Monday, May 30, 2011

Yellowstone Late Spring Winter Wonderland

Yellowstone National Park is totally amazing and I am extraordinarily lucky to be here. It’s not everyone who gets to live, work, and recreate inside one of the world’s largest active volcanoes. I have come to the conclusion that if this supervolcano decides to blow while I am here this summer, I am definitely good with that. It can take me with it wherever it goes.

As I write this on Monday, Memorial Day eve, it has been snowing since last Thursday and we are adrift in a  late spring winter wonderland of northwestern Wyoming. I am stationed at Grant Village and will be interested to find out what this place looks like when the snow finally melts – in August, perhaps? We are at 7770’ above sea level, at an area of Yellowstone Lake called the West Thumb. A smaller caldera inside the larger caldera, West Thumb exploded around 174,000 years ago, 466,000 years after the last supervolcano explosion of some 640,000 years ago.

My two week training period is over. I have been at work for two days already, staffing the visitor center, roving geyser basin trails, and working on any of seven programs I will be presenting over the summer.  I will present programs primarily about the geology but also have an interest in North America's largest rodent.  Women in the early park service might also be one of my topics.  We are renaissance rangers, to be sure.

I am definitely good with it all.



  1. Wow! Well, I hope SOME of the snow melts by the time we get there in three weeks. I promise to try and meet you if I get the chance! Look for three or four YCCD vans and geology-looking students! I certainly never had the chance to go to Katmai last summer...seems like more snow at Yellowstone...

  2. Garry - I look forward to possibly meeting up with you and your group of students! Leave a message for me at the visitor center at Grant, if I'm not there when you come in.

    And about this snow... I hear through the grapevine and also on the radio that Snowbird ski resort near SLC plans on being open 4th of July!

  3. Wow, that's a lot of snow. I read how there are still roads closed in Yellowstone. Summer might start in July. That's a lot of programs to prepare, but I'm sure you're up to it. Have fun and try not to shovel too much.

  4. Gaelyn - The roads in the park have been closed intermittently for the past week but hopefully the worst is over - for now, at least.

    I forgot to mention another program we do, on fire. The effects we see today from the 1988 fire (and quite a few since then)lend themselves to great interpretation.

    I definitely need to find a "home" park so that I'm not having to come up with original programs every year. It IS a lot of work, as you know! But well worth the effort.

    That said, perhaps I have finally found my niche in Yellowstone... Time will tell.