Posted by: greentangle | May 17, 2015

On the Beach

I had a wonderful ten days living in Marquette with a dog, including a few days on the ends with his human. It was my first time taking care of a dog (and a large number of plants) as an adult and it was interesting to notice how it changes one’s life–not quite as free, but more active and more aware of and connected to one’s immediate neighborhood.

When I first moved to this area in 2001, I preferred Marquette to Duluth but didn’t think I’d have much luck finding work there. As it turned out, I didn’t have much luck finding work consistently in Duluth either. Now I’m within a few years of work not mattering anymore.

Marquette is smaller and quieter, but the Lake and a university and its status as the UP’s largest town help give it a good mix of restaurants and breweries to sample, two bookstores within a block, a good library, and a coop larger than Duluth’s. And although this sandy beach isn’t as convenient as Duluth’s, it’s a lot emptier.

Let’s take a look.

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To the left . . .

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To the right . . .

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I see more Marquette in my future, and we talked about going to the Porkies in the fall.


Posted by: greentangle | May 9, 2015

Black Bears and Ignorant People

This one’s hitting the news all over, but here’s the original place to witness the type of tourons and professionally irresponsible photographers I saw every day when I was working in Yellowstone.

Posted by: greentangle | May 7, 2015

Best Friends

I arrived in Marquette a couple days ago, and yesterday we made a trip to pretty Wetmore Pond.


As of early this morning, I’m solo dog-sitting for the next week with my new best friend who had a great time splashing through muddy puddles and jumping off high rocks.


Photos taken by the canine’s real best friend–he’s still watching the door waiting for her return.


Posted by: greentangle | May 6, 2015

What’s that you say?

Of course, as soon as I go out of Duluth for the first time this year, a bear shows up downtown, a block from where I work. Nice video of the bear, but the highlight is probably the old guy at the 1:10 mark getting the news that’s there’s a bear right around the corner.
Posted by: greentangle | May 4, 2015

On the Edge

When fire season would arrive in late summer and fall during the years I worked in Yellowstone, breakfast tables in the employee dining room at Mammoth Hot Springs would sometimes fill with firefighters and the smell of smoke would fill the large room. Those mornings and the memory of the sight and smell of smoke in the park (as often as not brought by winds from great distances) along with a general interest in the West and its drought and fire caused me to read On the Burning Edge: A Fateful Fire and the Men Who Fought It more than an interest in the particular Yarnell Hill, AZ fire of 2013.

I think the book will be best appreciated by those who do have a specific interest in this fire, this area, and these people. Discussion of the bigger picture of the increasing likelihood of major fires in the West, and even analysis of this particular fire, is very limited; most of the book involves the lives of those who died in this fire.

I mean no disrespect to the dead, and their fate and the grief of those who knew them are certainly moving at the end of the book, but macho young men with guns, trucks, listening to hip hop music, making racist jokes, and living a militaristic life of hazing and competition just aren’t the kind of people I choose to spend time with, and reading a book about them wasn’t that enjoyable for me.

I think many people will appreciate the book, but I would have preferred a less personal and more issue oriented approach.

The cover story in the current issue of High Country News is about another edge—that between Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the Bakken oilfields. A man who grew up on a ranch in the area where he still lives simply, and who has been a ranger in the park for over forty years, is so disgusted by the crime and other side effects of the boom that he’s considering leaving and wishes he could take the wildlife with him. My occasional neighbor who works six week stretches in North Dakota tells me many people are being fired and leaving since the drop in the price of oil so maybe there’s hope.

A column in the same issue looks at the edge between health and illness for older people and how it forced a couple who had lived in rural Wyoming to move to the Denver area because of the lack of needed healthcare support. So along with illness, they had to cope with no longer being able to live where they wanted to, and no longer having that emotional support of being close to the natural world at a time when it’s needed most. Beginning to approach those edges myself has certainly become one of the factors to consider in whether I’ll ever work in Yellowstone again before reaching the final edge.


Posted by: greentangle | April 28, 2015

The moose thank you, governor

I signed a petition last month against this collaring project. Yet another case of “professional” wildlife “managers” doing more harm than good.

Posted by: greentangle | April 19, 2015

Catching Up

One day last week I took the bus up to a nature center and poked around there a bit, then hiked home on a trail. It was no Yellowstone but I still check occasionally for bear and bison. Everything was still brown, and if I don’t count a couple unleashed dogs, the biggest wildlife I saw was a grey squirrel, and that was after I’d put my camera away. Still, it felt good to get out in the woods, despite my aging and swelling feet and legs.

I accepted a summer job in Yellowstone, reconsidered every day for a few months, and eventually turned it down. Among a variety of considerations, the main factors were how extremely inconvenient getting there by bus has become now that a Minnesota company operates the route instead of a Montana company, and concern about how I’d be treated in the job. I went into more detail on the other blog.

I’m not quite ready to say I’ll never work there again–I’m even considering it as a possibility for the winter along with a job at a resort near the park–but I’m starting to be at peace with that if it doesn’t happen. I sometimes wish I’d gotten to Yellowstone thirty-five years ago when I was first offered a job there–I wonder how that life would have turned out.

For now, I’m a couple weeks away from a couple weeks away, dogsitting and seeing how it feels to be a Yooper. I’m looking forward to that and when I return I’ll be looking for a second part time job, preferably something seasonal/temporary.

I have  a couple chapters left to read in All the Wild that Remains: Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, and the American West, and will be writing about that soon.


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