Time flies! The end of my summer season at Yellowstone is a mere four days away. Today was my final morning working the visitor center desk at Grant Village. It was my final afternoon leading a guided walk around West Thumb Geyser Basin. I’ll have tomorrow to tidy up any seasonal loose ends. On Friday I’ll pack my car and then on Saturday/Sunday I’ll be on a last weekend hike to Shoshone Lake with my backpacking co–workers. On Monday I’ll drive away to Salt Lake City for a visit with my nephew.
Sadly, I’ve got to relinquish my actually–not–so–bad–and–kinda–cozy government housing unit where I’ve lived since May 13. I’ve got to abandon listening to the eerie sounds of elk bugling in the early hours of these crisp autumn mornings. And worst of all, I’ve got to return the lovely geologic map of Yellowstone that I’ve diligently attempted to wrap my mind around pretty much each and every day of the past four months.
Along with 144 pages of accompanying text, the map has helped me on my lengthy journey of figuring out at least some of the rock formations in the park. The map belongs with the Grant Village library and must stay here, tucked into its own personal shelf space during the long, cold northwestern Wyoming winter. I asked the map if perhaps it wanted to spend the next few months with me in sunny southern Utah, but it declined graciously. It knows where its home is. To me, the rocks of Yellowstone are a confusing mish–mash of volcanic mush. Rhyolite! Welded tuff! Lava flows! I know what these words mean, but it’s not been easy to wrap my mind around what I see on the ground.
|Madison River cutting through rhyolite and basalt flows of the caldera|
I’ve had a wonderful summer trying to figure it all out, though.
This evening the interpretive staff got together for wine, cheese, fruit, and dessert. Awards were given out by our supervisor. For my continual efforts to construct a workable exploding caldera with balloons, a juice bottle, baking soda, vinegar, dish soap, and a drip pan from an electric stove (not to mention several rolls of aluminum foil), I was awarded the “Explosive Mad Science" certificate. I was surprised and pleased to also be awarded the seasonal Ranger Safety Award – but not, remarkably, for my exploding caldera efforts. I thanked my Friday–hiking, bicycle–riding, beer–drinking buddy Sacha for all the fun we had together this summer. It helped that she honestly does hike as slowly as I do!
|Sacha sure could use some Jiffy Pop!|
|Last day at the desk|
|West Thumb Geyser Basin - my summer office|