Saturday, July 4, 2015

We're Still Here!

First, let me say Happy Independence Day!  Secondly, thanks for the emails checking on us.  What can I say?  We have been very busy at work and sitting down at a computer when I get home just hasn't really appealed to me.  But today, I found myself at home with time to post another entry.

You may have seen the recent news article about Yellowstone visitation being up more than 24% for the first five months of the year.  Let me tell you…the park is FULL!!  I'm still amazed with the number of people showing up with no reservations.

I'm so thankful for my staff who are doing a great job, which allows me to take time off.  Bill and I have enjoyed our days off and have gotten out in the park for a few hikes.  We try to get up and get going early to beat the crowds.  Of course, we've been caught in our share of animal jams, and things will only get worse until summer vacation season is over and the kids go back to school.

Here are pictures from our days off:

One morning we hiked Garnet Hill Trail, an 8-mile loop in the Roosevelt area of Yellowstone.  We had the entire trail to ourselves, which was wonderful.

It's wildflower season….


I guess I should say we had the trail to ourselves, except for this guy and his buddies.  We had to walk off trail a few times.

 We watched this guy for a few minutes as he scampered among the rocks, eventually going into crevice.

 These next pictures were taken from the truck, so they aren't the best…but they count!  This is a cinnamon colored black bear.
 And here are two black bear cubs.  Don't worry, 
Mom was close by.

 Another morning, Bill and I loaded up our bikes and drove over to Fountain Freight Road, which is open to bikers and hikers only.
 We road out 3 miles, until we came to the Fairy Falls Trailhead.  The ride wasn't bad, except for the extreme head wind.  We were hoping the wind wouldn't change directions on our way back.


Once we reached the trailhead, we locked up our bikes...

 …and hiked out to Fairy Falls.

We saw a lot of Columbine along the trail.



 As we sat and watched Fairy Falls, 
this guy was keeping an eye on us.

 And there were lots of interesting dragonflies around.
 On our way back on the bike trail, we stopped for a snack and enjoyed the view.  You can't see it, but there was a nice bison herd grazing in the distance.
 We saw this fox as we were driving around the park one afternoon.
 And a little further up the road, we saw this grizzly.
 We hiked Mt. Washburn and saw a herd of big horn sheep…all female and some with babies.

 Mt. Washburn always provides great wildflowers.

Today, we will be preparing a Low Country Boil to celebrate July 4th with the campground staff.  This is the real start of peak season, but I really cannot imagine being any busier than we have been…but who knows??

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Wow, What a Week #2!

Canyon Campground is up and running!  We opened Friday, May 29 and checked in 216 reservations, beating the previous record of 110 by a long shot.  And, we did this short-handed!  We were short six people opening day…two outside Campground Attendants, two in Camper Services, and two in the front office.  Needless to say, I am very proud of my crew!  

In years past, we normally put up the "campground full" sign around June 10.  This year…it was May 30…day two of being opened.  It's already feeling like July!

This past Friday, I received four new employees, all transfers from the Housekeeping department.  Now we are fully outside and in Camper Services but still two short in the front office.  I am being told by my superiors that those positions should be filled by mid-June (fingers crossed).

Being short-handed means I, along with my Office Manager, are putting in lots of hours.  However, we agreed that each of us would take one day off this week, and yesterday was my day off.

Bill and I finally got out into the park for a play day.  We hiked Storm Point, which is one of our favorite trails.  It's an easy 3 mile loop that offers beautiful views of Yellowstone Lake.  We also visited West Thumb Geyser Basin.  But first, I need to back up a few days.

During the week prior to opening, the Canyon Campground staff went on a bus tour of the lower loop of Yellowstone.  We do this every year so everyone, especially the new folks, can learn more about the park.  We always stop at Artist Point to view the Lower Falls.
 Over the years, it seems we are getting more and more Asian visitors.  They love striking a pose for pictures, and this group was really amusing.
Now, back to yesterday.  Here are a few pictures from Storm Point:
Wildflowers are just starting to bloom. 
 And here are pictures from West Thumb Geyser Basin:


 On our way home, we had to stop for these bull elk.  There were actually four bulls, and these two had the largest racks.  These guys were hanging out in the Arnica Fire area, a fire that burned in the fall of 2009.  Elk like to eat the burned parts of the fallen trees.

 Bill is a stickler for checking the level of propane in our tanks.  This morning, we were OK.  When he checked the tanks later in the afternoon, after we got home, he found one tank empty.  Since our work schedules have been so crazy, we decided to drive back down to Fishing Bridge to get the tank filled.  And we run into this…keep in mind this is still the first week of June.
Yes, it was a bison jam.  We almost turned around, but traffic soon began to flow once again.  It is too early in the season for traffic jams like this one…I think it's going to be a banner year in Yellowstone.  

If Yellowstone is on your list for this summer, PLEASE make reservations.  We are already sending folks to campgrounds outside of the Park.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wow, What a Week!

