Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"A beautiful sight, we're happy tonight. Walking in a winter wonderland."

It was 25 below this morning at Old Faithful.  Luckily, I wasn't there.  Yet.  I left Blackfoot and watched the world around me change.  Towns gave way to fields, then to trees and snow.  I drove to West Yellowstone and made the final left-hand turn towards the Park.  I quickly checked the rearview, and once I ascertained that no one was there to see, I finally took my picture with the "Yellowstone" sign. 

Then I got back in the car quickly and tried to act natural.  I drove to the gate--locked.  But I had the combination!  I've had Top Secret government clearance, but nothing felt as significant as turning the combination lock and opening the gate to Yellowstone.  It's like having your own magic wardrobe into Narnia. 

It really is a different world inside.  Not a cloud in the sky and the sun made the snow sparkle.  I didn't see any fawns, but about seven miles in I came upon two skate skiers headed out.  I wonder how long it would take me to work up to that...I only saw three other cars.  But in the drive to Mammoth Hot Springs I did see several trumpeter swans here for the winter, four bison, a herd of elk, and a lone coyote.  The coyote crossed the road in front of me, waited until I had passed by, and then returned to the road headed towards Norris.  I stopped and got out to get a good look at him.  He stopped and looked back at me.  The bison were pushing at the snow with their heads to dig down to the grass.  The waterfalls are frozen.  Listened to lots of Christmas music.  I love my down vest. 

I arrived safely in Mammoth.  Nothing is open: no restaurant, no hotel, no general store.  I am now tucked into my dorm room for the next two weeks for training until we all go to Old Faithful.  My roommate and I will check in tomorrow and receive all the important stuff--namely, the ID card that lets us into the cafeteria.  She ate crackers for dinner and I a cold can of soup (in a titanium cup with my spork, of course).  The bathrooms and showers are down the hall.  Through the window I can just glimpse one tall pine tree that has been hung with Christmas lights.


Jacque said...

Beautiful! Glad you made it safely. Can't think of a better place to spend the winter. Keep your camera close and keep posting.

evieperkins said...

Wow, I wasn't really jealous of you spending your winter now until just now. :)

Rachel Eddington said...

Don't be too jealous all the time. You didn't see what was served in the cafeteria today. Let's just say I ate oatmeal for lunch and dinner.

fm7 said...

You could be an at large correspondent to all of us stuck in a city for the winter. Could that be a profession? Go to exoctic places at their best time of year and work a part-time job while, at the same time, blogging in a way to make the rest of jealous of you?

Meg said...

Love the update! P.S.- How did I not ever know what a good writer you are? You capture the magic of that place so well. Have fun, and stay warm. :)