YNP: In the Beginning. . .

Made it bright and early to Yellowstone National Park on Memorial Day, and found out that I was but one of five people scheduled to check in that day. I found this confusing, and it turns out that most of my fellow Wranglers had checked in on Saturday.

I still don't know why I am so special.

Well, it looks like this is going to be a miserable experience where I have to be around smelly horses all day and work long hours with low pay and deal with horrendous customers who have never ridden a horse in their life. It should be a summer in hell.

End Sarcasm.

Ok, from the moment I got here, I've been excited. I haven't been to Yellowstone since I was two, and this place is amazing. Being a National Park, it isn't maintained in the same way that National Forests are, in other words, Yellowstone is maintained as a wild forest. There is definitely still signs of the fire in 1988 here, but there is also great signs of rebirth in the forests as they grow. And there are animals everywhere. Its not uncommon to see a bunch of cars backed up because of a huge bison in the middle of the road.

Turns out if you creep up on the bison, they will get out of your way. If you just stop and wait for it to move, it will just stare at you and think 'how nice of them to stop so I don't have to move'.

Bison appear to own the park. They're everywhere.

Meanwhile, I have made my home in a rustic one room cabin heated only by a woodburning stove where I share the place with three other girls about my age, though I have discovered that I'm the old one in the group. They try to keep the legal ages together for alcohol consumption reasons, though me being the non-partier type, I don't really care.

Much different atmosphere then my year in Kosovo, which was completely dry and I had nothing in common with my roommates.

One of the girls got into a discussion with me on politics, as it was quickly learned that I am in the military, and she wanted my opinion on Bush. I told her my stance, especially as a soldier that I'm supposed to be neutral. Then we got into a discussion about the last presidential campaign and I told her my honest opinion on why I felt Kerry lost. Most specifically, because he had no agenda.

Interestingly enough, the conversation remained civil (she's a democrat that's openminded to conservative views) and so far I'm pretty good friends with all the female wranglers here at Roosevelt. So far. I'm hoping that it remains that way. We have to depend on each other for morale support, and you need plenty of friends for Hiking excursions, adventures with White Water Rafting, Back Country Horseback Riding, so on and so forth.

We are here because we deal with horses. Looking back, I have discovered that it was amazing that I managed to nab this job. Its considered one of the best jobs in the park (though it is hard work) And looking at all the horse experience my coworkers have, I look at myself and think 'oh crap, am I going to come across as a complete idiot in horse matters?' I've never driven a stagecoach before, but this week I get to learn how to do it. All next week we have to get the Dude Horses familiar once again with the trails, so that means that all day every day next week, I'm going to be riding horses.

Oh the agony of it all.

I have to admit that after the first day, I will likely be pretty saddle soar, but I can't imagine a job that fits me better then being paid to take horses on trail rides all day in Yellowstone. And they are totally willing to work with my drill weekends. I only have two while I'm here, and I get to drill in Helena Montana with a sister unit. I have one pretty early in the summer and another toward the end of summer.

Well, as a Wrangler, leading unsuspecting guests on trailrides throughout Pleasant Valley in Yellowstone, we have to learn commentary and be able to tell our guests things about the area, and be familiar enough with Yellowstone so that we can answer questions. To do so, yesterday they took us on a tour of Yellowstone and showed us all of the main attractions.

And they paid us.

Is this a great job or what?

Yellowstone is actually still very much in the spring season. At Mammoth Hot Springs, we got to see some of the more unusual hotsprings and learned a bit about their formation. Geology galore! This builds up about 24 inches of limestone a year. Eventually it will dry up and the spring will move somewhere else, but the formation of it is amazing! They have these little bacteria in the water that only thrives at temperatures between 130-160 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning that they are harmless to humans as they would freeze to death. They make these beautiful colors and when they die, they become pink before turning grey.

This is the lower terrace.

