Vacation has come and gone, and I went back to work today. It seems the beautiful snowstorms of Montana have followed us home to Washington, and Puget Sound was hit with flurries off and on since we’ve been back. I have to admit, I love the pretty snow, although I do get a bit less thrilled when I have to sit in my office and stare at it with barely a glance outside when I could be outside playing in it, or sitting in a cozy chair sipping tea and daydreaming while gazing at it. The one time I stopped what I was doing today to watch the snow fall, my trainer H quickly intervened and had me back to work. Tomorrow I have to go in at seven-thirty, and next week Paul’s schedule is changing completely and he’ll work 4 10’s, with his days off being Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday. So, yeah, back to reality.
The trip was amazing. We took the snowmobiles out by ourselves on Thursday and Friday. Thursday, we didn’t really have a clear idea of what trails we would take, and we ended up having to turn around quite a few times. Completely by accident, we ended up at a little roadside diner for lunch. The lunch was delicious, I got a basket of chicken strips and french fries. The food was warm and filling and made me cozy as we got back on the snowmobile and rode back into the forest. By Friday we had our bearings and didn’t get lost as much. We liked the diner so much that we went back again. Our evenings were spent relaxing in the indoor hot tub, getting nice and warm and letting the jets massage our feet.
On Saturday, we had a day to just kick back, sleep in, and do some laundry (because we wore such heavy clothes, we decided it would be better to pack lighter and just wash clothes). We talked about going on an afternoon drive, but we were both feeling lazy and ended up just kickinbg back. We spent a blissful afternoon lounging in bed, watching reruns of “Friends”.
Sunday we were back in adventure mode, and boarded a snow coach tour that took us on a day trip to Old Faithful. Since we had done the route already, on the snowmobiles, I was a little worried that it would be a repeat of what we already knew. I was pleasantly surprised that Doug, our tour guide, was very focused on geology and taught us a lot about Yellowstone that I didn’t know before. Now I know that the park was the very first national park that was established (okay, a lot of people probably know that already). The park was established all the way back in 1872, when most people had to come in on stagecoach. The railroads started transporting passengers to Yellowstone, and luxurious hotels were built to house the rich travelers. One, the Fountain Hotel, was built in a clearing and had warm water, due to the thermal features of the Lower Basin. When the hotel was no longer deemed safe structurally, it “mysteriously” caught fire (luckily, all the furniture had been removed beforehand!). We learned that eighty percent of Yellowstone is covered in trees, and of that, eighty percent are Lodgepole Pines. We learned that the proper name for elk is wapiti, which means “white butt”. If you see an elk, it’s true. We learned that the thermal features in the park cannot be named after people or ideas, but must have descriptive names. Rivers can be named after people….the Madison River, for example, was named after James Madison. But thermal features have to have names that describe their unique features.
There’s a lot more, those were just a few of the interesting things that we learned when we were on tours. All three of our tour guides were awesome! When we took out the snowmobiles the first day, we had a guide named Cynthia who was both very good at making sure we were comfortable driving the snowmobile, but was also very knowledgeable about the park, its history, and its wildlife. On our first snow coach tour, we had a sweet man named Old Tim as a guide. He’s lived in West Yellowstone for over sixty years and he had a wealth of knowledge about the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone (which he took us to tour), and points beyond. We got great experiences from all of our tours.
The trip was so fun, I’m incredibly glad we got to do it together. I feel so close to Paul after getting to spend an entire week together, no work, no stress. We were truly the best of ourselves on the trip, relaxed and having fun.