Summer Solstice 2019 and It’s Snowing. Again.

It is officially the Summer Solstice as I write this.  It’s the longest day of the year, the official start of summer, and…well…there’s no other way to say this: it’s freaking snowing.  Again.

01f164abb6067094bdc3837a4bbba401Now, look…you all know me.  You all know that I love me some snow.  Heck, I’ve thought more than once about staying up here in Yellowstone through an entire winter (with our average of 20+ feet of snow), but even I have had enough of this shit.

How about some goddamned sun, for pete’s sake?!?!29627147917_b0d56ed5b8_b

Do I need to sacrifice some animal on the nearest pagan altar?  Because, honestly, I got lots of ‘em around.  I have bison, I have elk, I have tourists…01-Crowd_0544

Okay, so honestly, I’d feel better about the using the tourists than the poor, innocent bison, but whatever gets me some damned sunshine…

images-2What?  Grumpy?  Me?  Oh, please…I’m the soul of cheerful optimism!


On the other hand, most of the tourist kids are having snowball fights, are laughing and jumping and just generally having a great time, while their parents are grousing and complaining about the weather.  You gotta smile at that, even if just a little bit.

2c315dc867c5fac31f5ed5b3fee831bfThe animals, on the other hand, are absolutely loving this semi-weird weather.  Grizzlies are many things — they are fast, they are powerful, they are both awesome and fearsome to watch — but beyond everything else, they are also lazy as hell.  When it gets hot, they just want to loll around in the shade and go for the occasional swim in cool water.  When it stays cold like this?  They’re out moving around, eating and carousing, and in general just having an ursine ball.

And to a bison, with all that insulation?  Yeah, 8 degrees and 80 degrees feel just about the same.Tom_Szajner

It is in fact only us wimpy hoomins who are bitching and complaining that it’s “too cold” and “too wet” and “too grey”…

On the other hand: I’M FREAKING COLD!!


Other Duties As Assigned

Let’s get one thing straight, my hands were made for hockey, not for fiddling with tiny pieces of plastic.

I mean, honestly, my career as a brain surgeon ended sometime around the first fistfight, then things just went downhill from there.

So why, I have to ask, was it me who started to put together the tiniest little freaking Legos I’ve ever seen?!  Okay, a dozen pieces can be kinda fun…but 720?  Not 72…SEVEN HUNDRED AND TWENTY!B6AFBA8B-7AC2-47BF-8AF3-942757D113C8

Just look at this picture of two of the pieces in my hand…I mean, sheesh.  Mission Impossible, here I come…

…umm, does anyone know if you can you get carpal tunnel from freaking Legos?

…an hour of this and I suddenly feel the need to get on the ice and check something…

3C8982DE-CF80-4ECA-80A1-2ADB557372A4I had a couple of ten-year-olds stop by when I was working on this “project”, by the way.  They helped…a lot.  That, of course, just made me feel worse — if you’re only as old as you feel, then right about now I’m pretty much 630.


I’d love to sit here and turn my little project into some blog post that is both profound and enlightening, but, well…7D6D7FF9-57EF-47DC-8CB8-040C83992645

At this particular moment, I’ve switched from Legos to this:

Sunny and 60s…writing on my iPad…drinking a good beer…and Yellowstone is — quite literally — just feet away…

Maybe being a grumpy, slacker of a writer ain’t such a bad thing after all.

img_0011Now where the hell did I put today’s chapter notes…?!

Still Angry

There was a thought buzzing around my mind this morning.  It was buzzing early, and it kept buzzing even when I left for my “I hate humans hike”.  Even after a few hours of off-trail hiking — and a handful of cuts and bruises to show for that — the buzzing was still there, and so was the anger.

My muscles are feeling every inch of the 12 miles of rough, nasty terrain…I’ve got my favorite post-hike snack* going…I’ve got music blaring in my ears…and I’m still pissed off.

*See this post for more info on that.

It’s time, I decided, to remember Rule #1:

You write it.  You always write it.

Ahem…here goes:

Just when I thought it was safe to read the news again…

Just when I thought I might be able to make it through just one morning without getting a reality-induced headache…

Just when I’m sure we’ve reached bottom, and that things couldn’t possibly get any stupider…

Politics — and humanity — proved me wrong…again.

Look, I don’t play on either team in DC.  I’m as independent and libertarian as it gets, so I have no real dog in any of the current fights, but even I have to ask, just what the hell are these people thinking?!

Donald Trump…


Does “the Donald” have to try so hard to be a completely insane, unacceptable, undignified, unpresidential waste of space?  I mean, is it something he wakes up and plans to do?  Or does it just come naturally to him?

