Sunday, August 5, 2007

July 25-August 5

I wish I could say it's been eventful lately but it hasn't.

Had to take Spencer to the airport the other day in Bozeman, so we spent the night in a hotel and just relaxed. It was nice to get back into civilization for a while....went to Applebee's for dinner..swam in a pool and relaxed in a hottub which felt really good.

Since then, I've just been biding my time until I go home. It's now Sunday Aug. 5th. On Thursday I leave here and am going camping for a few days in the Bridger-Teton National Forest by myself.

Then Saturday night Shane, Jesse, and Paxton are coming out and we're doing tourist stuff for the next week until finally arriving home August 18th. That, then, will be the end of my Yellowstone adventure. I'm sure I'll be having a reflection post...b/c lately all I've done is reflect on my summer. What I've learned, the people I've met, and so much more.

Look forward to that. For these last few days again: Keep me in your prayers and you all shall be in mine.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

July 15-25

I know..I know...It's been 10 days since I've updated but honestly not a lot has happened!

Kourtney came out on July 17-21. It was a great trip and for those of you who are wondering, we managed to work out our differences! 5 months apart was probably one of the best things we ever needed!

She flew into Jackson, WY so we saw the Tetons and did most of the park stuff (Canyon, Lake, Old Faithful, the Falls, etc etc). We also went to Quake Lake and did the Sack Cabin near Island Park, Idaho. It really was a great trip! We also went to the West Yellowstone Rodeo...which was good as usual.

After that I've just been working....trying to get everything finished up for the summer.

Sorry this is short...but I've been extremely bored lately. It's cold and rainy I'm just reading the new Harry Potter book!

Keep me in your prayers and ya'll shall be in mine!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Some Somber News

Getting back from Glacier Park.....we received a call from some friends at Old Faithful.

There was a man who worked in the kitchen at the Lodge as a server. His name was Don. Apparently, something in his motorcycle broke and he crashed into the Firehole River between Old Faithful and Madison on Thursday afternoon dying on impact.

It's been a rough few days with this. I got to know Don very well this summer and daily would go visit him at work just to hear his jokes and his stories. He attended law school, later working for the government in some sort of defense work...but after retirement he up and left.

This was his first summer working in the park. We never understood why Don had his jetski here, since you can't use it in the park. He also had a kayak that never seemed to move anywhere, as well as his truck. Don was famous around Old Faithful, though, for riding his motorcycle while still wearing his bright green work gloves.

I've never met a man as genuine as Don. He would always stop and talk to you or anyone! Many a time he got into the best conversations with passing tourists and you would find yourself talking to him for hours just to hear his stories and his jokes (Some were funny and some weren't). Don was the grandfather around here. One of the oldest employees working for Xanterra.....and everyone knew him...and everyone loved him. Being away from home it was nice having a "family member" there....a guy who, even though you weren't related, made you feel like his family.

The world lost a good one this week...a good man, a good friend, an amazing Christian.

Rest In Peace Don. We love you.

Friday, July 13, 2007

July 7-11 (with Glacier National Park!)

Nothing happened on July 7-10....I went to a rodeo and had some fun.

On the night of July 10th, Spencer and I left Old Faithful with some Colombians very late in the evening on our way to Glacier National Park. We took the wrong way there (through Missoula, MT) so it took us almost 12 hours to get there!

We camped at Apgar Campground (on the western side). I can't even begin to explain how beautiful of a park this is! The mountains are just phenomenal...the lakes are a pristine blue because of all the glacial water!

We drove to Kintla and Bowman Lakes on the western side and stopped at Polebridge Mercantile. It's this little backcountry store that had very expensive gas, but quite possibly the best baked goods I've EVER had!

These lakes were gorgeous and we had a run-in with a fox that was continually coming closer and closer. Did some nice little walks (no huge hikes because we didn't have enough time!)

There is this road called "Going To The Sun Road" that takes you across the continental divide and up through the most gorgeous mountains I've ever seen. Spencer and I stopped at Logan's Pass and hiked up the boardwalk to where we could play in the snow. This was cold, but a lot of fun! We saw Bighorn Sheeps, Mountain Goats, Deer, Marmots, etc etc. It was awesome!

