Yellowstone, We Have Arrived

Just a hint of what awaits at Yellowstone

I’m about 2 blogs behind, but I had to tell you about our arrival and how happy we are at Lewis Lake Campground ! We arrived on July 12th at noon, set up our temporary site and then went in search of our co-hosts trainers, Allene and Charlene, sisters from Austin and Kansas. We introduced ourselves and made arrangements for meeting with them on Tuesday for our first training session. As it turns out only Jim attended the first training session. Why ? Let me tell you what happened to me while we were camping at Slide Lake outside of Jackson Hole.

Scenes from Slide Lake, just outside Antelope Flats

I woke up Saturday morning with what felt like a sinus headache or a toothache. I took some tylenol and the rest of the day it was just a dull pain. When I woke up on Sunday morning, the entire left side of my face was puffed up like a balloon. It looked like I had been punched in the face but without bruising. I knew it wasn’t right so we headed to St. John’s emergency room in Jackson Hole. If you ever get sick in Jackson Hole head to this hospital-they are fabulous. The doctor saw me, determined I had a serious sinus infection that had spread to the tissue under my skin (also known as cellulitis) and I needed to start on an aggressive treatment with a strong antibiotic. He put me on 2 weeks of doxycycline-the same antibiotic I took for Lyme Disease. It took about 4 days for the swelling to disappear and the pain to go away and today I can confidently say I’m back to my normal self !

Osprey family just up the road from our Slide Lake Overlook
Slide Lake
Gros Ventre River from Slide Lake

Camping at Slide Lake, in spite of the sinus issues, was incredible. We were about 100ft away from a family of Osprey and it was amazing to watch mom feed the babies !

And despite the smoke from the West Coast fires we had some incredible sunsets at Slide Lake.

Continuing on , Jim trained on Tuesday with the sisters while I stayed in bed at the campground. Our supervising Ranger gave us Wednesday off so that we could transfer from our temporary campsite to the Camphost site and set up camp. We both went back to training with our permanent co-hosts (Allene & Charlene left on July 14th for Virginia). Our co-hosts through the summer are Deb and Gary. And boy did we luck out-I think the 4 of us are a perfect fit. They have been living on their boat in the Caribbean for at least 5 years and since they wanted to return to the States for a visit they decided to try their hands at camp hosting. We hit it off immediately with them-they both have a great sense of humor, a dedication to doing the job the best they can and their priority is ensuring our campers have an unforgettable experience. We trained with them Thursday and Friday, then we had Friday and Saturday off. When we returned our shared schedule began. Deb and Gary have Monday, Tuesday,Wednesday and Thursday off. When they return we have Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. When we return they go to Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off and when we return we go to Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. Perfect and unbelievable that we are in this area working 4 days, 3 days off then working 3 days with 4 days off ! More than enough time to kayak, hike,take tons of photos and Jim can just about fly fish to his heart’s content.

Flowers everywhere

Our campground is first come first serve. Our day begins at 6:30 (it was 7am but we requested the change to 6:30). We drive a golf cart through out the 84 sites, pull the occupied tags of folks leaving that day-return them to the ranger station so that the ranger station has sited available when they open at 8:00 am. We work from 6:30 -12:30, checking the campsites for litter, compliance issues with folks leaving food out on the table when they are gone, cleaning the firepits as needed, and logging if the site is occupied by a tent or RV for our park statistics. We have our free time from 12:30pm-4:00pm. We then return to work,catch up with our ranger co-workers to see how many sites are available and then drive around the campground doing pretty much what we did in the am with the exception of pulling tags because the campground is usually full by noon. We only are required to work 32 hours on our 4 days and 32 hours on our days. Once we finish pulling the occupied tags first thing in the morning we are fairly flexible with how we put in the rest of the hours with regards as to how we arrive at 32hours at the end of the 4 day week or the 3 day week.

For instance, Tuesday night we had a horrible thunderstorm, heavy rain, sleet and hail that started at about 6pm. We were off duty that night at 6pm but when the storm cleared at 7:30 we knew we should drive around and check on the campers so we did. We ended up with 2 issues that kept us working until 10.30 which ended up turing our normal 8 hour work day into a 12 hour workday ! So the next day to balance things out we only had to work until 9:30 am and our afternoon coverage ended at 5:30pm. Our supervisor is very flexible with how we put in those hours at long at the occupied tags are pulled and at the ranger station before 8am!

Kitkat the canine ranger !
Loving the golf cart

This campground is such a complete switch from Moab. In Moab the majority of campers were young party people , rafters and climbers. Here it’s a majority of family and couples. It is one of the quietest campgrounds we have ever experienced. I know it’s early in the process and trust me we have had our challenges, but we are loving the camphost position in Yellowstone .

Mystic Falls

Last weekend on Saturday the 17th we hiked to Mystic Falls out of Biscuit Basin. We started out early from our campground at 7am and by the time we got through the traffic around Old Faithful we started hiking at about 9:30am. It was beautiful hike along the Little Firehole River. It’s approximately 2.6 miles round trip.

The trail follows the Little Firehole River

We got to the falls overlook at about 10:30 after stopping for numerous photo ops and some rock scrambling by silly me. We hung around the falls overlook for a bit and decided to head back since Kitkat was waiting for us in the van. We have left all windows open for her, two bowls of water and 3 usb fans running in her direction. The temperature in the van when we returned was 76F and she was so happy to see us !

Lewis Lake

By the time we returned to the campground we were all pooped so we headed to the lake and sat on the dock watching the clouds go by while soaking our feet in the cool waters of Lewis Lake.

Perfect spot for a nap

On Sunday we were both exhausted so we just took a little tour up to Bridge Bay via Gulf Drive. Along Gulf Drive we pulled over, put a blanket down, enjoyed the view and took a nap. After our nap we drove up to the Marina at the Lake Area past Fishing Bridge and Bridge Bay.

Enjoying the cool waters of the Yellowstone River

We discovered a lake cruise for $20 per person and we also discovered we could rent an 18 foot outboard boat for $66 and hour-we plan to do both before the weather changes.

Happy Trails , safe travels and remember what Lord Byron said :

“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more”