There has been quite a bit of excitement here at Old Faithful since yesterday afternoon, when a lucky group of park visitors saw a group of wolves kill an elk in the Firehole River not far north of Biscuit Basin. I was on duty at the visitor center both yesterday and today, and so have not been out to view the kill myself yet. I got to see some dramatic photos taken by snowcoach and snowmobile guides, though, and all I can say is WOW. Read more
Posts tagged ‘Old Faithful’
Why would anyone come to Yellowstone National Park in the winter? It’s cold! (Lowest temperature so far this season at Old Faithful: -36°F. Lowest temperature ever recorded in the park: -66°F.) The days are short! (Sunrise today was at 7:59 am, with sunset at 4:51 pm.) It’s logistically challenging! (The only ways of getting around involve traveling “over snow,” which at different times may mean riding a snowmobile, sitting in the comparatively cozy microenvironment of an enclosed snowcoach, or going self-propelled on snowshoes or cross-country skis. You cannot drive your vehicle into any part of the park except from the North Entrance across to Cooke City.) Read more
Winter in Yellowstone is a time of magic and mystery. Snow-shrouded conifers are further veiled by persistent geyser fog, lending the landscape an ethereal beauty. I love the winter here, and have come to feel surprisingly at home in the harsh environment. No doubt about it, though, a Yellowstone winter can be hazardous—even deadly—for the unprepared or just plain unlucky. The stark beauty of the place is made all the more poignant by the tinge of healthy respect and fear it inspires.
Sometimes, facing fear is the best thing you can do for yourself. In choosing to come back to Old Faithful, I understood that I was confronting a number of fears, both concrete and abstract. Read more
Yesterday was my first full day home at Old Faithful. After breakfast, I checked the temperature outside—six below zero—and got my things together to head out for a quick ski. I felt it was my moral obligation to take advantage of the knee-deep, powdery snow before I tackled any of my other chores for the day. So then I faced the big decision: what to wear?
I feel as though I only just arrived in Yellowstone, yet here I am, packing and cleaning, getting ready to move again. Picking up and relocating frequently is the lot of the seasonal park ranger, and there are things I like about it. I never get bored with the inherently repetitive aspects of my job, for instance, and I welcome the chance to delve into a new homelandscape every six months or so. But staying put for two years of graduate school in Vermont spoiled me with “normal” life: I got to taste the joy of immersing myself more deeply in a place. To many of you, who may have spent your entire lives in one place, two years without moving may not sound like much. But for an itinerant park ranger, not having to move three or four times during that period was a heavenly taste of what it’s like to settle somewhere. Read more