We tried to make it into Canada, but apparently Colombians aren't allowed in Canada without a visa, so we had to fill out paperwork and sign things...our car got thoroughly searched (on both U.S.A. and Canadian side!) unfortunately we just barely stepped over the border into Alberta (Glacier N.P. stretches into Alberta to form Waterton International Peace Park!)

We saw some gorgeous lodges, swam/bathed in a glacial lake...and just really really enjoyed ourselves! I don't have a ton to type about it now, but I'm def going to be sure to put more as the days progress.

Keep me in your prayers and you'll be in mine!

Friday, July 6, 2007

July 3-6 (A few rough days!)

**Photo from the ride to Jackson, Wyoming! I love the Grand Tetons!**

Oh these last few days have been extremely eventful, some for the good and some for the bad.

On July 3rd, Spencer and I drove some Colombians, a Russian, and a Mongolian to Cody for what I thought would most likely be a fun day. Number 1, traffic sucked and it took us way too long to get there. Then, after way too long of a stay in WalMart, we walked around town and ate dinner at the local Pizza Hut. I thought that we could go to the Cody Rodeo and go swimming in Buffalo Bill Resevoir, but some people like to complain too much so we just came home. It was a waste of 5 hours of driving time.

On the 4th, we left and went to Jackson. The ride down didn't take terribly long and this time the car wasn't too full. We had a car full of Colombians again. They'd never experienced 4th of July so we thought we'd show them a good time. Jackson was nice for the day. We did some shopping (but it was extremely hot and uncomfortable to walk in) and then ate some dinner at Wendy's. We met up with other Xanterra employees while we were there and then decided to go to the Jackson Rodeo. It was a great rodeo! Standing room only because it was so packed, but fun nonetheless. We also were able to watch the fireworks from the rodeo grounds as the shot them off from the base of Snowking Ski/Recreation area. The fireworks lit the hillside on fire b/c it's soooo dry here.

Well, on the way back I got pulled over for swerving off the road and speeding. B/c I was tired and it made my eyes bloodshot, the officer asked me what I had to drink. When I said nothing, he then asked what drugs I had smoked that night. Again...none. Well, he didn't buy my story so I ended up on the side of the road in Grand Teton National Park at 2:30 in the morning standing on one foot, walking a straight line, following a pen with my eyes, and blowing a breathalizer (which I blew 0.00 if you need to know). It seems all my coworkers passed me in cars while I'm doing this, so many people had questions when I returned.

Well, we got back to find that 4 of our Colombian friends had never made it to Jackson. They tried to hitchike and got stuck at Flagg Ranch. Spencer and I stayed up all night with security and on the phone with operators trying to trace phone numbers and see where exactly they were at (to top it off, one of the girls left a bag of food for 5 weeks on her floor and there were hundreds of maggots crawling all over her floor, so we had to vacuum that). Well, just when we were about to get on the road to starting searching the area for them, they showed back up (having gotten to Jackson at 1 am and hitchiking another ride home).

At this point, we finally went to sleep to be awakened in the morning to find out that the security guard had messed up the messages to the National Park Service. Spencer and I were reported as missing persons throughout Yellowstone National Park. We spent the next 2 hours in meetings with supervisors trying to explain to them that we weren't missing and what exactly had happened.

Well, I eventually had to work that night...the vacuums weren't working and everything was so busy. So I couldn't vacuum and I awoke this morning to my boss pounding on my door to yell at me (She's mean, I don't care for her). But, after our talk and her realizing it's not my fault, she starts placing the blame on everyone else and pretty much badmouthing everyone else we work with. Blah. That now I have to come in at 8 am tomorrow and work till noon. Then back at 6 pm to do my normal shift.

After that work fiasco, I took Colombians to Firehole River to swim b/c it was one of their birthdays and she wanted to. It was fun, but really warm!

That's all. Tired of typing. Keep me in your prayers and you'll be in mine!

