Bears, Oh My!

Summer’s winding down and bears will be getting hungrier.  Rethinking my entire Yellowstone area hiking plans.  Hmmm.  How far south do the grizzlies range?

Bears, oh my!

Bears, oh my!

Cute story by Ryan Gebhart for Middle Grade readers about a boy and his grandpa.  FICTION, fortunately!

A Master of Education

The Ties That Bind --- Iowa City

The Ties That Bind —
Iowa City

Cover of "Journal of a Trapper: A Hunter'...

Cover via Amazon

It’s ironic, isn’t it, that Forrest Fenn has probably taught more children, and adults, than his father, whose life’s work was education?

In spite of any disadvantages to being the son of the school principal, a key bonus was the three month summer recess that the Fenns spent in Yellowstone.

The annual 1,600 mile journey included a 50-mile side trip to a one-room school house on a dirt road in Wyoming to see an inscription:

He Who Teaches a Child Labors with God in His Workshop.

 

Forrest began his self-education as a youth.  After reading  Journal of a Trapper by Osborne Russell at age 16,  he set out on horseback to retrace/reenact part of the experience.    (See “Looking for Lewis and Clark”,  p. 59 of The Thrill of the Chase {TTOTC}.)

Yellowstone Lake

Yellowstone Lake

He began his teaching career even younger, guiding grown fishermen around the rivers and lakes in Yellowstone country when he was “a young teen.”

College vs experience —

 “Who would you rather have working on your car, a man who just graduated from four years of mechanics school or a guy who has been working on broken cars for four years?”

Marvin Fenn, p.7 of The Thrill of the Chase.

Does Forrest still, at almost 84 years of age, regret not having a college degree?

“I still think about education sometimes, especially now that it’s too late to get any.”  p. 9 of TTOTC

(Not entirely true.  Every June, another septa-, or octa-, or nonagenarian is in the news in cap and gown receiving their long-desired diploma.  But I suspect Forrest would {still} be utterly bored sitting in a classroom where he’s smarter than anyone else in there, including the instructor.  If you doubt his scholarship, check out his expert knowledge on pottery, pueblos, geology, history . . . .you get the idea.)

After his time as a fighter pilot —

Instead of all of those medals, I wish I could have been given a college degree in survival or at least an honorable mention for just having lasted it out.”  

“My War For Me”  begins on p. 73 in TTOTC

            —  he served by teaching others to fly.  When he left the Air Force and began an art gallery in Santa Fe, his  knowledge sharing continued.

Bronze Moose

Bronze Moose Why is it cold?

 Read about school visits in  the chapter “Teachers with Ropes”, p. 109 of TTOTC, and smile.

Imagine signs that say “Please Touch.”

 

After the Gallery was sold, and he began serious investigation of his San Lazaro pueblo, he continued to share, to teach, giving underprivileged (I’ve forgotten his term) teens archaeological experiences at the site.

A Fechin

A Fechin

On Dal’s blog, Thrill of the Chase,  if you click on  Forrest Speaks, you can watch a video, How to Be an Artist, his recipe for success for a watercolorist in need of money.  Sound knowledge, freely shared.

Another fun video there is Woolly Worm, where he patiently teaches how to tie a fishing fly.  (He makes it look easy.)

I doubt that we’ll ever know the full extent of his generosity of time and talents.  You know, don’t let your right hand know what your left is doing.

IMG_0496

But, Forrest Fenn has gotten more kids and grownups off the couch and out in the woods, searching and researching any and every little bit that could, just maybe, somehow, with imagination, might possibly help solve one of his nine clues.

Cody Rainbow

Cody Rainbow

And not just for the gold in the chest at the end of his rainbow….

 

 

Worth the Cold?

Glad to hear of the successful rescue of a searcher who got stuck in the snow out west!  (See Dal’s site, Thrill of the Chase, for details.)

But hey, people.   Could we not be doing things that might keep Forrest up at night!  And his nephew Chip.  And the other heroes.  Just saying.

