Posted by: greentangle | February 14, 2013

Guided by Love

I’ve had three pretty great days since I caught a ride to town Monday evening to stay three nights. I’d decided I was ready for a break from the same old things and there was a woman in town I wanted to ask out. The circumstances of doing that weren’t easy but I’m happy to have given it a shot and she now knows how to reach me if she’s interested. I finished the night off with a garlic and onion pizza and the joy of having a room to myself for the first time in months (extra fortunate considering my toppings selection).

The next morning started with running into a friend and planning to meet for lunch the following day. After a hearty breakfast at a local bar, I hiked a few miles along the Yellowstone River in a light snow. It was just me and the ravens out there, and they made fine companions. I saw some older tracks in the snow which looked like they might have been made  by a small bear. When I got back to town, I deiced my beard while browsing around the Yellowstone Association store, then headed back to my motel for a much needed afternoon nap and a quiet evening.

The next day, after a good lunch and conversation at another local restaurant, my friend invited me to join her for a trip to Livingston where she had some things to do. We had dinner at a place new to me–Neptune’s Brewery.  As I was on my way out the door, I was thinking about how much I looked forward to returning–a very good sign. On the way home, we stopped for some poetry and guitar playing at Pine Creek Cafe, part of a tiny town largely saved from destruction by terrific work by firefighters last summer, and another place I’d be happy to return to.

This morning it was back to the park where I had another day off because of an overstaffed department. At breakfast, I learned a great guy who’d left the park a year ago was back to work here again, and another friend invited me on a hike to see a dead coyote and an icy cave. We attached gaiters to our boots and started a wooded uphill climb through an inch or two of new overnight snow, touched only by a coyote who’d come down the trail. Light breezes shook the powdery snow from the branches above us for a magical hike.

The coyote had been moved a bit to remove a radio collar, but remained curled beneath a tree with a faint dusting of snow on the body. I said a few words, hoping it had been a good life.

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We passed Orange Spring Mound and reminisced about the black bear we’d seen while hiking there last year.

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A small area seemed to be perfect for bird watching, including this Clark’s Nutcracker.

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The cave has a sign warning people not to enter because of carbon dioxide, but the entrance is blocked by ice in the winter.

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On the return hike, sun broke free of a cloud to light up a terrace hidden away from the boardwalk crowds.

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