So, now I am wearing two hats…GSA Trainer and Campground Manager.  It does get a tad stressful at times.  My front office crew arrived a week ago, and we've been busy training about 8 hours a day.

Our first day of training was Saturday, and wouldn't you know we awakened to about 6 inches of snow and no electricity.  We do have a generator at the campground, where we are training, so we were able to get all of the computer training done, even though we had no heat.  My GSAs are real troopers…we worked hard and got it done without getting too cold.

The power finally came on that night, so on our second day of training we were nice and warm, but the computer system was done.  Ugh!  We did what we could, then I cancelled class around 10:00.  Frustrating doesn't even begin to describe it.  Bill and I took advantage of a free afternoon and drove out to West Yellowstone to buy some groceries.  

Then day 3 rolled around…we had heat AND a computer system.  Life is good!

So, today we are all off, and I am awaiting the arrival of the remainder of my staff…Campground Attendants and Camper Services Attendants.  It will be great to have everyone here together.

Here are a few pictures from our spring snowstorm:





One thing I need to mention…my front office staff is mostly new folks, and it's going be an awesome staff!  Can't wait to meet all of our attendants!

Update:  Just received word one of my Campground Attendant couples will not make it.  They had RV issues on the way out and decided they had to go back home.  So, if anyone would like to spend the summer in Yellowstone, working in Canyon Campground, drop me an email!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Home Sweet Home

Yesterday, Bill and I moved into our seasonal site at Canyon Village Employee Park.  It feels good to be home.  Here we are….


…and here we are exactly one year ago in the same site.


I am still shocked at the lack of snow.  I did a quick drive through Canyon Campground today, and we are in pretty good shape.  A few sites will need some shoveling, but the snow level this year is so much better than what it was last year.  However, I did see a large pile of bear scat….

Tomorrow my staff begin to arrive!  Let the games begin!




Thursday, May 7, 2015

Two Down…Two to Go

…Training, that is.   I have trained Madison and Fishing Bridge.  Madison Campground opened last Friday, May 1.  They checked in 125 sites, which is new record for opening day.  We attribute this to the unseasonably warm weather and beautiful blue skies.

Fishing Bridge RV Park opens tomorrow at 8:00 am.  On Saturday, I start training Bridge Bay Campground…and then the following Saturday, I start training MY folks…Canyon Campground.  My front office staff arrives on Thursday, May 14, and I can't wait to meet them!

I finally saw my first bear…a beautiful grizzly, no less.  However, since I was in a company car, I was unable to stop and take pictures, but I had a nice viewing as I drove past very slowly.

Bill and I have been working lots of hours, but we've gotten out and about a little, and here are some random pictures from our excursions.

Yellowstone River - LeHardy Rapids

The Harlequin Ducks are back…it must be spring!

The Upper Falls of the Yellowstone River.

 And, the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Yellowstone Lake

After a few gray days of rain/snow mixture, we are back to beautiful Wyoming-blue skies.  Today I was able to snag a picture of the frozen Yellowstone Lake.

I keep hearing talk of bears in the area…a boar and a sow with two cubs.  I haven't seen them yet, but I'm keeping my camera close by…just in case!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Stop #2

Today Bill and I moved into the interior of Yellowstone.  We spent a couple of weeks in Yellowstone River RV Park in Gardiner, while I trained Madison Campground's Guest Service Agents.  I always refer to Madison as our "guinea pigs."  They are the first campground to open, and it gives me the opportunity to get back into my training mode.  It was a good week of training, and Madison has a good bunch of folks working there this summer.

Bill has been just as busy as I.  He has been all over the park installing computers and pulling cable to get Yellowstone ready to open.  He has been fortunate to see bears, bears with cubs and wolves.  Me?  I've seen lots of bison, elk and deer.  While I am not complaining, I must admit I am a bit jealous.

But today was a special day…we are now IN Yellowstone, behind a locked gate, since this area of the park has not opened to the public yet.  First, we had to stop in Mammoth, where I picked up my company car, and Bill took care of some business in the payroll office.  Here's our rig parked in what was the parade grounds, when the US Army was in charge of Yellowstone.


 After getting my car, I led the way, and Bill followed with the rig. Since we couldn't stop, wouldn't you know we'd see mountain goats, two moose, and about 8 trumpeter swans.  I loved seeing the moose!  And then we had to go through the construction.  It was pretty bad, but Bill took it very slowly, and everything was in its place when we stopped.

The best part of the day was going through the "CLOSED" gate.
 Bill did the honors of opening the gate.  There is a combination pad lock on the gate, and we just happen to know the code.
 And here he is on the other side.  This is one reason we love working pre-season.  It is such a great feeling to be on this side of the locked gate.  However, we can't play or explore.  The National Park Service has gotten really strict, since they don't have the manpower right now to take care of us, if we get into trouble.
 It didn't take us long to get set up in our site…our home for the next three weeks, as I train Fishing Bridge and Bridge Bay.  The lack of snow is unbelievable!  Here we are today…..
…and here we are in 2011 in the same employee RV park.