Sunday, July 28 – Swimming with the Sharks?

A mere six weeks left until we roll up the sidewalks on another awesome season at Yellowstone. We’ve already begun noticing the daytime high temperatures have started to moderate and the nighttime lows are approaching the upper 30’s.  And we have less daylight to play with. On cloudy afternoons that 7:15 scenic cruise return to the marina almost demands lighting.

I had previously referenced the rap Richard and I perform when we do our safety briefing. We have refined the rap (please note I carefully did not use the word “perfected”) and are starting to feel comfortable with it.

Saturday Mary Ann wanted to take on the challenge of Mount Washburn. This is a pretty challenging trail that I hiked early in the season with Richard and one of the fishing guides. We had trudged through 10 foot snow drifts. Last year when Mary Ann and I hiked it the weather was overcast and cool. The first quarter mile of the trail is well know for the brilliant wild flower blooms that grace the mountainside for 2 or 3 weeks. The remaining three and a half miles were, at least this time through, sun soaked and hot, with lots of up. Mary Ann got her wildflower photos and also got her butt kicked by the sun and the mountain.

small flower2 small flower

Sunday we went on a picnic at our favorite relaxation site from last year: Nez Perce Ford. Last year we picnicked here a few times and pretty much felt like we owned it. It was rare that we needed to share this special place with anyone. It’s a quiet bank off the Yellowstone River where a branch of the river reunites with the main river. The opposing hillside is generally untraveled and the treetops are home to a blue heron rookery. This year, however, the secret is out. I think half the visitors in the park that day were there at Nez Perce. What a difference a year makes! We had brought our camping chairs so we made ourselves a nice little place to sit in the shade and managed to enjoy our lunch, relax, and watch the silly herons get squawkingly excited about some important heron business.

The work week brought us to an incident I still can’t believe I witnessed. The outlet from marina where the boat is docked passes through a narrow (maybe 50 feet wide) channel before passing below a bridge then out to the bay. On this very busy afternoon, Richard was just getting his narration started as we pulled away from the dock when I noticed something floating in the water in that narrow channel. I grabbed the binoculars and was astonished to see it was a person’s head, and the person who owned the head was swimming across to the opposite shore of the channel, right through out traffic lane!! Then I noticed two more heads and then another three! A group of about 20 teenagers and young adults was swimming across the traffic lane, oblivious to us and the numerous outboards making their way in and out of the marina! This is akin to playing hopscotch on a busy interstate! At rush hour. We had an interpretive ranger on board and he walked out to the fantail and told the people they couldn’t swim in the channel. I guess he looked and sounded authoritative enough and they were gone when we returned. Crazy.

All in all it was a memorable week.

Note to crazy swimmers: Next time stick with the busy interstate. I’m sure it would be safer.

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One Response to Sunday, July 28 – Swimming with the Sharks?

  1. Gary Buckman says:

    You are a natural John!