The day started of bright blue and beautiful, but throughout the day, it got grey and muggy and started hailing on us. We saw a ton of geysers and hot springs steaming up all over the place (and lots of waterfalls) when we stopped to eat lunch at Old Faithful.

I'll have to go back and get a better picture of it some time in the future. I walked up to Old Faithful just as it spurted and sprouted. I was in the wrong side of it to get a good look at it, but it went off right on schedule.

Lower Falls and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. One word to describe this place.


It started snowing on us when we got there. By far my favorite waterfall, but nonetheless, all the waterfalls here are stunning. I would whole heartily recommend coming out and seeing the wonders of Yellowstone in person. And give yourself a few days so you can actually hike around some of the sites. I haven't really gotten to do that yet, we basically got the park off the bus and on again tour, but now that I know where the main sites are, I got plenty of opportunities to explore. Plus the backcountry.

And some extra benefits to being a wrangler. Taking a horse in the backcountry for a day or so. As long as they are two of us (Wranglers only) we are permitted to take company horses trail riding on our days off. And this isn't the typical Nose to Tail tours that most guests have to take. We actually have the freedom to trot and canter the horses a bit.

So far, the saddle horses haven't arrived yet. But the Draft Horses have. They have Shires, Percherons and a gob of Belgians. We have to learn their names and who goes with who so we can harness the right teams for when they are scheduled to do the wagon and stagecoach rides.

And I get to learn how to drive them. :)

Here is a couple of the Black Percherons.

One of the Belgians. These guys, despite their gargantuan size, appear to be rather cuddly.

We learn how to drive a team of horses on Friday, as well as harness them up and all of that. The saddle horses come then too.

The rides start on the 9th.

They commence for the rest of the summer.

What can i say? I'm in bliss.


Heading Off

Today I leave for a fun filled summer in Yellowstone. They do have limited internet access there, and I can only hope that my adventures will have me updating my blog in a more active and fascinating matter as opposed to late.

Last night I couldn't sleep, the excitement must have been tensing me up. Tomorrow I have to check in and then I've got the whole summer waiting for me.

In the meantime, I've got the fall and my plans in regards to school and what not in the horizon as well. Then another job hunt as well when I get back.

Signing off for now, hopefully I'll be coming back with a little more excitement to offer. . .


Sketchity. . .

I was wondering if I portrayed this picture properly, in the longrun, it came out pretty good.

Girl blowing a bubble.

I need to focus on drawing like this more often.


Status Post

Drill weekend has once again come and gone. . . the last drill at that drill hall until September at least.

My life seems to be coming together a little better lately, I've gotten a clearer idea of what I'm planning to do and where my life is going.

And I've got a week left until Yellowstone. Hallelujah.

In fact, this whole week will be a lot of working to get ready for my summer job, which in a lot of ways I feel will be a summer vacation :)

School this fall, army and my summer job. Right now, this appears to be the top focus of my life. It feels good.


American Idol

When a show like this starts in a season, I swear I won't get hooked on it. I have still yet to watch a single episode of Survivor or any other reality show.

Well, I got hooked on American Idol when my sister came over and insist we watch it. So I sat down and watched it and grr... I'm hooked on it.

I was personally rooting for Chris and even took the time to send in one phone call to vote for him. But alas, he got booted off last week. I think its the rocker that appealed to me, as the other singers don't have the edge of the music I normally listen too. That said, here is my opinion on the last Three American Idol Contestants.

Kat - She's the last female left, and I think something struck me about her in that I actually really liked her. I was hoping she would face off with Chris in the finale, except for the last couple of weeks she's been off her game. Still, of the three that is left she's pretty much the most marketable. I like her voice, she kind of reminds me of Norah Jones.

Elliot - He looks a little like Seth Green. Kind of dorky to, but I've discovered I'm a bit of a sucker for a dork. He does have a poweful voice, and of the final three, I hope he faces off with Kat. However, chances are one of these two are going to get voted off tomorrow.