I’m only hunting morels and asparagas until the snow is melted in Yellowstone.   (Can’t eat ’em, but, you know, it’s the thrill of the chase.)

IMG_0017

Holy Pompeii Pillars, Batman!

Batman with his sidekick Robin. Painting by Al...

So what does it mean if the night after I drove through Yellowstone National Park I had a nightmare and woke up in a one-horse town frantically searching for the dust mask I had packed (somewhere) because the volcano had blown and the ash-laden air was getting thicker and thicker?!?

Can you say “Terremoto“?

{I’m still searching for Forrest Fenn’s hidden treasure chest BTW.}

Signature of William Clark, on 1806-07-25 at t...

Signature of William Clark, on 1806-07-25 at todays Pompeys Pillar National Monument, Montana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Where It’s Not — Part Three

IMG_0172In the morning, I drove through the tunnel, past Mummy Cave, and the BB Dam again.  About the time I stopped to pay my entrance fee to Yellowstone Park, I was struck by a blaze —  the blinding kind you get before a migraine, if you’re subject to auras.IMG_0231

At home my remedy would have been to boil water, brew green tea with half a capsule of feverfew, and hit a dark room with an eye mask.  On a 2-lane winding highway, I popped a cola for caffeine and downed Excedrin, and took a time out at a pull-out.  IMG_0258Then I spent more time at the ranger station/stuffed animal museum.  In the shade.

IMG_0240The ranger called the lone bison I’d seen a “fed-up bull” —  fed up of fighting the young bulls in the herd, and at an age where he prefers to go it alone.

IMG_0242There were 5 fires burning in Yellowstone Park at the time,  a few pull-outs were closed, but no roads closed that day.   I remembered the summer of 1988 and the massive fires in Yellowstone.  We could smell the smoke all the way over in Minnesota.

IMG_0243

Fishing Bridge

So far, going solo hadn’t been a problem (except for getting creeped out by a guy in a van who asked me where I was from.  He had just been staring at my license plate, so I thought it was not a real question.  This happened back at the Oregon Trail ruts and Register Cliff where we seemed to be the only tourists out in the 105 degree weather.  Not a good sign.  Maybe it was nothing, but  I didn’t like being followed.)

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake

Another reason I’m going to bring Mr. W next time came about at Isa Lake.

Lily Pads at the Continental Divide?  Is there a frog?

Lily Pads at the Continental Divide? Is there a frog?

I really wanted to wade into the lily pads to see what was at the end of an under-water marker, but a couple (searchers??)  from Salt Lake City was kinda killin’ time, like they were waiting for me to leave.

I won, but then realized, typical female, I didn’t have the right shoes.  IMG_0277

Also, I saw strange underwater bugs, a possible fluke-wiry worm, and a very fast little pond-hugging, mole-nosed rodent running towards me.  The picture that was supposed to of him is a blur of me jumping out of his way.

Yikes!

Yikes!

I don’t think I screamed.

From there, not far but too far to walk, I arrived at Old Faithful at the perfect time.  People were streaming towards it so I parked and joined them.  Another geyser was putting on a show at the same time.  Serendipity strikes again.

And then, something else.  Remember I left home without a GPS?  The only place I might have needed it this trip was in the parking lot at Old Faithful Lodge and Visitor Center.  It’s changed in the last 15 years apparently.  IMG_0292  The other thing about migraines is the mental shadow they leave you with.  It took me an extra 15 minutes (or so) to find my car, and then I scared a poor family picnicking next to it when the alarm went off.

IMG_0294I passed another lone bison as I continued west.  My heart goes out to the old and lonely.

On to the much discussed Firehole River and Canyon.  Is it “Where Warm Waters Halt”?  I couldn’t say.

IMG_0318

And then, of course, the much touted Madison River, which had lots of giant boulders lying around.IMG_0327

I tarried as much as I wanted that day.  I had a reservation for that night in West Yellowstone, so no need to hurry.  Just tried to absorb the beauty and if a potential solution to one of the TTOTC  9 clues presented itself, all the better.  IMG_0321

No treasure yet, but so far, so good.  Any day that doesn’t involve a trip to the hospital is a big plus.

