It has been raining. Mostly light squalls that come and go. I spent an evening laying in my sleeping bag just listening. I mean, for the first time I can remember, just listening to the rain on the tent. It does make quite the cacophony as it falls. I noticed the pattern of stops and starts, increases and decreases. I noticed breaks in the storm and the peace when it faded. I really listened to the rain.
I have been in Yellowstone for 6 days, having arrived early. The first two days were sunny and warm and amazing. Then the cooler, rainy weather came in. Cool also means cold, like dipping into the 30’s at night. There was rain and drizzle in between periods of calm. The clouds have been hovering and the geothermal features much more noticeable with their steam and hot water contrasted against the gray looming clouds. The rain has not completely stopped for three days.
It feels like fall is coming. Well, to be honest, it feels more like winter is coming when I have to get up to pee in the middle of the night. But, there is something about being near the water of the lake and the clouds that caress the mountains, playing a silly game of hide-and-seek. It is peaceful and calming and exciting in it’s own way. There is something magical, soothing, deeply moving about the change of seasons. It is palpable.
Yesterday the Universe took wonderful and beautiful care of me. I had already chosen to stay around camp and explore that which is here. I needed a day out of the car after two days of touristing about. I woke up early, though I did not want to. The noise of the neighbors and the car doors and alarms got to me. I had enough time for breakfast and tea before the first squall hit. I used that time inside the tent to get dressed and pack for my day of adventure. Each time there was a break in the rain, I got out and did something. I hiked to the beautiful and historic Lake Yellowstone Hotel for a wonderful lunch, great views and a spectacular vintage vibe. During my hike back, the rain started to come. I saw it in the distance and wondered if I would make it back in time. I made it back just as the drizzle turned to actual drops. Perfect timing. I had a snack in the tent and did some writing. The next break I investigated the nearby touristy boat rides that went around the lake. Well, not all the way around, but out on the water and there was reported to be some historic narrative that came along. I walked to the ticket counter to check it out and, sure enough, there was one more cruise that had plenty of room. Thy sky looked good for a break so I walked back, got my money, and paid about $20 for the experience. It was tourist day, after all!
We got out on the water and another round of rain came through. You could see it coming. We learned some of the early history of the lake, the hotel now visible from the water, and some of the natural features around us. Well, those we could see, anyway. As we made our way back to the marina, the rain stopped. Again. I had a nice walk back and was greeted by a beautiful bull elk feeding in the small clearing on the other side of my tent. He was pretty rambunctious as he began to rub his antlers on the ground in a circle and get himself all excited. This guy was ready to rumble!
I had enough time to make some soup for dinner, get changed and brush my teeth. I contemplated using the rest of my firewood and chose not to. I had one more full day and then a morning and not only was I not paying these ridiculous prices for more wood, I wanted to conserve so that I did not have to. Then what happened? The next round of rain started. I was safely tucked away in my tent with articles to write and movies to watch. This rain, well, it has not completely stopped for hours. I mean as in all night. It has been raining for about 12 hours with only minor slow-downs. It never got cold enough to snow, but it never totally let up, either. Still, as I write this, it started again. I managed to get out to the bathroom after I woke up. I could see some clear sky, but, we have been denied that pleasure as of this writing.
I have one more set of tourist attractions to see today and then need to start packing for may departure tomorrow. Despite all the rain, I am still completely dry. I see where the water is leaking under the tent, but nothing has crept into my safe haven. I keep checking. Like a baby’s diaper when the little one gets up from a nap, I am checking the underside for leaks. So far, so good! The rain means I cannot cook, at least not out in the open. I could find a picnic area with a structured cover and cook there. I still have firewood to burn, which I hope to do this morning or tonight.
Rain or not, I plan to leave tomorrow. I have seen this park like never before, despite having visited several times over the years. I have spent time hiking and exploring in new and fun ways. But, I am done. I am done paying so much money for everything. I am done with the tourists and the crowds. I see why people love Yellowstone, but it is a sad trade-off. I still have my dream to work here over a winter season. I really want to see her sparkle and shine in the snow. I imagine the bison and elk hovering near a hot spring whose steam wafts for miles. Ahh, winter!
For now, and for today, I am a bit chilly but I am happy. I am glad I came, glad I stayed in the park, and glad to have spent the time. I am happy the seasons are changing. The cooler weather envelopes me like a warm blanket and it gives me energy. I am also at 7700 feet where the seasons change a little differently. I question what these changes will be like as I move East and then South for the winter. This will be the first winter of my life that I am not in the snow. What will my body think? What will this do to my internal clock? I am very in tune with the change of seasons and I am unsure what that means for my life on the road. Tomorrow I will seek out warmer temperatures and less wet conditions. Just because I can do it does not mean I want to. I mean the cold and the rain. I can, but I do not have to.
Fall is in the air. I can feel it, I can sense it, I know it. The rain has stopped for now. Time to get out and make some tea.
Cool morning greetings to you all!