Missing Buffalo

Yellowstone Investigates Illegal Release of 52 Park Bison From Quarantine. I saw these and was thinking could it be?

Sure enough, later that day I received a memo that some of the missing buffalo had been found in our area.

That night I went to “Bears in Winter” class. Learned that the park area has  about 700 grizzly bears and 500 black bears. Some interesting things I found out were that bears hibernate due to food shortage not due to winter. Polar bears for example hibernate in summer because food is better in the winter. A bear can sleep for 7 months straight without ever waking up, but can also come out of hibernation within a couple of minutes if it hears you from the den. Old lazy male grizzlies can hibernate with one side against a curve of a mountain and the other side of his body covered in snow. It was very informative.

A little bit of winter.

Today the Montana winter showed up a little. It was 7 at the house and 1 at work.

Met some of the National Park Ranger IT team. Nice guys. They covered the freedom of information act usage by environmentalist that are working to limit technology in national parks. They covered regulations in regards to technology with historical sites. I learned about the technology committee for Yellowstone. I have some documents that I need to read that cover specifically the use of WI-FI in national parks and historical sites.

Had lunch with some guys from engineering. I learned a lot about elk hunting, which I thought would be very easy with them being everywhere. I was informed that the elk know when the hunting season is and you can’t find a single one during that time.

In the office people are starting to discuss a broom-ball tournament. I “think” it involves brooms, a small ball and a hockey net. Not sure, but I am being told I will be on a team soon…..

Lastly I have a shout out for the nice Fed-Ex person. I received a letter today. First off they actually came to my porch, but more importantly they found a good size rock and placed the package between the wall on the porch and the rock. No throw the envelope and run for this driver.  Top notch customer service.

Learning to Track?

After work I went to a class on winter tracking. The instructor was a forensic tracker. I think this was poetic just for all the people who have been in a Unix class that I gave. A lot of information coming at you fast. One amazing data point was that an adult male wolf can cover up to 26 feet feet in the air when they are at full speed. 

I learned that the picture of prints that I took from my lost hike on Saturday was most likely an otter.

Last but not lest, after the class I received my can of bear off. I also learned that you want to wait until the grizzly is charging you and about 30 feet from you. Again I want to remind you that you are standing still and waiting for the 900 pound grizzly running at you to get just about 30 feet away. At which time you are spray for 1 full second. I learned that you just want spray a little that first time because if it doesn’t phase him and assuming you haven’t sprayed yourself, oh and by the way you haven’t passed out. If he is still coming you should unload the can directly into his face and then run. If he turned back on the first spray then you are ready to spray again when he decides to charge again. A data point for reference, if you are hiking in the winter one can “should” be enough. During the spring and summer you should have two cans. Last point of instruction is to have the spray very handy. Being in your backpack will not give you enough time if Mr. Grizzly is charging.  “Bear in Mind”.

First run (full on sloth) – ‘merica the beautiful

Went for my first run. The altitude is killing me. Went into full on sloth. As I was switching between running and walking as the songs changed I started approaching some elk. They were on both side of the road. A was in my sloth run as I was getting closer. A few got up and crossed the road. It looked like I could easily go between the two groups. Just then I was in my on episode of the Weather Channel “Would you survive?” A buck came running down into the middle of the road standing as tall as he could and eyeballing me. He clearly didn’t like me running up on his woman, so I decided to give him that side of town and go back the other way.

After a mile or so the other way I came up on a pull off for viewing. I noticed something in the middle of the river on a rock. Some other people were watching it as well. It thought it might have been an otter. As I got closer I saw it was a bald eagle. I couldn’t believe it. I asked the other people and they confirmed that it really was a bald eagle.  America the beautiful.

Sunday – Time to try out a local church

On the way I saw the guys. Don’t want to mess with them.

Attended Gardiner Community Church. Received a very warm welcome by all. Saw a number of people from work. Good open Sunday School discussion from John about Jesus knowing us (good and bad). Children’s church had a good example about if we put our hand in the cookie jar and grab all the cookies we can’t get our hand out. The same with sin. To get forgiveness we have to let go of our sin and not hold on to it. Pastor Jeff talked about “Just as I Am”. Asked us to think about who we were in the prodigal son story. Was a good message. Met others that work for Xanterra, National Park Service and National Forestry Service. Happens to be the yearly church business meeting and luncheon. Learned more about the church programs, and ate some really good food. They sent me home with a bag of pulled chicken.

First Saturday

I had to learn to cook since no Chick-fil-A trip with Janet this Saturday. So I made mini-waffles with the super cool waffle maker Janet gave me for Christmas.

Since I don’t get trash pickup at home I have to drop it off. I was told last night that you need to make sure you only do trash drop off during the day due to bears.  So I am off to the trash dump.

Followed that up will a little walk in the park.

Went down to the river.

Have to watch your step.

Think I need to learn more about tracks (wolf, coyote, or bear).

Go to start back to the car. Think I am a little lost. Was it that hill I came over? Think I see my elk friends looking at me in disgust again due to my lack of skills.

No I think it was that hill?

Wow, what a view as I walk around lost.

Ah, car lights. I am saved. I see my car from the lights of the cars going by. I was just a little off.

Got home and the night sky is so clear I can see the Milky Way. The stars are so bright. The stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas. Wait I am in Montana. I wish Janet could see them. A picture just doesn’t show the grandeur.  I miss Janet.

Time to make Montana official

Today I am going to get a Post Office box so I can have an official address in Montana.

To get there I need to scrape the ice off the car window first. Not the best job. God is good, no door issues or check engine light on the car.

My neighbors are not impressed with my winter living skills.

Just another day in the office….

Where an ice skating rink and campfire is made at the end of the work day….

Some co-workers invited me out to dinner after work. It was really nice. I enjoyed the evening. Back home and now really missing Friday night date night with Janet.

What will the car door do today?

Car door opens just fine. I got in and it closed just fine. Success, no door issues! When I got to work I have the same issue as the night before. I can’t open the door. This time I even roll down the window and try to open the door from the outside. No go, off to the passenger side to get out. Hope no one I work with sees me doing this …..

All is well once I am inside my office.

Sprint sent me a love note telling me that I am about to run out of roaming data minutes. I call them and explain I am in Montana and will be here for some time. After thirty minutes the answer is once I hit my roaming limit on an “unlimited data” plan they will just turn my data off until the first of the next month.

Go out to the car. Holding breath….door works fine. I need to get the snow off the windows. Front and back wipers do just fine. Rolling all the windows down some I find that the driver window is not working. Then as I start the car the “engine needs service soon” light comes on. Come on get me home…..Thank the Lord I get home just fine.

May have found a different job than what I came for – SnowDilly

Now this may look like a perfect winter post card picture, but not as much fun when your car door will not close.

  • Plan one is to hold the door by the inside handle and drive…….didn’t work because the inside lights kept coming on plus a bump would cause the door to open some letting cold wind and snow in the car.
  • Plan two is to pull the door closed as much as possible with one hand and press the door lock with the other. This worked, but the door is not close and is rattling something bad.  I think the door could just swing open as I am going down the hill. I stop and pull as hard as I can with both hands the the door closes. Success!!!

Once I am home I am in for another surprise. I can’t open the door! I have to crawl over to the passenger side to get out.