Saturday, June 11, 2011

a simple little kind of free

The following is an account of our first "weekend" trip at the ranch:

MK and I switched shifts with a couple other housekeeping girls so we could work the early shift on Tuesday and head out with Miranda to Yellowstone in the afternoon.  Tuesday was Miranda's last day of work at the ranch.  We met Miranda's boyfriend, Henry, and his dog, Maddy, in Butte and drove the rest of the way to Gardiner, a small town just outside of the entrance to Yellowstone.  Henry's friend Brogan is a raft guide with a river company that sends trips down the Yellowstone River.  The plan was for us to pitch tents in the yard of the rafting staff quarters.  The pouring rain prevented us from doing that.  Brogan offered us the luxurious garage couches instead.  I wish I had pictures of our would-be accommodations to justify our move to a hotel, but we were in such a hurry to leave the next day that I forgot.  (One of) the only problems about the garage was that there were three couches and five people who needed to sleep on them.  When a spider landed on Miranda, she decided us girls would be spending the night at the local Comfort Inn.  Splitting a $120 hotel room three ways was the best life choice we could have made.  After using our expert knowledge to critique their housekeeping tactics, we enjoyed a great night's sleep.
Me, MK, Morgan, Miranda, and Maddy at the entrance to the park
MK with her new best friend, Madeline
Geysers in Mammoth
Historic park service buildings in Mammoth

Gorgeous view going up the mountain
This geyser is the largest in the world (it's about three times taller than Old Faithful), but its eruption schedule is very unpredictable

Big bison and baby bison

The backseat gang
On Wednesday morning, we picked up Brogan's girlfriend, Morgan, and headed into Yellowstone while the guys helped with raft guide training.  We opted not to participate, since a requirement was to repeatedly play the "helpless victim" and spend lots of time in the freezing cold water.  The guys planned on doing several runs down the canyon for guide training and then coming back to get us for an evening trip down the river (sans boat flipping).  In Yellowstone, we walked Maddy around the Mammoth area, hiked to a few geysers, and ate lunch at the grill.  We saw lots of wildlife, including elk, mountain goats, and bison.  When the rafting guides finally got back from training, the trailer had apparently broken and there were no willing volunteers to take us down the river.  Saying that Miranda was mad would be an understatement.  We immediately packed up the car and were on our way back to Missoula.  This was one time when I was thankful for my dog allergies.  I had the pleasure of riding shotgun while MK, Miranda, Henry's roommate Chris, and Maddy were all squeezed in the backseat.

Back in Missoula, we crashed at Miranda's parents' house.  The next day, we went rafting down the Blackfoot River.  Henry's friend Gonzo is a rafting guide with five years' experience.  He kayaked in front of our boat and ran lines for Henry, who was quite a stellar novice raft guide.  No boat flipping for us!  Miranda has some action shots of rafting from her waterproof camera, so I'll post those when she sends them.  We hope we can have more fun "weekends" like this one throughout the summer; we just need a car!
Rafting down the Blackfoot River
Post title: "Perfectly Lonely," by John Mayer

No comments:

Post a Comment