American Frontiers PLIADOIBLMUSDA FSGeography Action from NGSHondaColemanCoca-Cola
Search
About
Dispatches
The Trek


The Trek

The Teams
Read bios about the team members and see photos.

Team Member Journals
Read online journals filled out by members of both Trek teams. Search by date, place and more.

Interactive and Downloadable Maps

Related Events

Trek Itinerary

Media Center



Exhibits
Lessons
Geo Action

PLIC Museum
Home

 The Trek: The Journals

•
Michelle Williams
Wednesday, September 4
Is it Wednesday?
Well, I know it’s the fourth of September, because my wonderful, reliable watch tells me so. The days have been fuzzy for a long, long time

We are in Yellowstone National Park. I was told before I got here that this place would pale next to Glacier and all of the other high country I have seen. I was told wrong. We drove in from West Yellowstone yesterday afternoon and immediately entered the part of the park that fourteen years ago was devastated by fire. I had never been here, so I do not know what I missed, but what I got to see was an infant forest. Much of the park is making a strong comeback, and the young forests surrounding me were covered with pines only three or four feet tall. I spent some time daydreaming about the stages of life that will exist as this forest grows up- the insect and small animals living there now, with the elk and buffalo slowly moving in over the years, and finally the bears and wolves as the forest matures. And though it is young, it is still beautiful.

Our drive was next to a river filled with fly-fishermen, and tourists were stopped along the road to look at the herds of elk. This park is certainly more crowded than Glacier but the beauty is, again, worth it. We also passed by several mountainsides that were not faring as well as the flat forests. The terrible fires burned here fourteen years ago and much of the foothills are still nothing but downed trees and barren soil. I can only imagine the life that once thrived there, and I wonder what can be done to prevent any further erosion.

Last night as we were setting up camp, I heard a strange sound in the distance, almost like a horn blowing, high and clear. I looked around and Bob A. grinned and said, “Do you hear the bugles?” and I realized that that was exactly what it sounded like, a bugle blowing in the forest. And then I heard another, and another. It was the bull elk, calling for their mates. A female elk cruised through our camp, apparently in no hurry to answer the call. I was witness to another mating ritual this morning when I went picture hunting with Kevin, our National Geographic videographer. He woke me around 6 AM to go get film of the wildlife in the early morning light. We drove for about 15 minutes, one of very few cars on the road, and were thinking that we would not find anything to shoot when a meadow opened up before us, covered with buffalo. The river ran through this spot as well, and a hot springs on the edge of the water was belching up great clouds of steam. The first thing we noticed was a lone bull buffalo on the other side of the river, away from his herd. We watched him slowly make his way to the water’s edge and then plunge into the gentle current. The steam rising from the water framed him as he easily waded through, and both Kevin and I backed up as he pulled himself onto the bank, only yards away from us. Buffalo look docile, but they are dangerous, and many a foolish visitor has been gored by their sharp horns.

The bull made his way over to his flock, which were slowly starting to move around. As he got nearer, he started to growl. We had been hearing this noise almost constantly since we got there- a low, guttural, threatening rumble. Kevin asked me if I though they were growling, but I thought it sounded more like an angry purr. I don’t know what it is called, but all they are doing is posturing. As each bull came across another, they each went through the ritual: first, they would paw the dirt a few times, and then gently sit down. Next they would violently fling themselves against the ground, looking almost like a dog rolling in dirt except the great humps on their backs prevented them from rolling all the way over. They would then get up, shake some of the dust off, and whuff and growl. If a tree was nearby, they’d shave some bark off with their horns. And finally, they’d meander past one another and check out to see if the ladies were watching. That was the mating dance. No actual contact whatsoever with the competition.

We got some great shots of the buffalo, both in that field and then in another spot nearby where several vents in the ground were pouring steam all over a flock. You can’t believe the number of gaping, steaming holes in the ground of Yellowstone- almost everywhere you look is a mouth pouring out vapors. And hot springs after hot springs- some bubbling pools, some stagnant and reddish, all of them alluring and potentially lethal. We even took a drive by Old Faithful, but rather than wait for it to erupt, we took to the less popular roads to see the more wild country.

And now we are waiting for the trekkers to return. They have been on yet another backpacking trip and if they get back soon, they will actually have the afternoon to relax. I am hoping they get some time to themselves, to rejuvenate, to read, to write, to breathe. I am feeling a little strange myself- strange to have been away from home for so long, strange that we only get 23 more days of this trek, just strange. Cheryl’s husband just joined us for a day or two- he has been riding his motorcycle across the country- and I think it’s made all of us miss our family just a little bit more. But- we journey on.
for Wednesday, September 4
North South Both




Biographical
•
Team: North
Michelle Williams
No rest for the wicked-- Michelle Williams spends a day at the office, typing up journal entries for the trekkers

   >> more...



List of All Journal Entries
•
Thursday, September 19
Michelle Williams
Back on the Green River
   >> more...

•
Tuesday, September 17
Michelle Williams
Two Days In A Canoe
   >> more...

•
Monday, September 16
Michelle Williams
Jammie Pants and a Wood Cabin
   >> more...

•
Saturday, September 14
Michelle Williams
Wild Horses!
   >> more...

•
Friday, September 13
Michelle Williams
   >> more...

•
Tuesday, September 10
Michelle Williams
Reflections, September 10, 2002
   >> more...

•
Sunday, September 8
Michelle Williams
   >> more...

•
Saturday, September 7
Michelle Williams
Saturday Night Near Jackson Hole
   >> more...

•
Thursday, September 5
Michelle Williams
Yellowstone
   >> more...

•
Wednesday, September 4
Michelle Williams
Is it Wednesday?
   >> more...

•
Sunday, September 1
Michelle Williams
Fall In Idaho
   >> more...

•
Saturday, August 31
Michelle Williams
Saturday Morning, Day 32
   >> more...

•
Thursday, August 29
Michelle Williams
Hump Day
   >> more...

•
Wednesday, August 28
Michelle Williams
A Ghost Town, A Dug-out Canoe, A Birthday and A Compound Fracture
   >> more...

•
Monday, August 26
Michelle Williams
Oh, Happy Day
   >> more...

•
Sunday, August 25
Michelle Williams
Sunday, August 25th
   >> more...

•
Saturday, August 24
Michelle Williams
A Better Day Already
   >> more...

•
Friday, August 23
Michelle Williams
A Challenging Day
   >> more...

•
Wednesday, August 21
Michelle Williams
Wednesday, August 21
   >> more...

•
Tuesday, August 20
Michelle Williams
Tuesday, August 20
   >> more...

•
Monday, August 19
Michelle Williams
Monday, August 19
   >> more...

•
Sunday, August 18
Michelle Williams
Easy Like...
   >> more...

•
Saturday, August 17
Michelle Williams
More on Saturday, August 17th
   >> more...

•
Saturday, August 17
Michelle Williams
Saturday, August 17th
   >> more...

•
Thursday, August 15
Michelle Williams
Thursday, August 15th
   >> more...

•
Wednesday, August 14
Michelle Williams
My Top Ten List
   >> more...

•
Tuesday, August 13
Michelle Williams
Freezing and Fires
   >> more...

•
Monday, August 12
Michelle Williams
Explore the River
   >> more...

•
Saturday, August 10
Michelle Williams
   >> more...

•
Friday, August 9
Michelle Williams
   >> more...

•
Thursday, August 8
Michelle Williams
   >> more...








TOP





All material copyright ©2002 - 2018, Public Lands Interpretive Association except photographs where ownership is otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.