There are activities Paul and I used to do more regularly before we had children. We liked to go fishing. We liked to golf. And we like to go cross country skiing.
Once the girls were born, none of them ever seemed interested in any of these activities, so they kind of went by the wayside. Now that the girls are grown up, and almost "out of the nest", Paul and I have discussed bringing some of these activities back into our life.
One of those activities is cross country skiing. We started doing this when we lived in Glendive, Montana. We ordered some skis and boots from the Lands End catalog, and also purchased some clothing and other supplies...everything we needed. Which was great, except for one small problem. It didn't snow much in Glendive, believe if or not. We lived there in the late 80's, and that area was experiencing a bit of a drought.
But the fun thing about that was we needed to go and find some snow. So off we traveled to Yellowstone Park. We stayed near Mammoth Hot Springs, which are absolutely beautiful during the winter, because they are all iced over. I remember driving into the park, and we were still down low enough that there still wasn't much snow. Elk were just lying around on the ground as we entered the town. It was quite a sight to see.
The nice thing about the park is there were lots of trails just for cross country skiers. So fortunately the people on snowcats went their way, and we went ours, which was much quieter.
And very unpopulated. We hardly saw any other skiers the whole day. But we did see wildlife. It was rather awe inspiring to be skiing along a trail as a 500 pound buffalo is staring down at you while bedded down in the snow on the side of the hill.
We also saw an ermine....pure white with a little tip of black on the end of its' tail...pop up out of the snow.
This was in the winter of 1988.
Later during the summer of that same year, some big news came out of Yellowstone National Park. The park experienced the largest wildfire in recorded history. If you recall, one of the reasons we had traveled to Yellowstone to go skiing in the first place was because of a drought. Well, that drought contributed to this big fire, because the park was so dry.
Because we had enjoyed our time at Yellowstone so much the first time, we decided to go back the next year, in the winter of 1989. This year we invited Paul's brother Kevin and his wife Linda to join us. This time we met at West Yellowstone, and rented a cute little cabin to stay in for the weekend.
The park had changed over the year. As we skied along the landscape, the charred remains of the trees looked like wooden matches that had been burned then blown out. It was easy to trace the fire's path during the winter. And often you would have a path of burned, charred trees, next to living, healthy pines. It just depended on how the fire's path wove through the park.
Again, we encountered wildlife. We saw a beautiful herd of elk, over 100, traveling through the park. We also saw an elk dead under a tree as we skied by...not quite as lovely and majestic looking as the herd.
We also had a visit from a baby moose at our cabin. It came down the road and was looking in the window. It was so cute....but we knew the danger. We did keep our distance.
Some day I hope to return to cross country skiing here in the Silver Valley.
Some day it would be fun to experience cross country skiing in Yellowstone Park again.
I'm ready to go!!!