Thursday, May 24, 2007


We leave for Montana tomorrow. I am excited. We have to go through both Parks to get up there. A season pass for the Parks is outrageous. I am in sticker shock. It goes up every year. Oh well, I guess it is the price of keeping the roads in fair shape. Teton Park is beautiful but I love Yellowstone the best. I think it is the kid associations. The whole bear deal just gets me. You know, Smoky and Yogi and Booboo. We drive through those entrances and I am a kid again. Funny thing is, I didn't actually see Yellowstone until I was in my thirties. When I was a child it always seemed like the promised land. Like nothing bad could ever happen to you there. A weird fixation for sure, and it continues.

We visit the Park every summer. We have stayed in all the hotels and most of the cabins. They all have their charms but I love Old Faithful Lodge the most. We get a cup of something and sit in the comfy chairs on one of the upper balconies and just watch people in the lobby below. The huge log fire roars, the big clock ticks and we sip and talk and occasionally read. In the midst of all the hubbub I feel totally and completely safe and at ease. I relax. I am nuts about old hotel lobbies. I could sit in them for hours, and have. At Old Faithful Lodge the juxtaposition of all those Japanese tourists against the rustic log backdrop delights me. And all the kids racing around. What fun. We sometimes go out onto the huge log deck to watch Old Faithful blow. We sit in our pew with all the other cheerful relaxed tourists and watch the show. I've seen the geyser enough times now to be more interested in our companions. The grandparents and the kids love it best. And the honeymooners. They all hold hands and watch. Sort of like waiting for fireworks on the Fourth of July. Then comes the action, and the exclamations erupt right along with the geyser. Is wonderful. There is a surprising number of honeymooners. Who would have thought of going to Yellowstone for a honeymoon? Is a grand idea.

Markovian theory # whatever, (I've lost track.)
Women, looking for a quick insurance settlement, lure their husbands to Yellowstone and then do away with them in staged "accidents." For instance, they encourage the hapless husbands to feed the buffalo, by hand. They have the husbands lean w-a-y o-v-e-r a boiling mud pot to get a "good" photo. They pose husbands on canyon ledges and then demand a big energetic wave for the camera. They feed the poor fellows a heavy lunch and then insist on hiking to the bottom of Tower Falls. They send them out camping in bear country with strict instructions to store all perishables inside the tent. They send them into 'off limit' thermal caves to see if the sulfur steam, "smells this bad inside." They push them off the boat during the lake tour. They poison them with huckleberry ice cream.

He has come up with these thus far. Each year he adds to the list. I can't wait to see what this season's murder will be.

Other than the lodge and the geyser itself a big attraction for me at Old Faithful is the walking path. This paved path covers a couple of acres out in front of the lodge. It traverses the river and dozen or more other geysers. It threads its way in and out of trees and up hill and over dale. We get up at the crack of grey dawn and walk. We run into all sorts of wild life, and weary park rangers who have been up all night timing the geysers. Almost no one is out and about. It is a glimpse of what Lewis and Clark may have seen. We enter and exit the ever brightening light through steam from the geysers settled in the low spots. We have had a huge buffalo walk out of the fog to calmly contemplate us on the path. We all stopped stock still and stared at one another. Thank God he eventually ambled off as we were stuck. To get off the path was to be ankle deep in boiling water. A marmot chased us one year. This was before I lost weight. I was almost marmot meal. We have walked nervously through a herd of elk. Owls have glided over us. Birds of every feather have chirped at us. It is magical. By the time the sun is completely up we have made the circuit and are back at the lodge. We then go in and have a sumptuous breakfast. After breakfast we get a paper, more coffee and sit in the lobby and read for half an hour. By then it is 9AM and time for the real adventure to begin.

I can't wait.

Take care of yourselves. Love Bea.


Debra said...

Have fun, Bea. Sounds heavenly.

Cindy174 said...

I wanna go! maybe someday. Hope you have a great trip.

Andrea K said...

I went there when I was a little child, so my memories are very foggy. But I do remember it being lots of fun.

When you're done writing your memoir, you really need to do a book on Markovian theories. I'd buy it in an instant!

Have fun on your trip!

Helen said...

Wow, that sounds AMAZING. I wanna go!! Have fun! :-)

BigAssBelle said...

wow! lucky you. i've never been to yellowstone. perhaps one day. have a GREAT time.

daisyk said...

OK, I'm homesick.

I first went to Jellystone when I was in about 5th grade. We never went on vacations because we had a cabin on Flathead or just went to see relatives in Washington or Oregon. This was Mom, Dad & me. We stayed at Old Faithful. I laughed & laughed & absolutely did not understand the joke about the honeymooners in the room above us.

My favorite things in Jellystone are the Morning Glory Pool & seeing moose.

From there we went onto the Tetons, where my mother had camped in about 1930. I've never been back but dearly want to.

I love the East Glacier Lodge for the same reasons.

But Lewis & Clark, dear Bea, followed the Yellowstone River but didn't go to what is now the park.

Sorry: it's the Montanan in me who's being sentimental about living on the L&C trail...