Monday, July 2, 2007

June 30th-July 2nd

~The picture shown is the landslide caused in 1959 by a 7.3 Richter Scale earthquake...killing 28 people and damming up the Madison River to form 'Quake Lake~

Wow is it crazily busy around here! I have never seen so many people in this area all summer. It's 4th of July week, which is pretty much the busiest week we have all summer! There's huge 40 ft. RV's parked all over the place (even in the parking lot for our dorm...taking up almost 1/2 of our employee parking spaces!)

I can't believe how fast this summer is going. I mean, it's half over for me. I've been here for 7 weeks, and I have 5-6 weeks left (I'm not exactly sure...I leave the first week of August). I still have so much stuff I want to see! I've been making it a point to do some of that stuff. I've been rafting twice and to a few rodeos so far (with 2 more this week). I still want to go horseback riding, but need to find time to do it (maybe when Kourtney comes out on the 17th!)

I've been a little homesick lately, mostly because KidsFest is starting at OHC this week and it's the first time in 6 years I haven't had something to do with it. It's kinda sad, but my mom is volunteering and my cousin Kayla is going to be a first time there are still St. Esprit's involved!

I have the next 2 days off luckily, so Spencer and I are taking some Colombians out to show them the surrounding towns (plus I'm in desperate need of a Wal-Mart run for drinks, chips, and some computer stuff).

Honestly...not a lot has been going on. Today I hiked along Nez Perce Creek and climbed this huge the top of the hill I climbed a rock face and sat on this rock ledge high above the other hills and just was looking at mountains in 360 degrees all around me. It was a gorgeous view...I took some time up there and just did some praying. I mean, I've been granted so many good things in life and I take them all for granted....not realizing they could easily be taken away from I took some time and really just thanked God for all He's given me these past 2 months being out here.

Just so everyone knows, I can receive calls and texts, so those are always appreciated! HAHA

Love you all. Keep me in your prayers and you shall all be in mine!

Friday, June 29, 2007

June 25-29

So....mostly I've been working lately and have had entirely way too many headaches this week. I don't know exactly what's been going on but I've been managing it.
Lets see, on Monday that 25th I pretty much slept all day because I was tired. It was a rough night at work because Monday the National Park Service was giving us inspections, so I had a ton to do (plus I'd been running all week with my family so I needed a relaxation day)
Tuesday Wade, Spencer, and I drove to Island Park, Idaho but there wasn't a ton there so we drove into the Gallatin National Forest to this gorgeous spring that pops up out of the ground. Its the clearest water I've ever seen! I forget the name of it though. Haha. There were muskrats swimming in the water and a mother duck with ducklings fighting a flock of seagulls while people threw food.
We then drove to Quake Lake and Hebgen Lake north of West Yellowstone. These lakes were gorgeous. Quake was formed in 1959 by a 7.3 magnitude earthquake that dammed up the Madison River and killed 28 people. There's still resort houses sitting in the water from almost 50 years ago! We went to the visitor center and hiked around a little bit, then drove back into West b/c I wanted Subway. I've been craving it and I don't know why!
Wednesday was a boring day. Wade quit and moved to West to work at Bullwinkle's Bar and Casino, so Spencer and I drove him to town to move his stuff out.
Finally thursday came! Spencer, Sandra, and I went whitewater rafting. We went with Montana Whitewater (like I did last week) except this time we did the Lower Gallatin River. This is class III-IV whitewater. The river had also dropped, so there was more rocks and stuff sticking out. We entered a place called the Mad Mile which is a full mile of class IV rapids. I almost fell out. It was awesome. I was getting whitewater in the face and getting thrown around.
I would love to be a river guide (along with a ton of other I have to find a way to combine my loves which is why I guess I am an outdoor recreation major).

A huge forest fire has started. The other day it was 850 acres and today the newspaper said it's up to 3,000 acres with only 5% being contained. They're having trouble b/c we're in a major drought here with stronger winds than normal. West Yellowstone is in danger of being evacuated and the whole valley leading into west is filled with smoke.
Driving south on 191 from Bozeman, you can see the smoke from about 20 miles away and there are helicopters and planes flying everywhere carrying water to dump on it. It's crazy.

Today I took an easy day just surfing the internet. haha. Sometimes you just need to take it easy!

Keep me in your prayers and ya'll shall be in mine!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

June 16-24 ( A long time..I know!!!)

