Traveling to Yellowstone at Christmastime has become a tradition with me. This is my report of that trip for 2007.
I fly to Bozeman on 12/21, well before the holiday crush. I have a few slight delays due to weather and the busy season but nothing that interrupts my plans. At Gallatin Field I am handed the keys to a Subaru Outback (my favorite kind of car). This year's version is white and I promptly name her Blanca.
I have a lovely two days at my place in Bozeman (Wendy's West), visiting my neighbors, taking care of business and just enjoying the humble but comfortable nest I have made.
Bozeman has a fresh dusting of snow - but the amount on the ground is considerably less this year than last. The roads are dry, although there is about a six-inch accumulation on the lawns and sidewalks from previous snows. There is deeper snow on the mountain peaks. The temperature hovers around 32 and it's slightly breezy.
I meet Ballpark Frank for dinner on Friday night and we have a blast catching up and talking about future hikes. He then accompanies me to Bob Wards where I buy a pair of excellent snowshoes - Frank knew they were on sale! Then I discover that my cell phone has died - no warning, no previous trouble - it just dies. Luckily, on Saturday morning, I am able to get a new phone for a minimum cost (mostly due to the fact that I am still within the 2 year plan on Verizon). Saturday afternoon I welcome my first non-family lunch guests, when Becky and Chloe drop by from Missoula on their way to the Park. I make them scrambled eggs and a salad and we have great conversation. And they bring me chocolate! Yum!
Then off they go, leaving me to begin my packing ritual for my own trip to Wonderland. One of the games I play is trying to remember where I put certain items last time I was here. It gets comical sometimes but I finally find my thermos!
Thanks always to John Uhler, Doug Dance, Ballpark Frank, and especially this time to Becky and Chloe.
Notes for newbies: CHRISTMAS IN YELLOWSTONE - There is a PBS Nature film called "Christmas In Yellowstone" that aired for the first time in December 2006, and a teeny segment towards the end features some shots of Becky, Chloe and me scoping across from the Tower Ranger Station.
ALLISON: I refer on occasion to “the spirit of Allison”, who was a shining-light of a woman, my friend, and the Queen of the Loons. She passed away suddenly in December of 2003. Her loving family arranged for her ashes to be scattered on Kite Hill above the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel in June of 2004. Many of us were in attendance at that ceremony. Thus, each time I visit the Park I feel her presence, and I hope always to share my trips with her.