Bear country

Vacations are best when my phone says no service. At the North Gate, I had five bars of cell service and at top of Donovan’s Pass, I had four bars of service. The internet connection was enough to log in and check my final grades, a B in Microbiology and A in Physiology and A in Archery. I enjoy the disconnect. I am not waking up with anxiety, instead waking to the morning light. This week has been a return to basics, remembering what is important.

The problem with brushing your teeth in bear country is you can’t spit the toothpaste in your mouth anywhere. Regular camping, I brush my teeth and just spit in the dirt. In bear country, I spit in a plastic basin and pour the water into the vault toilet. It’s an inconvenience that makes me appreciate the luxury of running water and flush toilets.

Camping: day 1: Madison Camp Ground (closest to the West gate entrance), running water and flush toilets ($26.33 + tax) online reservation only. Day 2: Jardine camp ground, outside of the north gate because all campsites in the park were full ($7), no running water, vault toilets. Day 3: and 4: Tower campgrounds ($15, cash), first come, first served. Getting a spot is like waiting in line at Camp 4 in Yosemite. We arrived at 6:45 am for a campsite and there were already 4 cars in front of us in line. Most campsites are full by 7 am. Day 5: onward to Grand Teton national park.

I haven’t showered in 4 days. To shower, I would need to drive one hour round trip, over a mountain pass and pay $4.16 at Canyon campsite (hot shower, not timed). We’ll take showers tonight as it’s our midway point of the trip. I wish all natural resources where treated like this luxury. It would help us conserve better. If you had to drive an hour and over a mountain pass, you too might consider the frequency of showers.
Food had been modest. Breakfast: fruit, pancakes, eggs, or oatmeal. Lunch: almond butter on whole wheat bread and (snacks) humus, tomatoes, wheat thins, cookies, clementines. Dinner: pasta, soup, rice, veggies, tofu.

I love Yellowstone for it’s vast beauty and animals. We saw a mama bear and her cubs roaming, grazing the grass near Tower Falls. We hiked among herds of migrating bison in Lamar Valley. There were many baby bison (calves) among them. We saw a coyote, fox, rabbit, mule deer, pronghorn, and marmot. We collected dead firewood around Trout Lake and Pebble Creek. We hiked to the highest point (10,000 ft. Mt. Washburn) in the park and saw valleys and mountain ranges. There was still snow on the ground at 8,000 ft, despite being June. Lastly, we saw the famous Norris geysers and Mammoth hot springs.

Yellowstone reminds me that a career in nursing will fit a transient life style. I can split the seasons and continue to see the world, spending winter in a place like Tahoe, and summer in a national park like Yellowstone or Denali. Maybe though, I might miss not having a daily internet connection.

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