Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Yellowstone - Summer 2013

Old Faithful

I'm going to be living and working at Yellowstone this coming summer!

Don and I just returned from 2 weeks on Lake Mead - we were at Echo Bay at the RV campground. While I was there I got the good news that I'll be working at Yellowstone this coming summer.

Last spring, I applied for a job with the Delaware North Companies, the main concessionaire for the park. I thought that I could work there while Don fished - and I could use my days of for quilting and exploring the park. Teri from HR called almost immediately and asked if I could come right then (for summer 2012). When Don told her that the application was for 2013, she apologized, and said she'd be making the calls for 2013 in November. In November, I emailed her to let her know I was still interested, and she promised to make her calls in December.  So, while we were at Lake Mead, she called.  After a brief discussion about the job and a few questions about me, she offered me the job!

Here are the details:

I'll be a retail sales clerk at the General Store at Mammoth Hot Springs, near the northwest entrance to the park. I'll be rotating through various responsibilities such as stocking, cash register, customer service, ice cream and sodas, and unloading the truck. I'll work 32-40 hours a week, with 2 consecutive days off each week. The store is open from 7:30 am to 9:00 pm, so there are two shifts. I could work all morning shifts one week, and all late shifts another.  I'll be provided some black short-sleeved shirts and some khaki aprons, and I provide my blue jeans and comfortable shoes.

I will be paid $8 an hour, and will be provided a full hookup RV site for $54 a week.  That RV site will be at the Yellowstone RV Park, which is 5 miles from Mammoth in Gardiner, Montana.   The concessionaire contracts out with the RV park for sites for employees, so we know that many of our neighbors will be fellow park employees. That $54 rate for a week is a great deal, since one night at the campground is about $45.

I report to Human Resources in West Yellowstone on May 20, and will have day of training both at West Yellowstone and up at Mammoth. Don and I are thinking about going up a week early to have a little time to do some exploring together before I have to start work. My last day of work will be September 8, but if I want to step in at another location for another month I can get my name on a list.  I think we'll be ready to come home, though. 

I've done a little research, and found out that there are 2 quilt shops up the highway in Livingston, and if I want to go a little further, there are 4 or 5 in Bozeman.  I think that's more than enough to keep me busy!

I'm looking forward to this - so many people to meet, so many places to visit! 

If you're planning on visiting Yellowstone this summer, we'd love to see you!  You can get in touch with me through Facebook or here on the blog. 

Tower Falls

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Our last day in Colorado

...was spent driving from Lake City to Towaoc (south of Cortez). We got up before sunrise, ate some pastries and hard-boiled eggs with our coffee, and got the trailer ready to hit the road.

As we were hooking everything up, I had to take two more pictures - I just love the yellows.

 The campground is slowly emptying out. These are the four sites next to us. All those trees were green until last week.

 This was our view from the site to the mountain that overlooks Lake City. The sun was just coming up and lit it up.

When you leave the Highlander, Don and Dianne take a picture of you for their wall.  The laundry room has collages of photos of everyone who's stayed there the past few years.  I had Dianne use my camera for one of us, too.

We were able to hit the road about 8, and drove north in pretty nice weather to the 50 near Gunnison. From there we went west to Montrose and south to Ridgway. As we neared Montrose, we went underneath the front edge of a cold front, and battled a little wind.

At Ridgway, we turned west and headed up the Dallas Divide, and right into a big thunderstorm. After about 10 miles it began to hail, and when we cleared the hail, we saw that it had really dumped a lot of it. It looked like snow there was so much of it. 

We made it down the other side to Telluride, and then headed up and over Lizard Head Pass. Around 1:30 we stopped for lunch at Herk's in Rico - our favorite place, the Enterprise Bar & Grill, was closed.  But the burgers at Herk's were good, too.  

Around 3:30 we pulled into the RV park at the Ute Mountain Casino in Towaoc.  The RV park out back is really nice - it has full hookup sites for $30 and water/electric sites for about $20.  Our site had a great view to the west of Sleeping Ute Mountain.

Don went over to the casino with a $20 bill - and returned in about 15 minutes.  I think he lost that $20 faster than he's ever lost in Vegas or Laughlin.   After a dinner of cereal (we'd eaten so late in Rico), we enjoyed a little television before going to bed for our last night in Colorado.
[The next day we went to Seligman, Arizona, and were home by the following day.]

Friday, September 21, 2012

Up Henson Creek

Today we drove up Henson Creek to Capitol City, in search of fishing, yellow aspens, and historical sites. We checked all three off the list.

Hard Tack Mine - once a working mine, now a summer attraction that offers tours. We took one about 15 years ago and I remember it was pretty interesting.

 This is the site of Capitol City, established by George Lee in 1877. He thought it was in such an ideal location that it was sure to become the capitol of the state.  It had 400 people in its heyday, and now all that's left are a couple of old cabins and two brick kilns.

 This is one of the two brick kilns. The photo was shot from far away; there's a large swamp between the road and the kilns.

We stopped at a good spot where Don could fish the creek for a while. This is what I do when he fishes.

