She Walks Her Talk

Earlier this week we had the good fortune to reconnect with someone I had worked with during our time at Yellowstone National Park.  I believe she is someone who, in the purest sense, holds fast to her convictions.  She most definitely walks her talk.  

Beth and me

At the time we met, Beth was the Environmental Director for Xanterra Parks and Resorts at Yellowstone and I was quickly drawn to her as I too had a strong interest in the environment and wanted to learn more about ways to reduce our carbon footprint.  She was just the person to teach me and many others just how to do that and so much more.  She worked on sustainability and climate change projects while there and under her leadership, Yellowstone’s environmental programs thrived, receiving awards from the National Park Service all three years she was there.  I was blessed to be able to help her at one of the Yellowstone Park Foundation events.

Her heart held fast in California, where she maintained a home and had worked as a conservation leader for Yosemite prior to her time with Yellowstone.  She has returned here as the California Director for the National Wildlife Federation, a lofty job that we are certain she is up to, given her 20 year involvement with environmental issues.  Her focus is on conservation challenges for the state of California and how to best educate the public.

Beth kindly opened her home to us and we enjoyed a 3 hour visit over lunch. Even in her personal life, she embodies that of which she speaks.  Her menagerie of rescue animals includes 3 dogs, 2 cats, 3 toads, and I believe even her fish may have been rescued.  We are still talking about the wonderful visit we had, what great doggies she’s got, and are looking forward to seeing her again this fall.

Beth, Terry, and the star Dante (with Tioga under the table)

If you liked this blog post, why nosubscribe to my blog via feed reader or e-mail?

Change of Plans

As I have written about in earlier posts, Yellowstone National Park was on our calendar for May through October.  Our planned 5-month stay involved working for Yellowstone Association in their Old Faithful bookstore, where we were looking forward to reacquainting ourselves with old friends and meeting some new folks.  Well, as life would have it, a change of plans is now in the works as some unforeseen medical tests needed for Terry have caused us to postpone our trip.  Given the abundance of excellent doctors and medical facilities in the San Diego area, we feel it prudent to stay put for the time being.

Now for the positive news.  A cancellation here at San Elijo State Beach has allowed us to stay right where we are for the next 30 days (thank you so much Bill).  During this period of waiting for test results and possible other procedures needed, we plan to stay near metropolitan areas in California.  We still have so much to explore in California, so we will most likely do just that once June rolls around.  The beauty of this lifestyle is the ability to quickly shift gears, allowing us to move a few things around on our bucket list.

Although we will miss friends who we were very much looking forward to spending time with, we believe things happen for a reason, even when the path forward is unclear.  Staying in California feels like the right thing to do at this moment and with faith guiding us, how can we go wrong?

Since Yellowstone was to be our destination, I feel it only fitting to honor this first national park with a few photos that were captured during previous visits.  If you haven’t been yet, what are you waiting for?  It is a magical place even during the winter.  And while you are contemplating a visit, check out this fabulous photography blog site featuring the hunt of the Yellowstone red fox in the winter. We have seen a video of this and it is amazing!

Given our change of plans, if any of you out there have spent time in northern California and have some memorable experiences or recommendations for places to stay, we would love to hear about them.

If you liked this blog post, why nosubscribe to my blog via feed reader or e-mail?

A Few Yellowstone Pictures

Since I was not able to download some pictures of Yellowstone in my last posting, here are just a few to whet your appetite.  Enjoy!

Roosevelt Arch
Morning Glory Thermal Feature
Grand Canyon of Yellowstone - Lower Falls
White Wolf
Beginnings of a Bison Jam
Magpie at Mammoth
Indian Paintbrush
Big Horn Sheep ~ The End

The Yellowstone Experience

“Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.”  ~John Muir~

The Yellowstone Experience – something everyone should know.  My husband Terry and I were recently marveling that it took us so long to find our way to this land of magic and mystery.  After spending over two years in a place of such raw, wild beauty, it is time for us to move on and gain new insights and explore new corners of the world.  But before we leave this paradise, it is important to touch on a few of the wonderful experiences we shared here, together and with special friends.

Hiking was by far our favorite pastime, where we could leave the worries of the day and immerse ourselves in God’s splendor, the backcountry of Yellowstone, where we knew for certain that we were not on the top of the food chain, but sharing this wilderness with those who were here before us – grizzly, black bear, bison, and elk, to name a few.  Terry always felt that being amongst the wild ones kept all his senses on high alert, which was the best way to view nature.

Some of our hikes were shared with two of our most favorite people, Rosie and Jim Johnson, who we know from Sedona and who summer in Yellowstone.  At times Jim’s alter ego Jimmy would come along for the ride.

Rosie Relaxing on Rescue Creek Trail
Jim, Our Photographer
Terry Enjoying Pebble Creek Trail
Terry & Lu - Pebble Creek Trail
"Jimmy" on Elephant Back Trail

Friday, September 3rd ~ Moving Day

This was a bittersweet day for us, leaving the grandeur of Yellowstone, the people we have come to know and love and our apartment that faced Mt. Everts and allowed us the opportunity to look out our window and view wildlife at its finest, newborn elk and bison calves with their moms.  Some days walking to work was an interesting  journey of dodging the elk, who can be more aggressive with their babes in tow.

All of our worldly possessions are crammed into a 10-foot U-Haul and the back of our truck camper.  Of this, some would think, look how far they have fallen!  We prefer to see this as a very freeing experience that will allow us to pick up and move about as we see fit.  This is certainly not appealing to everyone but seems to be what is calling us at this time in our lives.

Leaving Yellowstone

One last lunch for a while with our friend Rosie (sorry Jim could not be there) and we are off.   We are sorry to be leaving so soon before the beginning of the elk rut, where the resident elk herd at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone perform quite a show for employees and guests alike.  As if staged, a very large bull elk strolled into Mammoth this very morning, getting ready to round up his harem of cows and steel himself against any other bulls in the area who may want to challenge him.

A very prominent bull elk lovingly known as “Number 6” (the ear tag number on him) was king of this territory until a freak accident took his life over a year ago.  He was a “bad boy” who had to have his antlers removed a couple of times for doing battle with vehicles and making a nuisance of himself.  He was a beauty who gave us all chills whenever we heard him bugle.  There were many tears shed over his passing.

2009 Mammoth Bull Elk

Goodbye for now Yellowstone.  We will remember your wildness, your breathtaking vistas, and all the wonderful people who you summon and continue to draw back to your beauty and mystery year after year.