Sorry everyone that it took me so long to finally write another blog! I've been crazy busy since the last one. I took the week off of work because my family began arriving on the 16th, so I've been staying with them.

My dad was the first to arrive on the night of the 16th and I met up with him the morning of the 17th at Madison Campground (on the west side of the park) where I camped with him for a couple days. We did a lot of fishing (pretty much sucked) and we did an overnight backpacking trip into Grebe Lake (near Canyon area) where we fished and cause some nice rainbow trout and arctic grayling (1st time I've ever caught any of these!).... Grebe Lake is this blog's picture! Hope you like it! I'm trying to get more pictures up on other sites, but it's slow internet everywhere!!!

I "worked" Wednesday night, although I hurried it up so I could get to West Yellowstone b/c my dad had gone to Bozeman, MT to pick up my mom and sister. I surprised them b/c they didn't know I was going to be there! They thought they weren't going to see me until the next morning. (I got there early so I could sit in the hotel room and watch tv, my first tv in 6 weeks!)

Pretty much since then we've done tourist things. We spent Thursday in Jackson and came up through Targhee National Forest and through Idaho and stuff...which was really nice. We ate at this little restaurant in Ashton, Idaho, but it ended up being one of the best meals I've had in sooo long. I got new cowboy boots in Jackson b/c I had outgrown my old ones.

The next day we did tourist things in the park and went swimming at the Firehole River. Sandra, Andrea, Julio, and Susan were there, so I spent time with them and introduced them to my family and stuff. haha.

After Firehole, we drove back and got ready b/c we met Matt and Spencer in town and ate dinner at Bullwinkles (a restaurant/bar/liquor store in West Yellowstone). After dinner, we went to the W. Yellowstone Rodeo, which was really good. The rodeo clown made some dumb jokes and it was a smaller crowd but the riders definitely put their heart and soul into what they were doing.

Saturday we hiked the DeLacy Creek trail down to Shoshone Lake and spent the afternoon on the lake shore. I just read and relaxed and ate some food...spent some good quality time with the family. Megan and I hiked back in our bare feet (3 miles..which makes a 6 mile round trip for the day) just b/c we wanted to prove we could do it!

We then visited Firehole Lake Drive and saw some sweet geothermal stuff.

Today my dad, sister, and myself drove through the Gallatin National Forest near Big Sky, MT and went whitewater rafting on the Gallatin River with Montana Whitewater, Inc. We rafter about 10-11 miles through some Class II-III. It was a good time. Luckily I didn't fall out but def. got to see some good scenery and meet some good people.

Well, the summer is halfway over and I still have a huge list of things to do, so hopefully the blogs will be getting a little more interested as we progress towards the last few days (I'm done August 10th).

Keep me in your prayers and ya'll shall be in mine!

Friday, June 15, 2007

June 15, 2006

So, I love this whole not having to work until 6 pm at night thing! Last night I had the first day of my new job as the Night Porter at Old Faithful Lodge. It wasn't that bad at all! I deep cleaned a few bathrooms, swept a few floors, and emptied a few garbage really wasn't that bad at all! I'm supposed to work from 6 pm - 2 am but I was definitely done by 10:15 I sat on a chair in the Porters Closet and read the newspaper for an hour and finally clocked out around 11:30 or was great. I can't believe I'm getting paid even more than when I was shift lead to do this sort of work!

Today was a great day. After a not so good lunch at the Employee Dining Room (EDR), Dan and I went down to the Firehole River to swim. I was there the other night with some people, but today was definitely warmer and the water was down a little bit so the swimming was a lot better! We met some people from Massachusetts and chatted with them for a while...they were doing a trip all across the country (Grand Canyon, L.A., etc etc). Firehole is awesome! The water is pretty warm (mid-80's) and it's just in the canyon where you can jump off the cliffs (even though you're not supposed to!) and the rocks have been worn pretty smooth so it's kinda like a natural waterslide...there was a good amount of people there today but I know come mid-July or so (when Kourtney comes out to visit July 17-21!!!!!!!!!!!) that there will be like 400 people there, so I'm enjoying the peace and quiet now while I can!

