I felt the altitude again.

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The park is amazing. We saw buffalo, antelope, deer. We took a few other short walks and checked out the employee housing where my daughter will be living this summer, then headed to West Yellowstone where we stayed for the night.

Day 11

Check in time at the Human Resources building in Gardiner, Montana. If you’ve been to Yellowstone you are probably wondering why we stayed in West Yellowstone, the West entrance to the park, and not Gardiner, the North entrance to the park. It was because my daughter did not read her paperwork until the night we got to Bozeman. She thought we were checking into the actual location she was going to be living at, not some central HR place in a town outside the park. No big deal. Like I said, I’m not perfect either. We all have faults, we all make mistakes.

The check-in line was long. There were several HR things that had to be done; signing employee at will contracts, filling out W-4’s, pictures for photo ID’s and uniforms to pick up. I took a walk through the cute little Western town of Gardiner and ran into these guys as I left the parking lot:

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We said goodbye to our daughter, who had already made a friend who had a car with her for the summer and offered to drive Michelle, and her large amount of luggage, to their summer housing. I could sense she was ready to start her adventure so I saved the tears for my husband when we returned to the car.

We continued exploring this amazing park, stopping for another short hike (Walk #2 today-another one in the bank just in case. You never know when you may need it.) We spotted a black bear in the distance and saw thousands of downed and scarred trees from forest fires that have occurred here over the years, finally making our way to a bubbling sulphur cauldron. I tried to imagine what it would be like to be close to an erupting volcano. I immediately began to worry about my daughter. I resisted the urge to send her a text message warning her of bears, forest fires and volcanoes.

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We stopped at Old Faithful and the stunning Yellowstone Lodge then back to West Yellowstone for the night. We were alone, empty nesters once again. I was feeling a little sad but also very excited for my daughter. How many people can say they lived in a national park? It is the opportunity of a lifetime. I am so excited for her and the memories and friends she will make this summer. And tomorrow we are off to Steamboat to see our older daughter.

Dinner was at a funky little restaurant where I finally got my trout but it was overcooked and dry. I am not lucking out with the trout, maybe I should have brought a fishing pole and caught my own.

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