Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bears and Buffalo, oh my!

On my day off this week I went backwoods camping in Yellowstone with a couple of friends.  As soon as you get off the road and into the back country, the insane tourist mecca that is Yellowstone quickly turns into your own private wilderness.  Sounds like a good time, right?  Well pretty much...

We got to the ranger station to get orientated as to backwoods camping and how to be 'bear aware,' aka watch a video and listen to a ranger talk for a couple of minutes.  Our nice ranger friend put on the video, and then proceeded to turn the volume down a touch and talk to us during the video, saying, "We can multi-task, right?"  After all the rigamarole, he looked up a campsite for us, 3L1, in the Lamar valley off of Cache Creek, about 4 miles hike off the road.  Sounded perfect to us.  Then he proceeded to read the notes in the computer on the site-"Warning-aggressive buffalo; 6/17 bear charged campsite."
He then went on to say that we "would see a bear" when we questioned him further.  Apparently that spot was in prime bear territory.

With that in mind, we hiked in under a beautiful Wyoming sun and set up camp next to cache creek, making a friend we named George along the way, a buck pronghorn antelope.  He chilled about 15 feet off the trail as we filed by.
I was super excited to break in my new Big Agnes Jack Rabbit tent, and it performed admirably under the  beating sun and sea of stars.  Maybe next time the elements will test it a little more.
Dinner was red beans and rice combined with mac'n'cheese, which was actually really good, especially after a long day of hiking.  Our campsite was along a roaring creek-everywhere out here has had around 150% of its yearly rainfall already-and there were a ton of sheds people had collected and left there from over the years.  Some pretty impressive stuff.
At night we were extra "bear aware" and hung all the clothes we cooked in, along with our food and packs.  After enjoying a nice, cozy fire and admiring the sea of stars above us, we swept the area for bears with our flashlights and hit the sack.  Turns out the bear never showed and the buffalo were nonexistent, which is OK with me.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Life goes on...

The past two weeks have been fairly busy here.

I got a 24 hour flu-type sickness that has been going around, so I ended up reading and holding my stomach all day yesterday.  Good to have another day off, but bad to be sick.  At least I never puked, unlike some other people.

I only hope that it makes its rounds before Sunday when we get a new round of guests.  This week we go from 34 to 102, so this is when it gets serious around here.

On my day off this week I went to the big city of Bozeman for the day to get some provisions-bananas, peanut butter, and a dry bag and rope for camping.  Earlier in the day I went riding with some other employees.  The sun was shining for the first time in days and there was a slight breeze.  Perfect.  We climbed a little to start out, and then when it leveled out we broke out into trot, and then a lope (aka a decent run).  Due to my inexperience-it was my third time on a horse-most of the time loping meant me bouncing up and down uncontrollably in the saddle.  By the end I got it down a little so there was less bouncing and a little more fluid motion of going with with the horse.  Needless to say I was sore the next day.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Some random updates for ya'all.

OK so I have one more police report to add:

"911 Dispatchers overheard a conversation involving "getting high and drunk and getting tattoos," sitting on the beach, and eating shrimp and crab when an intoxicated man pocket dialed at 5 a.m."

Every paper should include such detailed police reports.

In other news, we cannot go hiking on Tuesday at all because there will be a bear hunt in progress in the area.  Only in Montana.

There have also been some changes at Mountain Sky in the past week.  The dining room manager put in her two weeks notice a couple of days ago.  By default that leaves me as dining room manager.  So in the past couple of days I have gotten stuff together for orientation, which is Wednesday and Friday, and have gotten my dining room in something resembling order.  That's an exciting thing to say.  You just never know when life is going to throw you a bone.

They only bad news is that due to the abnormal amounts of rain we have had lately and the huge amounts of snowfall this winter, the runoff is making fishing impossible in the creeks and rivers around here.  Everyone is saying it will be July before the waters calm down enough and visibility improves.  I have plenty to keep me busy in the meantime though, so no worries.

I'll be fishing this soon enough!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I Love Montana

It is a different world out here.  You know you're in Montana when...

...the newspaper's headline article is titled "Gopher Hunting 101" wear a pearl snap, cowboy boots, and huge belt buckle to work and fit in. carry bear spray whenever you go on a run or hike.

...the two main smells are horse poop (outside) and firewood (inside and outside). almost kick a grouse while walking down the trail to work in the morning (they're kind of dumb creatures sometimes).

...the sun is shining at the beginning of a run; it then proceeds to snow, followed by more sun, all in 45 minutes.

Funny newspaper police reports and classifieds you would only get here: (Basically the only crime you get out here are random odd things like below or alcohol related incidents).

"Men selling vacuum cleaners around 7pm seemed suspicious to a resident of Isaiah Trail.  They were doing nothing illegal.

"An officer caught a horse running down South 19th Avenue around 7:30pm"

"About six people traveling in a vehicle along West Olive Street were tossing trash out the windows and "acting idiotic" around 3:30pm"

"A caller wanted a teen cited after seeing the 17-year-old take cigarettes out of ashtrays at a restaurant"

"Two horses were causing a traffic hazard on Jackrabbit Lane, crossing back and forth around 8:30pm"

"An intoxicated woman was carrying a bike down the middle of the road.  When an officer asked her about the bike, she said she didn't want it anymore.  she just wanted to go home.  Police put the bike in storage for safekeeping."

"A man came to a woman's house and threatened to kill her cat because it was killing gophers."

Starting at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 31st at 498 Topaz Road, Belgrade.  No Sunday calls, please."

And my personal favorite:

"Needed used shower stall for 97 year old woman in exchange for raspberries (in season) or negotiation."