So, I've decided that pretty much I want to live out here. I've been thinking about it alot lately. I'm in love with this western many of you know, I've always been a fan of Civil War and Old West history....and cowboy culture comes right along with that. Also, growing up with horses and goats...spending time in 4-H and around the fairs and horseshows...I've just learned to love this western culture and I get so mad when I think that I went through a phase where I didn't want to be around the horses and stuff, so we leased them out to other people. I decided when I get home that I'm going to get back into riding (especially as I want to work on a Dude Ranch out in Wyoming next summer!). This area is just amazing. I loved driving in Cody, WY the other day through the Absaroka Mountains and looking eastward and seeing the Bighorn Mountains.

A lot of the locals you meet are so nice..and I love driving and passing the ranches. It makes me wish that I could have this life. I mean, I'm an outdoor recreation major and I totally love everything outdoors....but I was talking to my mom today and boy do I miss having the horses I'm going to take some lessons when I get home this fall (I've never had formal was always just more me riding with what other people told me!)

My life out here reminds me of this song by Jason Aldean called "She Loved Me":

And I'm living for the minute
Loving every second of it
Fearless...wild and free
Nothing could stop us

It's just so true. I mean...I've loving every single second out here and honestly, I'm not looking forward to having to come home in the fall. I want to stay out here as long as I can. I'm looking forward to hopefully one day moving out here. Like I said, I could spend the rest of my life in Cody, Wyoming!

Well, my dad comes out tomorrow with my mom and sister meeting him on Wednesday....I cannot wait to see them! It's been over a month and I do miss them terribly! We're going to go to Jackson and see other things in and around the park. It's going to be such a blast! I'll be sure to update when I can over the week, but definitely be sure to check back for pictures!

Keep me in your prayers and y'all shall be in mine!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

June 11-14

The picture is Old Faithful b/c I realized I haven't shown any pictures of that!

I'm sorry that these updates are coming so few and far between! I've been extremely busy! On Monday, the 11th, I had my last day as the Shift Lead at the Bake Shop/Ice Cream Parlor. Thank God to be done with that place! That night I just went to a bonfire and hung out with some people and called it a night early (I got 12 1/2 hours of sleep!!)

Tuesday was when all the fun began! Spencer, Dan, Wade, and myself went down to Jackson, Wyoming for the day to look at the ski resort for possible winter jobs (For those who don't know, I'm considering doing the fall semester at school and moving back out here in mid-December to work at the Jackson Hole Ski Resort for the winter). After the resort, we hung out in town and grabbed a quick bite to eat and did some "touristo" things such as shopping, girl watching, and laying in the grass in the park (no grass at Old Faithful..haha and we were walking and were tired so we decided to just lay down). There was an Old West shootout song & dance type of number going on in the streets and it was really funny.

On the way home, we stopped along Jackson Lake in Grand Tetons National Park and watched the sunset...then trucked on home

Wednesday, Wade, Spencer,and myself went to Cody, Wyoming. We hit up the Walmart (you don't realize how much you miss it until you don't have it!) Then we ate some Chinese food (again, you miss it when it's not there) and then just walked down the main street and went into some of the shops. We also went into the Buffalo Bill Museum (5 Old West museums fit into one building...we get in free w/ our Xanterra ID's!) This was mainly to kill time until we went to the Cody Nite Rodeo. It's one of the longest running rodeos in the country and they have it everynight in June, July, and August. It was awesome! There was team roping, calf roping, steer wrestling, bull riding, saddle bronc and bareback bronc, jr. steer riding, barrel racing, and some other events. For you all that know me well, I am a huge rodeo fan and could pretty much watch rodeo all day long and be perfectly happy!

After these past 2 days of driving throughout Wyoming and seeing the Absaroka Mountains, Big Horn Mountains (where Brokeback Mountain was filmed), Grand Tetons, and some more awesome scenery...I just feel like Wyoming in a place where I would eventually like to spend the rest of my days. I don't know how that makes anyone else feel back home reading this, but you just have to see it to believe it! It's gorgeous

Today, I begin the new job and am just doing laundry and stuff! Nothing exciting, but always a good time in Yellowstone!

Keep me in your prayers and ya'll shall be in mine!