Taylor - Is this guy some kind of spaz? I never understood his appeal, though I'm glad he's decided to do something a little different with his hairstyle (it looked like a haircut that a ten year old would have). The grey works, though it ages him by about fifteen years. I don't understand how they will be able to market him either. My guess is he'll make the final two and hopefully Kat or Elliot can beat him out of the running. Not saying anything bad about his singing, he's talented, but his style doesn't really appeal to me. I'm more likely to buy something by Kat or Elliot then Taylor.

But my record for buying an Album by an American Idol winner? Hmm, just one, Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson, and that was produced outside the net of American Idol. So whoever wins, i'll likely not really get into the whole spiel (though I probably would have bought something by Chris, mainly because that's the sound that appeals to me). So, well, may the best singer win.

Schooling Options

I've been debating on the whole schooling process, when I decided on something that really struck me as a job I would love to do.


Actually, if you think about it, it's a growing career field and you see animation everywhere. It also crosses over into the gaming industry. I already love drawing, and I was thinking that this is a way to get more proficient in something I enjoy doing and making a legit career out of it. I might have to relocate to make a living, but its something that sounds like if it comes down to it, I could probably still do it from a distance. Eh, we'll see.

If I can manage to still do it from some place local, I think that would be perfect. The only place I really don't want to go that strikes me as the animation hub is California. Something about moving back to the Golden State sends chills. I think I'll see if there is a market in Seattle first.


Warm Fuzzies

A couple of days ago, we were getting onto the freeway when we noticed something laying in the middle of the onramp that looked suspciously like a wallet and checkbook. When we went back to see, sure enough it was.

We went about looking for the owner of the checkbook and wallet, finding an address and phone number and sure enough, we managed to find the owner. He had apparently stopped at Costco and sat them both down on his bumper as he filled the gastank. Being grateful, he gave us an award for returning it right away. Kind of scary really, having all of your information like that, especially these days with Identity theft and all.

I just felt good about doing the right thing and returning the wallet to its rightful owner, and I would hope that anybody would do just that without question. Unfortunately, we live in this day and age where people are out only for themselves, and if you can get ahead by taking advantage of somebody else, well, that's the way to do it these days, isn't it? It never crossed my mind to do anything with the wallet other then to return it to its owner, and I didn't expect to get paid for doing the right thing either.

But honestly, doing the right thing, and in the meantime, letting this guy know that there are still people out in the world who want to do the right thing, it just makes you feel good about yourself. I can only hope that there are still more people in the world who want to do the right thing out there then those who don't.


Celebrities Should Stay Out of Politics

I heard on a commercial break for 60 Minutes that the Dixie Chicks are trying for a comeback.

Interestingly enough how the dixie chicks have become old news and everything, I'm curious as to how much of a comeback they are going to be able to make. Looking back now, they might think that because the President is suffering record low popularity that maybe people will forgive them or what not and listen to their music again.

I'll admit that I like the Dixie Chick's music. Hey, if they make a successful comeback, all the more power to them.

One thing that people should understand that you will always have the freedom of speech in this country, however you have to realize that you are not free of consequences suffered because of your speech. Celebrities should take note to hold true to this if they want to keep their careers, unless they wish to sacrifice their popularity for a chance to be heard.

Strange, there are plenty of conservative celibrities, but I don't remember them bashing Clinton. And for that matter, I didn't hear a lot of Gore or Kerry bashing either, unless you count Saturday Night Live, to which no politician is exempt. Correct me if I'm wrong. In fact, the conservative celibrities I know about tend to keep their opinions to themselves or just merely show support for their candidate. I don't mind celebrities backing one man, whoever that may be.

There is something I have learned in my experience with the world. Politicians, by and large, are crooks with dirt. Mostly because they are human and they make mistakes, and there is always something to dig up on them. A truly honest person, the kind that most people invision as the perfect president, is a person that will never run for office.

