|The Grand Canyon of The Yellowstone - Lower Falls|
I drove out to Montana in July of 1999 for my first summer in the park. The farthest west I had been before then? Buffalo, New York. No kidding. I took the advice of friends and family ("don't pick up hitchhikers" and "don't let your gas tank get below half full") and set out to cross the country mostly unsure of what I was doing and why. I had lost my job due to a business closing, and on a whim went to meet a recruiter hiring for Yellowstone at a local hotel conference room. Up until the day before I left, I wasn't all together sure it was the right decision to go thousands of miles away for a seasonal job in a place unfamiliar to me or anyone I knew. Nevertheless, I decided to go. Along the way I met kind people and saw more farmland than I ever guessed existed. I listened to way too much country music and hog reports because in some states that was all I could get. I swelled with pride at how beautiful America is, how diverse and huge. I imagined what Montana and Wyoming would look like, basing it on old westerns and Robert Redford's movie A River Runs Through It. My friend Andy and I saw that movie years before and left the theater in awe. He summed it up best when he said, "I don't quite know yet why that movie was so wonderful, but I really, really liked it." I guess it had planted the seed in my mind to one day see Montana. In fact, I now live in the town where much of that movie was filmed.
The last bit of driving to the north entrance of the park was stunning. Huge mountains on either side of the highway, cattle ranches spread throughout the valley, the Yellowstone River winding its way north. When I got into the park and eventually drove south to the Old Faithful area which was to be my home for the next several months, I was surely driving like those tourists who gawk at everything and seem incapable of maintaining a regular speed. I had never seen a place so beautiful and wild. And that was just the beginning.
|Bison cows and spring calves aka red dogs|
|Lone Star Geyser|
|DeLacey Creek Trail|