Thursday, July 7, 2011

Evgeny and I

are sitting in a laundry mat right now. Not the most convenient place to snag some internet, but it works.
We're at the Colter Bay campsite tonight, and probably for the next couple nights. It's a good spot... a little far from the hiking we want to do but Jenny Lake fills up super quick. We got there at 11:30 this morning and it was full. The last two nights we stayed at Signal mountain campsite- too many bugs. Ah so many bites. Oh, this is all in the Grand Teton National Park by the way. It's gorgeous here... the tetons are the youngest peaks of the rockies, clocking in at 10 million years old. They're breathtakingly beautiful. The day before yesterday Ev and I went on a 5.5 mile hike in some meadows around a lake, then rented a small fishing boat to get on the water. It was supposed to be 36 bucks an hour but was free since our motor kicked out and they had to come tow us in. Since we were super close to the docks, it was awesome how it worked out.
Before we got to the Tetons, I drove from Glacier National Park to the Billings airport in MT to pick up Evgeny. His flight got in at 1:20 and I was 9 hours out so I had to wake up super early. I haven't seen the sun rise in a long time. I know witnessing it in all of these amazing places would be worth the loss of a few hours of sleep, but i still have yet to break through my laziness. I have to while I'm here though- the tetons glow pink in the morning :)

Glacier national park was... AMAZING! Like... I can't even describe how stunning the mountains were. Their sharp inclines, harsh edges and steep drop offs. The snow caped tips, and the fog over the turquoise, glacier fed lakes and streams. It was cold in the morning, california weather in the afternoon and chilly at night. That's how camping should be. Ah, I will be going back there often in my life. Just like Yosemite, that place touched my soul. The mature forests, soaking wet with nutrients and life. The swollen gorges. Ah!
I wish Caylynn or Evgeny had been there with me... the amazement I felt could have been matched with blissful fun. Being alone though, "fun" only happens in moments. At least for me. Enjoyment can be constant but laughter, lightheartedness and empty mindfulness is only achieved in company.

I am definitely realizing this trip could have been better with company. I mean, I've always known that but I was hoping that reality would fade after a while. Yes it's been only two weeks or more that i've been on the road, so adjusting can still be done. But i think it's a never ending truth: that life is better when shared.

Back to the story:
The airport lost pogo's bag so we had to deal with that issue for a while- not the most ideal reunion. Billings is just like Fresno. If you've ever been to either you'd know what I mean when I say they just SUCK. It was nice to drive out of there.

Arriving at Yellowstone National park, we stopped in to this camping area to make sure we were close to the one we made reservations at. This one was privately owned and the owner was the one answering our questions. He tried very hard to fear monger us into renting a spot from him. He claimed that no one tent camped where we were going, that Grizzley's killed two guys there just a week ago, that "if it was my daughter, I'd handcuff her and force her not to sleep there!" He relayed a story to us about the last time he stayed nearer the park's entrance, and how as a 14 year old he watched his father beat a grizzley with a flashlight. Pogo caught his intentions once he started talking numbers and what his site had to offer: "i've got the only site with a heated pool, the only one with laundry, the only one with" blah blah blah i don't care!! I just want to camp.
We went to our site, found it was flooded and were sent to a site even further inside the park- but not by much. There we asked the host if tent camping was smart there. He very casually told us that of course it is, that we just need to use our bear box and keep food out and away from the tent- things we already knew. What a cheep skate! What a jerk man... he really wanted to make some money.

Anyway! We camped at rex hale and it was a great little spot right next to the river. We enjoyed our three night stay there, but the driving Yellowstone requires was unexpected and overwhelming. Especially due to the fact that it was fourth of july weekend. There was traffic in the park. SO many people would swerve off the road or stop right in the middle of it to view a bison- you know, one of those big cow like animals that you can see ALL throughout the park. Sheesh, it got super annoying.
The thermal features were alien to anything i've seen before. It was very cool to see boiling, crystal clear pools of turquoise water and yellow shores that fed steaming auburn orange streams. The geysers were sweet as well. I enjoyed the sticky gross mud pools that burped and belched and farted mud bubbles. ahaha. But it's funny, those awesome things weren't that impressive to me, compared to intense mountains and lakes. Something about vastly huge rocks just keeps me interested for weeks. I liked yellowstone for what it was, but as soon as Evgeny and I entered the Tetons, our moods and spirits elevated. The taller trees just make you feel at home.

It seems like it may rain and we left the tent flaps open, not to mention i'm getting hungry- and a hungry natalie is almost as bad as getting between a mama bear and her cubs! haha. not really though, because a man was just killed in yellowstone yesterday for doing that on accident. You feel safe when you're in bear country for a week without a single paw print or sighting, but after hearing that report, you're reminded that humans really don't belong here. Even visiting is risky. Be bear aware!

Love and hugs sent to you!