Friday, August 17, 2007

One thing congress got right.... Keeping out of Yellowstone.

So we finally get to Jellystone, and pay the $25 to drive into the park (Military Discount? What’s that? Just because if it weren’t for generations of guys and gals like me, we’d either be spending the day driving to the Eagle’s Nest West, or Tojo’s new imperial garden, or Ali Babba’s strip-mine). No sir, no special treatment here, unless you’re so old as to die in couple years and take the memories with you.

Then, after driving around and seeing some of the sights—geysers and pools, bison and elk, y’know… like at the zoo—we find our campground. I get soaked for another $18 to sleep in a tree less lot (because apparently trees are some untold commodity here). I set up the tent just as it begins to piss all over me. Being the ever-handy (keep your comments to yourself) guy that I am, I have the tent, poncho hooch shelter, sleeping bags, and air mat inflated in under 30 minutes, at night, in the rain. Then the rain stops.

I cook dinner (Mountain Home dehydrated food—yummy.) For the Mrs. and I, and we climb into casa de chuck and get some much needed rest, after taking a minute to look up and gaze at the never-ending universe.

Then the rain starts. That was about 1030 PM. It finally stopped about 1200 Noon, long enough for us to see some geysers (including old faithful—although it pissed on us pretty good just as the geyser started erupting.)

Prior to bed, I followed all of the “There be bears here!” warning signs, and policed up every scrap of food, water, trash, and other assorted things grizzlies seem to enjoy, then packed the gun into the tent. That’s when I had this thought—If a hungry bear stumbles upon the camp ground, and can’t find anything to eat, doesn’t that make us the only thing left to eat? Suffice to say, Carren and I survived (she even admits to enjoying herself—and I am quoting here—“Wow.”)

As we first saw the geyser fields, I could only imagine the white man’s first thoughts as he saw them for the first time—“What the hell are them crazy-ass injuns up to now?”

One last thing to remember about Yellowstone: all the beautiful splendor and purple mountain’s majesty, all of the cool clear streams, all of the beautiful wildlife, none of it would be possible to enjoy today without the efforts of those who for over two centuries have given measure after measure to protect it. I don’t expect anything to be handed to me, I believe in paying my way. But I also believe that national parks, historic sites, and all that jazz should be free to those who serve.

I also recommend a drive through east gate. The Shoshone national forest has magnificent views of rock-mountains and gorgeous landscapes.

A Final thought: nothing makes a cigarette taste better than fresh mountain air. I really loved watching the tobacco-is-icky and second-hand-smoke-is-the-devil-crowd gleefully complain about the sulfur smell of the steam spewing from the geysers. That’s called hydrogen sulfide, kids. It’s just like acid rain, and you’re breathing it in instead of my smoke. Breathe deep.


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