We packed the car this morning and it was an exercise in practical physics trying to fit as much mass as possible into that enclosed blue space. I honestly thought I was bringing less stuff than last year, but it turned out to be just as much – it’s just different stuff. If I tried to cram one more half bag of cereal or even a pair of socks into the appropriately named Space Cadet cargo carrier I would have had to climb up on the roof and sit on the bleeping thing so it could close.
|Ready to roll|
Last year I did not even consider carrying a vacuum cleaner and attachments with me to my summer ranger job at Yellowstone. Or a crock pot. Or a toaster oven (although I did end up buying one early on in Jackson– so this one is making a comeback appearance for another stellar season). Or a printer. Or framed pictures to fill spaces on the barren gray walls (government housing needs all the help it can get). Or a specially constructed plexiglas box to use as a demonstration during my “Ranger Rendezvous” program, tentatively entitled “Whoopee Cushion Dynamics and the Yellowstone Caldera.” And I still need ten pounds of white flour.
Did I mention the house plant?
The printer actually nested nicely inside the plastic caldera Rendezvous prop, leaving only tiny pore spaces to plug with those pesky half bags of cereal and random pairs of socks.
If I squint I can still peer beyond a thin band of horizon out the back window of my car, but not by much. Clothes, cast iron skillets, saucepans, shoes, boots, spice jars, rain gear, soup cans, blender, rice, and assorted what–have–you have all settled in for the nearly 800–mile road trip, snuggled beneath my boy scout sleeping bag.
I’m going to be gone from southern Utah for at least five months, and I will miss it. I probably won’t miss the triple digit summer temperatures, but I sure will miss this view.
|Yard with a view|
I will also miss supervising my brother as he balances precariously on a ladder with a cigarette and rechargeable hand tools.
|I hope he knows what he's doing...|
But I’m returning to Yellowstone for the summer! Life could not get much better than being able to spend five months working in our First National Park (click here for a recent post about its history).
|Grand Prismatic Spring and Excelsior Geyser|
|Tiny white specks at top right of Lower Falls of Yellowstone River are people!|
|Madison River carves a path across the western rim of the 640,000–year–old caldera|
My plan is to take a leisurely week to get to northwestern Wyoming, starting with some quality couch–surfing in Salt Lake City along with a ride on Trax to the new Museum of Natural History. The adventure will continue with a few days of camping and geological road–tripping through southern Idaho as I travel across 2½ –billion year old Archean gneisses and schists (totally love those old rocks!) along with vast lava fields in what has been called "a weird and scenic landscape peculiar to itself." There is also the odd museum which I plan to stop at as I wander towards northwestern Wyoming.
Let’s hope I can find my tent. It’s got to be in the car somewhere. I think I wedged it next to the houseplant.