Terremoto

English: USGS map of Yellowstone Caldera showi...

English: USGS map of Yellowstone Caldera showing earthquake locations. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first earthquake I experienced was the Yellowstone event in August of 1959.  Maybe I was 5.  All I remember really is seeing my mother upset in the middle of the night.  We had passed through Yellowstone that day and were in a motel room just west of there.  She thought a semi had rumbled off the road just outside but couldn’t see anything.

Morning Glory poolWe returned to Yellowstone when I was ten, camping in our brand new Nimrod tent trailer.  I do remember that trip, especially the bears banging the trash cans outside in the dark.  We climbed our first mountain, Mt. Washburn.  Gazed in marvel at

Morning Glory pool. I took some shaky black and white photos with a small square camera.

The Mountain That Fell

The Mountain That Fell

The devastation from the earthquake was apparent.  A highway disappeared into a lake.  A house/cabin sat half-submerged.  Giant boulders rested across the valley from the mountains where they rolled down from.  Huge.

Rolled down the mountain, across the valley and up the other side

Rolled down the mountain, across the valley and up the other side

In time, I made sure our kids saw the park, too.  Our youngest was ten. I just looked at the photos;  there’s a camera around her neck.    I used to hear them whine about being the only kids who’d never been to Disney World.  I pointed out that they had climbed a mountain, camped on an ocean beach, and seen every waterfall and cave that we’d ever been close to.  They got it.  I still don’t think they’ve been to Disney World.

My second earthquake (4 of the 6 have been in Illinois) was in the 70’s when I awoke in the night with my bed bouncing up and down.  No.  I didn’t do drugs.  {And now, #7.  Italy again.  Poolside.}

The third was in the 90’s.  I was sitting in the car during Intrepid’s dance lesson when the car started a slow up and down, very subtle bounce.  Sustained.  I looked at the railroad tracks:  empty.  Hmmm.  I listened to the news that evening.  A deep quake had occurred in South America but had been felt in skyscrapers as far away as Toronto.  I was excited so I called the US Geologic guys out in Colorado to report it.  I’m not sure if they made a note of it, but I thought they’d want to know.

The fourth was ten years ago north of Bologna, and the bed was flying sideways in the dark.  Giant headlines in the paper: TERREMOTO.  (I learned a couple other words that trip, including “andiamo”–what John Wayne yelled every time he jumped on his horse to go chase the bad guys–and “basta”–what the waiter kept asking.  I thought he was saying “more pasta?”    “No, no.  I’m stuffed.  No more.”   He just wanted to clear my plate.

The most recent two were in central Illinois.  Again, a bed shook, but first the windows rattled.  Then, later that morning, the aftershock.  I was in the upstairs of a barn.  It swayed.

New Madrid fault and earthquake-prone region c...

Interesting that the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12 rang a bell in Philadelphia.  An eye witness said the land rolled so much that trees rocked horizontally.  The Mississippi was re-routed.  They say the fault is due to slip again.  Maybe overdue.  The VA  down that way took the top six stories off its Hospital and reinforced the lower twelve stories.  Just in case.

There is chatter about how the Yellowstone caldera is heating up/acting up/lifting up.  Last time she blew, there was ashfall all the way through Nebraska.  If my search for Forrest Fenn’s TheThrill of the Chase treasure takes me out that way, maybe I’ll tarry scant  if the earth moves.

English: "At Yellowstone and some other v...

English: “At Yellowstone and some other volcanoes, some scientists theorize that the earth’s crust fractures and cracks in a concentric or ring-fracture pattern. At some point these cracks reach the magma “reservoir,” release the pressure, and the volcano explodes. The huge amount of material released causes the volcano to collapse into a huge crater—a caldera.” From nps.gov (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like Jimmy Buffet sang, “I don’t know where I’ma gonna go when the volcano blows.”