For our third day in Yellowstone, we started off with a nice relaxing journal reflection time with an awe-inspiring view of Yellowstone’s best. We talked about Pika, explored, and ventured into a part of a forest that was burned down in the great Yellowstone fire of 1988. We learned about the causes and dangers presented with more often and greater burns. In the afternoon we took a short drive over to the nearby geyser basin and walked through the apocalyptic-like landscape. We even got to see the vixen geyser erupt multiple times which was a real treat! We capped off the day with an excellent conversation with climate scientists Mike and Ashea about the importance of the climate’s future.
We started the next day with a small mock debate about the bison of the park. Locals (Cade and Elliott), scientists (Sam, Will and Jackson), farmers (Devon, Annie and Abby), indigenous tribes (Molly, Caroline and Jared) and tourists (Jack, Max, and Dave) all had different opinions and reasons to argue their thoughts on the Bison’s handling. We spent the afternoon with National Park Service Bison biologist Lauren. We watched a grand herd of bison for a few hours, counting and observing the amount of bison in the herd. We were tasked with collecting scat (poop) samples from the beasts and send them to the lab for analysis. Unfortunately, despite the herd leaving us plenty of samples to take, we witnessed some rare bison vs. bison brawls that dissuaded us from getting any closer. We ended the day discussing birds with the second NPS Lauren of the day. We returned to our campsite and celebrated Jackson’s 19th birthday with a pizza party and cake! Jackson definitely needs an update on his cake-eating skills as he got chocolate all over his face.
Which brings us to our final day in Yellowstone. We embarked on a daring off-trail hike in which even our guides were unsure of our location at times. We found a river and had the pleasure of reflecting on our time in Yellowstone. After lunch, we helped Katie of the Buffalo Ranch prepare for the harsh winter ahead. We helped clean up pathways, stack her firewood, sand and saw wood, and some other housework for a couple hours. We enjoyed a nice sunset picnic dinner in the park as one last farewell to the wonderful nature sanctuary we stayed in for the past week.
Your leaders of this week,
Devon and Jack