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Piles and planes

June 19, 2014

On our last day we rose to the chattering of wolf watchers. Cramming as much as we could into our morning, we headed to Lamar Valley to spot some wild life. As we headed out we began our day of mourning that we would have to leave this place. We hunted for the elusive badger, which eluded Marianna’s hawk eyes (this time). We continued down the winding road till we were obstructed by a herd of bison. Just past the herd was a conglomerate of wolf watchers who had spotted a pair of wolves clearing out a coyote den. We trained our scopes on the pair and squinted at the grey and black dots dancing in the distance. Then Ranger Rick, a friendly park ranger and wolf watcher, explained to us the intricacies of wolf culture. He said that it is thought that humans learned communal behavior from wolves. After his talk we headed back to the lodge, intent on a short hike and time to pack. Fortunately we were not afforded either of these luxuries as we saw a pair of wolves 20 meters from the van. As they made there way up into the hills turning into tiny black dots on the horizon we snapped photos and reveled in our find. Believing that our fun was over we once again piled into the van. However another unexpected stop was to come. A small herd of bachelor bison had decided to cross the road; agitated by the herd of cars penning them in they began to charge the hatchback Kathryn was driving, missing her by a few inches. Believing that our foray into Heaven was over we set out for what we thought was our last push to the inn. We set strict rules for when we would stop: only if we saw a baby pronghorn being tossed in the air by a grizzly bear or a mountain lion fighting a pack of wolves. Luckily for the pronghorn, wolves, mountain lion, and our flight, none of Melissa’s fantasies came true. At the hotel we packed our bags and said a tearful goodbye to Yellowstone. On our van ride to the airport, we received a final farewell from a huge flock of about 50 white pelicans circling over the Yellowstone River. At the airport, we made our way through security and now we sit 30,000 feet in the air writing of our travels; reveling in the memories this wonderful experience has made.

We were asked what tracks Yellowstone has left on our soul. The following is my (Alasdair’s) interpretation of the question.

Tracks on the Soul

Rooted deep in the land
Tracks on my Soul—

Sun beaming down from the scattered heavens
Tracks on my Soul—

Sitting in the natural unbroken silence
The question is asked—
The answer is demanded—

The path lays trodden by those who have gone before
Bison, Elk, Pronghorn, Wolves

What tracks will this majestic beauty leave on my soul?

By Alasdair Johnson, Ruth Parsons and Marianna Berry

For the last time signing off:

Alasdair Johnson
Marianna Berry
Allison Dombrowski

A pile of JCs at the Minneapolis airport!

A pile of JCs at the Minneapolis airport!



One Comment leave one →
  1. Yvonne Varghese permalink
    June 19, 2014 11:05 pm

    You all look tired and happy! See you soon 🙂

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