September 2nd, 2010

marci

Yellowstone Con: The Final Chapter

It is now August 20. We pack up from the cabin and head into the park for one last time. We're not sightseeing this time. We just need to get from the west end of the park to the east. This is more difficult than planned because of bison jams, construction, and idiots driving 1,000' RVs. Slowly but surely we exit towards Cody WY, ultimately hitting the plains where highway speeds are once again near 70. It feels like warp speed!

There were a few tourist things on the list for today. The first was a stop just to the east of Cody at the site of the Heart Mountain Relocation Center. It was here that both of Kitty's parents spent time during WWII when all people of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast, even US citizens, were ordered by the government to live in concentration camps. This was yet another prime example of how a country so proud of democracy and the rights of individuals was so quick to trample on the rights of people it declared enemies at the time. We came very close to doing this again after 9/11 with anyone who was Arab/Muslim, but I think the memory of how we unfairly treated Japanese people during WWII was still fresh in the minds of many people. Anyway, this is supposed to be a travelogue and not a political post.

It's actually a beautiful place with peaceful farm fields and Heart Mountain dominating the skyline. It would just suck living in crowded barracks against your will where mid-Winter and mid-Summer conditions would be brutal. It was very toasty when we were there. Kitty didn't really reveal too many emotions while we were there. She saw her father's name on the honor roll of those that served in the military while their families lived behind barbed wire with guard towers all around. I was just amazed at the lengths the government went to in order to carry out this whole plan. Looking back with 20/20 hindsight, we wasted so much money and ruined so many lives.

After the somber time at the camp it was time for a little natural beauty. We drove into the Bighorn Mountains so that I could relive a happy time in my life. Back in 1986 it was required for all geology students to spend a Summer doing field work. You would gain hands-on experience doing various field techniques. A large part of the work was doing geologic mapping. Our big project was mapping an area of something like 50 square miles. I completely fell in love with one of the areas we had to map. I tried returning in 1987 but was forced back by a threat of snow. I did make it back in 1991. I wanted to see the area again especially an outcrop of rock which exposed a large fold axis. The rock went from a dip of approximately 19 degrees to almost vertical.

The road was long and very dusty. I tried to find an outcrop of limestone where I ate lunch with my field partner 25 years earlier. It contained beautifully preserved corals. I found it in 1991, but could not find it again since the area had been hit by a forest fire sometime in the past 19 years. Everything looked so different! I did manage to find the trail that would lead me to the cool rock formation. scritchwuff and I made the trek to find it while Quentin and Kitty stayed at the vehicles. I was very happy to stand on the exact spot I did 25 years ago and again 6 years later. It's such a beautiful spot.

We spent the night in Sheridan which was where we were based for the field camp. A few places were familiar like the Mint Bar downtown and the "Golden Tit" which was the domed basketball stadium for the community college. The hotel where we stayed, however, was just a farm field back in '86. The next morning we headed south for the long drive home. 13 hours later we were pulling into Fur Central.

So there you have the saga of Yellowstone Con '10. It was a major blast! We want to do another major trip next year as well. Right now we're seriously leaning towards an Alaskan cruise. If you want in on the fun...stay tuned!

Final pics!

My favorite spot. It kinda looks like a penis, don't it? What would Freud say?!?

Collapse )