I'm not a huge Bush fan, I haven't really agreed with his policies inacted while in office, especially of late, and I've also grown greatly disappointed with the Republican Party (one of the reasons why I say I'm conservative and not a Republican), but I still respect the office he holds and the fact that he is President. I still don't regret voting for the man, and maintain that indeed, I am not sorry.

Interestingly enough, when you show support of something or somebody, it tends to go over better then to be against something or somebody.

Hence, why when all of these celebrities appear to come out against something (namely, our President), their careers start to take a nose dive. Case in point, Alec Baldwin, Bruce Springsteen (anybody hear much about him lately?), Jane Fonda, anybody spoofed in Team America: World Police, and the Dixie Chicks. Seems with the lack of block busters as of late, it seems like Hollywood in general has taken a hit.

I know I haven't seen many movies in the theaters late. Somebody should take note.


Bloomsday Aftermath

Oh, The Pain!!!

I know better then to run a 12K roadrace cold turkey, but due to total lack of motivation lately, I haven't been working up to running Bloomsday like I probably should have. Which has caused me to be in a wee bit of pain the next day, which makes walking down stair cases torture.

But still, I found this running of Bloomsday (Spokane's own personal holiday) to be a kick in the pants. For lack of a better word.

I ran it with my brother, sister and their spouses (who are incidentally also related to each other, but I promise its legal). Bloomsday has a new way of doing things, everyone starts at the same start point and each individual has their own computerized chip chaffing their ankle to time when we go across the start line all the way to the finish.

I thought i did fairly well, considering I had ran this thing cold turkey. Its a 12K road race, and I did it in roughly 1 hour and 35 minutes. I could stand to get out and run a bit more, and I likely would have gotten a better time if I didn't take my iPod with me. I had to stop to adjust it every time it fell out of my ear or just to set it up.

Meanwhile, I ended up running most of it to Linkin Park, I needed something pretty high energy to keep me going and get my mind off of the fact that my body didn't like running that much, uphill and what not. All in all, I think I ran about 95% of it. Not bad in my opinion. Not bad at all.

The t-Shirts are this orange color, normally something I likely wouldn't wear, but I thought they were cool.

Now however, I'm suffering from the aftermath of running that much cold turkey. Stairs are torture to walk down and my thighs scream at me every time I want to do something simple, like get out of bed.

Still, all in all, I have made this a good motivation to take this opportunity to get my soar muscles into action and run regularly. . . starting tomorrow.


Art Status

I'm currently working on a painting. . .

. . . I'm not so sure about it yet.

Anyway, my mom comes in and sees it, and I ask her about it. Basically a 'what do you think?' kind of question.

She looks at it and says 'well, I can't wait to see you finish it, you always seem to make them work.'

Me. 'Well right now I can't stand it.'

Mom. 'Oh, you hate it too?'

Being a parent, I guess mom doesn't want to hurt my feelings, as, well, she's my mom and parents love everything their kids do artistically. . . most of the time.

I got some more colors and decided to work on some other paintings, so I walked into the art supply store. They had a sale on canvases.

I went nuts.

I'm going to be painting a lot through this month I suppose.

Pictures to come.


Small World

Apparently, not to long ago a friend of the family down in Australia found some of my minions selling things for my Risawn Down Under fund. Which makes you think about how small this world really is. . .

I've got this goal of going down to Australia/New Zealand sometime in the not to distant future, however my main barrier to going down under right now seems to be time and finances. I was hoping I could go down this summer, but seeing that it won't work, I moved onto plan b. Which turned into Yellowstone. Then I got to thinking about studying abroad.

Actually, the abroad thing has caught my eye before. I was thinking of doing it in a German speaking country, which would help me practice my pathetic German, but it also crossed my mind that a foreign country that spoke English would be pretty darn cool too. My only problem, I have no idea what I want to major in.

Back into the quest of trying to figure out what I want to do with myself.

Having an undecided major can be a bit of a drag.