Monday, July 5, 2010

MFA 2'10 Success!

Two days ago, my family and I returned from the wild west, unscathed, weary, excited, and so happy to be back in their own rooms and beds.

I'm going to reuse (most of) an idea I used for one of my last road trips, the one to J-ville, FLA with my graduating class.  So we'll have this summary and maybe some filling in of the gaps later.

Yellowstone National Park

Road Trip: Family Adventure: 2010 - Yellowstone National Park and The Grand Tetons

Hours driving: Um, I didn't keep track.  It took 45 minutes to get to the airport, 3.5 hours of flying, 1 hour of layover, 35 minutes of flying, then we drove for hours and hours each day of our week-long trip, then the same flying, layovers, and driving to get back home.

Traveling companions: Mom, Dad, and Sister Taylor

Roommates: The same.  Bunkmate: Taylor

Response: Nothing prepared me for what I saw over there.  I'd never been, and I didn't know much about YNP besides there would be odd weather and a lot of buffalo.  The pictures I looked up on the internet before we left showed some strangely colored water and a couple buffalo.  When we arrived at the Jackson Hole, WY airport, the stewardess said, "Please don't take any photos as you get off the plane."  We all thought, well why would she say that?  Our first steps out of the airplane made it plain: It was beautiful there.  Right as you step off, kapow, there are mountains right there!  Mountains and plains and streams and waterfalls and elk and bison and sky, sky, sky everywhere!  Yellowstone National Park is a huge hunk of wild, beautiful nothing.
Also, the thermal areas look like Mars.

Yellowstone National Park

Collected inside jokes: "Deep fried!"  "If you see something that looks like a pack of dogs, those will be the wolves." 

Favorite memories: We searched all week for moose.  Moose have been evading us since our New England trip years ago (we spent hours in Vermont searching for them with no luck).  Dad and Taylor got really desperate near the end, too, but, on our last night, Dad spotted a bull moose resting by some water far away.  We were elated.  Even more interesting, there were elk in the same area and a grizzly bear.  We got to see the grizz chase after the elk which was incredible!  A fantastic way to end the trip!
Other great times were when we got to talk with employees in the park.  A horse ride leader, Travis, sat and talked with us during our "Cookout" dinner one night.  Judy obliged me by chatting it up in one of the general stores, and Justin explained how much he loves his job by saying, "I haven't worked a single day since I became a ranger five and a half years ago."
Also, we had a couple hours to kill in the very small airport of Jackson Hole, WY before our flight took off for Salt Lake City.  The Spain-Paraguay game was on, and I was stoked to watch the Spanish take the win.  (We hadn't gotten to watch any soccer all week and only got updates through the newspapers and a little bit of Blackberry internet service.)  Even cooler: While my traveling companions were pretty beat, I was feeling very energetic.  Taylor agreed to play some card games with me for a while, but she got distracted by a baby and stopped after 15 minutes.  Left alone, I enviously watched a group of seven kids nearby (probably ages 8-15) who were having a great time with their card game.  It occurred  to me that, you know, I could ask them what they were playing...  So I did, and they immediately invited me and my sister (who politely declined) to play their game!  I had a blast until we all had to get ready to board our flight.  Playing with them made my day.

Least favorite memories: (Sharing a room with three other people, there's bound to be some snoring which doesn't make for the best sleeping.)  Nothing really to put here.  No one got sick, no one stepped in buffalo dung, no bears got into our vehicle.

No, wait!  I've thought of one.  As we were leaving ATL and going through airport security, I remembered that I had my pocket knife in my carry on with me.  Uh oh.  I told the security lady what was up and she told me my options: "Well, you can mail it to yourself, hand it over to me now, or, if it goes through security, we'll confiscate it, and, if it's really big, you'll go to jail."  Ha, woah.  That was unexpected.  I left security, found the US Postal Service stand by baggage claim and spent $18 to send my small knife to my home.  I think it's a funny story - getting into trouble without having left the airport yet.

Something old: We brought back the old idea of having team shirts.  The last ones we made were from 2008 and I made them with spray paint.  Dad had these ones designed and screen printed by a company in town.  They're lime green with a large, brown grizzly bear on the front with these words: MFA 2010 - Yellowstone - Don't be Bear Bait!  We wore them all together one day.  At first I was a little embarrassed, but we quickly became delighted by how many people would ask us, "What does MFA mean?"  Strange things bring strange people together.
 Something new: I bought a Camelbak water bottle!  I'm so excited! I've been wanting one for a long time, but I never got to any store where they were sold, and I didn't really want to buy one from the internet if I could help it, and, there they were!  In the stores in the Gran Teton park!  And, the kind cashier at the next store let me exchange the first one I bought for one that was a nicer color.

Something borrowed: The last day of our trip, Taylor and I were in the lodge room by ourselves while the parents were searching for moose by the lodge center.  We got a call from Dad telling us to hurry and come because he'd spotted a moose. Taylor had just gotten out of the shower and needed to get dressed fast, so she borrowed one of my convenient jackets instead of searching for a shirt.

Something blue: Oh, the sky.  They don't call it "Big Sky Country" for nothing.  It was huge and so, so blue.  Absolutely beautiful.

Yellowstone National Park

Lasting impression: There were so many incredible sights, but, almost from the beginning, I felt out of place.  I realized that I missed my kudzu-covered pine woods that these westerners sometimes call claustrophobic.  A strange thing dawned on me: I love the South.  Yes, it's true!  After almost 12 years of disowning this place, it was very odd to realize that I've finally become a daughter of the South, or whatever you'd call it.  I'm not ashamed to claim Georgia as home.  The three flights I've been on this summer that have brought me back to Atlanta have been the happiest flights of my life (if you leave out the air sickness of the one from MSP, at least).  So, Georgia, is it too late?  Atlanta, won't you take me in?


August 11, 2010 edit

I forgot a couple things!

Our last night in WY at the Grand Tetons, Taylor and I split dinner and dessert.  The dessert was truly epic.  The dessert is called The Grand.  Picture this.  Funnel cake, three huge scoops of strawberry, vanilla, and huckleberry (yum) ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, cherry on top.  It was so much goodness, and we ate almost all of it.

All photos by myself

1 comment:

  1. HUZZAH!!!! Your Southern mama is so proud!


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