As I was driving home from Jackson yesterday the DJ on the radio declared that all roads heading into the interior of the Yellowstone National Park are officially closed to the public starting this Monday. They will reopen for snowmobile traffic starting December 15. The DJ advised the public that this was their last chance to tour the park by car. The weekend weather is calling for sunny skies and high's in the 50's which is pretty incredible considering there was a snowstorm on the 31st! The park's visitation is up by almost 9% and I wonder what this last weekend will have in store for us? Luckily, I do not have to worry about it! My two weeks vacation starts today at 5:00pm!
Although the park roads are closed to the public they will remain open for administrative purposes for the following two weeks. That is to say open for official government business and for the people who live in the interior to make their last few vehicle trips into town to stock up on last minute provisions. It is kind of a special time of year because the crowds of visitors are gone and for 4 whole weeks the only people in the interior of the park are the staff who live here. I often wonder what the wildlife think? Are they relieved to have their home back without people pestering them; without the hoards of tourists snapping cameras while they eat, sleep and poop? They've gotta be thrilled!!
Shane and I are off to Washington State for one week. Our first stop will be North Cascades NP, where we will visit with our friend Andrew who is also a park ranger. Next, we'll hop over to Seattle and stay with our friend Rebecca, followed by a visit to both Olympic National Park and Mount Rainier National Park. I don't think Shane and I have taken a vacation in over 8 years that has NOT involved at least one National Park Unit! Even when we travel abroad. But I guess that makes sense since the world's natural beauties and culturally signficiant places are usually preserved within our National Parks!