Friday, July 20, 2012

Yellowstone - WOW!

There is only one word I can think of when talking about Yellowstone - "Wow!"

The longer we are here the more spectacular we realize it is.  No wonder it is one of the most amazing and diverse places on the planet.  Words to not do it justice.   Literally hundreds of books and countless pictures and paintings have attempted to capture the splendor

Nope, ain't going to happen.

No matter how hard a person tries to convey the majesty and wonder, they can't.  One must see it for real.

A Little Background...
We are here due to the influence of our friends, Charley and Karen.  We became friends at Lonestar RV park in Austin.  They are full-time RVers as are we.  They heard about summer opportunities at Yellowstone with the retail concessionaire Delaware North and applied.  They were accepted and this is their third summer.

They regaled us with stories of the park, the work and the people visiting and living here for the summer.

We had to give it a try.

Last summer we came up and visited Charley and Karen.  They showed us around and introduced us to their manager, Dennis.  We buttered up Dennis and I guess it worked.  Our applications were accepted and now we are here working at the Grant Village General Store, located at West Thumb on Yellowstone Lake.

The work is HARD.  I work in the grocery and Robin is in apparel.   Now realize that I spent pretty well my entire career sitting behind the wheel of a bus or truck or at a desk in a cubicle.  Yup, I was on my butt.  I did NOT do manual labor - nothing requiring me to be on my feet all day long.

Robin was an operating room nurse for 20 years.  Even SHE says it is hard.  Sheesh!

But, it is worth every second.  When we are off we have time to explore the park.

As for work, the grocery is for all intents and purposes, a full blown convenience store.  A very busy convenience store.  Our customer count is certainly in the hundreds each day.  The park gets a bit over 3 million visitors each year.

The facilities are spread throughout the park but this is not a metropolis.  It really is wilderness.   Plus, there is a 420 site campground about 1/2 mile from the store.

We are B-U-S-Y!!

And loving it!!!!

I have never done retail before.  This is all new.  The experience has been so good I am ready to move to India and open an American Owned Convenience Store...

I get a kick out of the customers.  We have people from all over the world.  Lots of Europeans, Asians, South Americans etc.  All cultures are represented.  It has been interesting to observe how foreigners function.  It is obvious that Americans are accustomed to a lot more personal space than other nationalities.  Because we are not so densely populated (OK -OK - take NYC and the other biggie cities out of the discussion) we have the luxury of more space.  Foreigners don't realize they are 'invading' our space.

In this case 'invading' is not a negative.  I just had to get used to the idea that we are all different except for one thing - we all are blown away by Yellowstone.

It Really Is A Wilderness...
Given the conveniences we have locally: three eating facilities, a post office, the General store, a full service gas station with mechanic and an actual convenience store, a large laundromat plus a big Park Service information center, we are essentially a small town.  It is easy to lose sight of the fact that we are in the middle of one of the most unique wildernesses in the world.   There are BIG critters here who will eat you if you mess up.

Shortly before arriving a woman in our employee's RV section was doing something with her car.  All the doors were open and she was pre-occupied when she heard some rustling outside.  She looked over and this guy was right next to her car!!!!!

Yup - that's a grizz.  Looks pretty cuddly doesn't he?  Especially while he is moseyin' around eating dandelions.  Sounds like something in a fairy tale.  Well take a look at this:

Uh Huh - Those are BIG teeth and claws.  Eating dandelions???   I guess he was full from the six deer and three mooses (meese?) he had for breakfast.

When our friend realized he was there she "vewy-vewy swowy" climbed in her car, closed the doors - and started taking pics.

The Park Service actually delays opening our local public campground because there is so much bear activity due to the nearby trout spawn in the Spring.

It was initially a bit daunting to have to take a few moments every time we exited the motorhome to look around to make sure we were not on the menu.  We always carry bear spray.

Now the trout spawn is mostly over.  There are lots of people milling about.  The bears have left for now, but you never know if one is passing through...

Building Up Our Strength...
We have been gradually building our hiking and exploring stamina.  We are at 8000 feet altitude.  We are not used to this.  When we lived in Wyoming prior to moving to Austin, we lived at 8000 feet.  We were very used to the altitude (I'm trying to ignore the additional tidbit of us having been 20 years younger then) so hiking and running around was no problem.

Austin is 700 feet above sea level.  Hmmm.  7300 feet lower.  Things are a bit different now.  BUT, we are catching up.

Other workers here say it takes about a month to really get going.  I believe it.  Our first couple days were uncomfortable at best.  We were worn out and sore after work.  Just now we are beginning to feel more like getting out and hiking after work.

Unimaginable Sights...
We've done a few car drives exploring the area.  Each time we see incredible things.

A buffalo heard held up traffic for a while:

Great mountain views across Yellowstone Lake:

The "Dragon's Mouth" fumarole:

Thermal area of the Artist's Paint Pots:

We see this stuff every time we leave the house.  Amazing....

Numerous times per day we look at each other and thank the Lord for our opportunity to spend an extended time in this splendid place.

Here, it is not hard at all for us to find ways to keep "Chasin' Our Dreams"


  1. I'm sure you've seen this one before...

    B E A R W A R N I N G

    In light of the rising frequency of human/grizzly bear conflicts, the Department of Fish & Game is advising Scouts, hikers, hunters, and fishermen to wear little bells tied to their clothing while in the field.

    It has been strongly advised that Scouts and outdoorsmen wear noisy little bells on their clothing so as not to startle bears that aren't expecting outdoorsmen to be walking in their habitat.

    It has also been strongly advised for Scouts and outdoorsmen to carry non-lethal pepper spray with them in case of an encounter with a bear.

    The Department states it is a good idea to watch out for fresh signs of bear activity. Scouts and outdoorsmen should be able to recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear scat.

    Black bear scat is smaller and contains lots of berries and many times squirrel fur.

    Grizzly bear scat has little bells in it, smells like pepper and many times pieces of red, tan and green fabric.

  2. So excited to have found your blog to add to my collection as my husband and I plan our take off next year. The information out there from so many RV'ers! Love the tie a bell on to alarm the bears. I have to admit I am scared to death of hiking up on husband not! Hoping once I get out there to experience all the wonderful nerves will settle down. Back to reading more safe! ~cozygirl


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