The man gave a Memorial Day speech aboard the USS Wasp in Yokosuka, Japan.  Great…no problem there, that’s what Presidents are supposed to do.  It wasn’t even a bad speech, as such things go.  But then…

But then…

E8DEF876-EE57-4AF7-BA06-3EE5531F8E8CBut then, it turns out that Trump so hates and fears the ghost of a dead man that he had to insist a ship named after that man’s father and grandfather be hidden from view…

Are you fucking kidding me?!?!

Just how infantile and idiotic can you be?

B8204FC1-A392-494C-A190-55DEB601BE5EMr Trump pissed on two men who died long before he ever dreamed of running for office, two men who gave a lifetime’s worth of blood and honor for this nation.  “President” Trump also pissed on a man who just died — a man he attacked and denigrated for the “sin” of being tortured for five and half years.  More than that, however, “President” Trump pissed on an active-duty, commissioned warship of the United States Navy.  But by far the worst of all, he pissed on every single sailor who has served, is currently serving, and ever will serve aboard the USS John McCain.

9516B084-795C-4EDA-BECD-AAB74DA33D1EScrew you, “President” Trump.  I don’t know what’s wired wrong in your head, but you are most definitely broken, pathetic excuse for a human.

Mommy, What’s Does “Carnivore” Mean?

“Hey, look, it’s a 750-pound grizzly!  Let’s go take selfies with it!”

“Predator, what do you mean ‘predator’?  They wouldn’t let these things in the park if they were dangerous!”

I know it makes my current job & surroundings rather ironic, but can I tell you just how much I actually hate tourists?

I have to admit to a small, inner, evil part of me that wants to see a 2,200 pound bison launch a 160 pound tourist into next year.  I won’t go so far as to say I want to see a grizzly give that same moron a taste of claws and teeth, but…well…

There’s a book up here, one of the few that the staff read even more avidly than the visitors: “Death in Yellowstone”.  Of course, we read that book not so much to learn, but because it’s basically a bingo game to see just how many of the fatally stupid screw-ups we’ll witness in any given month.

“Oh look, a dad with a toddler on his shoulders, standing on the lip of a 200+ degree mineral pool — BINGO!!”


Never mind.

I don’t want to talk about tourists.  I don’t even want to think about tourists.  Nope, I wanna get on to the bit about writing.

Writing about tourists.

Err…maybe not.


Crap, I can’t get my mind off the idiots!  That’s what I get for trying to write a blog post right after leaving the store…

Can I point out some of the questions I’ve answered, just today?

No, I’ve never petted a bear…and, yes, I have been within ten feet of one — and I was scared shitless every single time that happened.

No, we don’t “turn off” the geysers at night.

No, the animals don’t get cold when it snows.

Yes, wolves really do weigh two-hundred pounds…and, yes, they really do kill.  The words “predator” and “carnivore” aren’t just marketing copy.

I agree, bear cubs are adorable.  Their 700-pound, frightened mother, on the other hand, is considerably less “cute”.

What in the park scares me the most?  Tourists.  After that?  Cougars.  At least you know when a bear or wolf is gonna try to eat your ass — with a cougar, your first clue is blinding pain…and then your very own entry in “Death in Yellowstone”.


Welcome to my life.

Thankfully, I do get good questions, too — from time to time — and that makes it far more worthwhile:

The coolest thing I’ve ever seen?  A bear and a wolf eating the same carcass, at the same time…without trying to kill each other.  It ain’t supposed to be possible, but we have actual film…

The toughest animal?  One particular young male wolf…he had his jaw shattered by a kick from an elk, and he kept going.  He was in blinding pain, but he kept going.  He even managed to bring down more elk to feed himself.  That was one tough bastard.

What would I never do again?  You mean besides walk through the home den of an adult male grizzly?  I’ll never, ever touch the Avalanche trail again so long as I live.  It might be only two miles each way, but what that little line on the map doesn’t show you is the four thousand feet of elevation gain over those two miles.  No thank you…

6FB600EF-C19C-4B59-9867-90E4E8D19FB6Closed trails?  Restricted access?  No, I would NEVER consider doing things like that…**cough*cough**…that would be wrong!  **cough*cough**  Excuse me, I just remembered, I have to do a thing, over there in a place…I think I hear someone calling me…

EDA2211F-0586-4596-BCB3-8091F6A6FE60I can’t stand to write about how stupid the tourists any longer…so I’m gonna go out and do some stupid things of my own!