 Remnants of one of two dams on the creek, built in the late 1870s by the operators of the Ute-Ulay Mine.

 The old settlement of Henson was founded in 1871, along with the Ute Ulay Mine - which still remains an active claim. They're just waiting for the price of silver to go back up!

 Don's reading the placard about the mine strike back in the 1880s.

This is the lower of two dams built on the creek.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Back up to Rito Hondo; Quilt Show in Creede

Yesterday we went back up to Rito Hondo; while Don wanted to fish the little lake again, our main purpose was to see what the aspens looked like.  We saw that most of them have turned and there are even patches where all the leaves have fallen off. That happened up on the mountain across from our campground, too - a cold front came through with some big wind gusts, and cleared big patches of aspens.

 This is Mount Baldy Cinco, 13,383 feet.  It's visible from across the upper Cebolla Creek Valley. It's the first mountain south of Spring Creek Pass along the Continental Divide Trail (going north).

On Friday, Don and I went over to Creede to the Silver Thread Guild's annual Quilt Show. You can read all about it here.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

First Snow

 Yesterday's rain brought snow above 12,000' - the first snow of the season. Today Don went fishing in the morning, then this afternoon we hopped in the truck and drove up the Lake Fork.  As the valley opened up we could see the snow on the higher peaks.

 Looking south up Cuba Gulch

 Sunshine Falls

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

More yellows, and a harrowing experience

Each day brings more yellow. There are even some reds mixed in.

Today the weather forecast was for a 30% chance of thundershowers, so we risked a trip up Cebolla Creek. First you have to drive the 20 miles downriver from Lake City, go over the divide between the Lake Fork and the Cebolla Creek drainages, and then pick up the unpaved road that goes up Cebolla Creek.  For the first 15 miles or so, you're on mostly private land, as the creek meanders down a very gentle grade.  Then after you hit Forest Service land, the road starts going uphill through the Cebolla Creek canyon. We stopped around 11 am at Cebolla Picnic Area, where Don fished for about  an hour and a half.  A few small showers passed through, but around 12:30, it started to rain pretty hard. He came back to the truck, threw his gear in the back and didn't even take time to get out of his waders. "Let's get out of here!"

We headed up the canyon - we should have gone back down - and after we passed Spruce Dispersed Area the road began to get steeper.  Don was trying to make good time, but when we turned a corner we hit some ruts and the truck fishtailed. It's not a 4-wheel drive, and with the back rear end, we fishtailed right into a ditch on the right side of the road. I saw that the ditch was full of rocks, so knowing we had the rocks for traction, I told Don to start backing down. I knew it would get shallower until he could get out of it.  After about 30 yards, the truck made it out of the ditch, but we were almost sideways on the road, with the rear wheel on the left side nearly on the edge (with a 200-foot dropoff). Don gently shifted to low gear and we inched our way through the mud until we were straight, and had enough traction to start going uphill again.

For the next 4 miles we drove through sloppy, muddy, slippery conditions, and only began to breathe easier when we hit gravel. I remember saying several times, "Don't stop!" because I was afraid of getting bogged down.

After about 7 miles we made it to the top of the road - a good 4,000' higher than where we'd started. Pavement.

We headed down Slumgullion Pass back into Lake City, where it's been raining off and on all evening.

Tomorrow Don will go back to fishing where he gets to stay on paved roads!

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Day over 10,000'

We packed up a lunch and left after breakfast today for a trip to Rito Hondo - a small reservoir near Spring Creek Pass.  The aspens are getting yellower and yellower - look for them in the pictures!

 Our first stop was the Windy Point viewpoint, where you can get great shots in three directions. The one above looks slightly northwest towards one of the highest peaks in the area - Uncompahgre Peak (14,309'). Two peaks to the left of it is another fourteener, Wetterhorn Peak (14,013'). The peak on the right overlooks the town of Lake City - Crystal Peak (12,933').

 This is the view looking slightly southwest towards Red Mountain, and just to its left is another fourteener, Handies Peak (14,058').  The picture is a bit blurry, but you can see the swath of yellow on the upper slopes.

This is the view northeast towards the top of the Cannibal Plateau, where, 850 years ago, a huge chunk of the Plateau broke off and slid down the mountain. It formed an enormous slide about 5 miles long, which dammed up the Lake Fork of the Gunnison, forming Colorado's second-largest natural lake, Lake San Cristobal. (The largest is Grand Lake, up near Rocky Mountain National Park.)

Our next stop was Rito Hondo Reservoir, which sits at 10,050'  just below the Continental Divide. Don geared up and took his float tube out for a day of fishing


There are many cattle grazing up here in the national forest - part of the "multiple use" policy.

On our way back to Lake City, we decided to go down to the Deer Lakes to see if we could find a moose or two. We've been told there's a huge bull and a cow with calf, and since it was late afternoon we hoped we'd see one of them. We didn't. But I did see a couple of pretty ponds:

 This is Lower Mill Creek Pond. 

 Deer Lake #2. Lovely colors!

We made it back down to Lake City in time to have dessert before dinner - ice cream at the Soda Shoppe.