Sunday, July 21 – Screaming Babies

Well, it started out as a pretty mundane weekend. Ya live in a trailer, it gets dirty. The pollen has subsided for the most part but we still have a preponderance of dust and dirt in the air, not to mention a puppy dog who loves to prance around in the tall, damp, sparse grass outside our trailer (enjoying all the wonderful scents) and bring in as much of the great outdoors as she can. So, we cleaned.

Yawn.

Sunday was a little more interesting. We took a hike we’ve been talking about doing all season: Hell Roaring Creek. Our trail guide lists this as a moderate hike. What’s unusual about it is you hike down at the start of the trek and it’s an out and back trip. So the return trip is pretty much all uphill. What was also unusual was I got to do the beginning of the trail twice. After we’d gone about 2/10 of a mile I remembered I hadn’t locked the truck. So back I went.

After about a mile we reached a suspension bridge across the Yellowstone River.

bridge

After about 2 miles we reached the end of the trail. So we stopped and ate some trail mix, complained about how unimpressed we were with the finale, then began heading back. The return trip absolutely kicked Mary Ann’s butt. The sun was directly overhead, there was little shade and that whole uphill thing was a bit much. Finally, after many water breaks and stopping in every minute shadow we could find, we arrived back at the truck. I checked our trail guide to find out how I had misread what I expected to be an awesome hike and that’s when we realized: we stopped too soon. The grand finale of the hike was about a quarter mile beyond where we stopped. So Mary Ann kicked my butt.

On Monday we hiked The Hoodoos with Jim and Betty, our friends from Silver Springs. It was a shuttle hike, meaning we needed two vehicles because the beginning of the trail was about 5 miles from the end of the trail. We jumped on the Howard Eaton trail just west of Bunsen Peak trailhead and then climbed about 250 feet over maybe half a mile. From there it was pretty much a downhill hike over some of the most interesting and enjoyable terrain we’ve seen here.

On Hoodoo Trail

On Hoodoo Trail

From a work perspective the week was both challenging and fun. I’m sure Richard will appreciate that choice of words. We give about a 2 minute safety briefing at the start of each trip. Richard and I have always tried to keep it interesting by interjecting humor as we cover each mandatory safety item. This week we took it a step further by creating 2 raps: one for the main safety briefing and one for the life jacket demonstration. The two of us stand at the front of the boat and alternate lines from the safety rap. One time I turned my cap to one side, donned my sunglasses, and assumed the best adaptation I could muster of the typical rap pose. It’s a lot of fun and the passengers seem to get a kick out of it. Except for the guy who said we need poetry lessons. Rap? Poetry? Really? Anyway, one of the managers refers to us as the Plain White Rappers.

That was the fun part, by the way.

The challenging part was crying, screaming babies. I’m pretty sure Richard is taking it easy this weekend to try to deal with PTSD. The entire week was a parade of parents boarding the boat with infants in arms, carriers, slings, and strollers and these youngsters all shared one trait: they apparently will never become sailors. We no sooner get out on the lake than these bundles of dubious joy begin crying and screaming. This is obviously disruptive to other passengers and it makes it almost impossible to carry on a coherent monolog because you can’t hear yourself to know what you just said. Even though we alternate driving and narrating (and with 7 trips a day we alternate time slots through the week) Richard ended up bearing the brunt of this as it always seemed to occur when he was narrating. We only had one infant during my narration and he must have really enjoyed it because he barely made a peep. We’re both at a point we scrutinize the crowd gathered for our next trip in search of infants. In spite of our vigilance we often see none until they are almost halfway down the dock. Only then do we see the whites of their diapers.

Note to Richard: I’m sure that twitch will subside shortly after the season ends.

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