Sunday, November 28, 2010

Saying Good-Bye to our Truck

The sun was shining at 7 am on Wednesday morning and the high for the day was -10'F with a windchill of -25'F. The "Storm of the Century" had blown over and the hardy folks living in the interior of Yellowstone were left with a debaucle of snow covering every square inch of the park. Our roofs had sky high mounds of snow, our vehicles were buried and the road heading south was so bad that our local maintenance team did not have equipment large enough to get the road open. The meter stick outside the ranger station was reading at just about 54 inches of snow however the high winds left snow drifts of over 60 inches in certain areas. Three feet of snow had fallen in just about 48 hours!

Those of us living at Grant were accutely aware that time was ticking. Only 24 hours to Thanksgiving weekend and everyone had personal and government vehicles that needed to get out of the park before the roads were shut down for the season. Somehow, I just knew on this particular morning that this was going to be "the day", and so by 7:30 am I was armed with my snowsuit, French fur trapper hat, gortex mittens and a shovel. By 8:00 am, as I was unburying the truck, Shane was making the rounds letting everyone know that this afternoon would indeed be the day we get our vehicles out of the park. Usually, we are given 24 hours notice and the decision is made based on some large snow storm that is headed our way. However this year is starting out far from usual! The unpredictable weather  provided us with a 4 hours notice. Thankfully, I had already started shovelling and the truck was already equipped with our emergency pack which contained sleeping bags, extra hats and socks, flashlight, knife, toe/hand warmers, granola bars, water bottles and a first aid kit. In addition to our emergency pack we also had a shovel in the backseat so we can dig out our truck in the middle of winter should we decide to venture to town.

But even with vehicles dug out we were all placed on stand by as the south entrance road had yet to be plowed. In fact, a super-sized wedge plow was on it's way from Mammoth to clear the south entrance road for us. By 11:30 am a group of us had formed at the Grant Village Junction as we all waited in anticipation for the wedge plow to pass by and head south. As the super-sized plow passed the junction I had the uncontrollable urge to jump up and cheer the plow on, much the way spectators jump out of their seats and scream wildly as there favorite athletes zoom by them! With camera in hand I frantically snapped pictures and the smile on my face was that of a child on Christmas morning. However when I looked around I noticed that this event was not nearly as exciting as I thought it was. In fact one person was chatting on the phone and two others were engaged in a full on conversation. Ahh...if only everyone was as easy to please as me!

In no time at all our convoy of one tractor and five vehicles were on the road making our way to the South Entrance where our vehicles will live at Flagg Ranch Resort for the duration of the winter. As the wind continued to blow at a steady 25 miles per hour, the realization that I would not have the sanctity of my warm and cushy truck for the duration of the winter set in. Six days after Thanksgiving I would have my snowmobile and a new chapter in my life at Yellowstone would begin.      

No comments:

Post a Comment