05 June 2007


If it gets any more beautiful here, my head will explode. Me and Teresa
near a rapids on the Yellowstone River. My hair is standing on end because of the
shocking amounts of beauty we were exposed to each day, and not because I rubbed
six quarts of DEET and #50 sunblock into it and then baked it in the white-hot heat
of the red-hot sun. I discovered on this trip that I could really give a marmot's ass
about civilization, and really never cared if I saw it again.


Just - and I mean "just" - got back from backpacking for four days in Yellowstone. Yes, I mean capital-The capital-Yellowstone, and no, that's not a euphemism for some mosquito-infested water park that I spent the weekend at.

Where do I start? Christ, man - it's Yellowstone! The great-grandpappy of national parks! The one with Old Faithful (which I did not see) and the buffalo (which I did see) and the bears (which I had spray for but did not see)! How much more park-ier can you get than Yellowstone? It's vast, the size of something really big, like the InterWeb or maybe Stupidity. And - with the slight exception of the heavily touristed areas, like the steam vents or the restrooms - is as wild as wild can be. Animals spend their whole lives eating other animals there, and they never run out of animals! How freaking freaked out is that? It's like having a lifetime pass to Kentucky Fried Antelope if you're a bear. And you can walk for six to eight days and never, ever see a toilet. S'true.

We were hiking along a migration path for the whole of our trip, and although we did not see much large wildlife, we were constantly confronted by their bleached skeletons and almost loveseat-sized turds. We were compelled by these parts of our experience to write a new ad slogan for the park - "Yellowstone: Where Animals Come To Eat, Shit and Die". We think it'll be huge with the juvenile male demographic.

True fact that I just made up: The average weight of a single tourist at the Mammoth Visitor Complex is six hundred sixty eight pounds, not counting the Winnebago that they ate for lunch. And you can tell their age by counting the hairs on their back.

Oh oh oh! Speaking of Winnebagos - When we were driving back from the end of the trail to our hotel, Christina, one of our guides, happened to mention (apropos of nothing), "Didn't I tell you guys about the 'anal" thing?" To which we replied - in chorus - "NO." So she told us about how hilarious it is when you add the word "anal" to the beginning of the name of any motorhome that passes by you on the road. And she had just heard the so-far best of this ongoing "competition", and it was this: Anal Dutchman Express. And she was right. It was hilarious. And we howled like rabbits until we could no longer breathe. Of course I had to chime in with: "...when your usual Anal Dutchman just isn't fast enough." The Anal Pop-Up, The Anal Rimrock Express, and The Anal Sunseeker provided us with enough guffaws to make it all the way back to Jackson, where Teresa dished out an honorary self-propelled vehicular title to a wayfaring Anal Ram 1500.

Look, okay, maybe we were high on Gorp and had been massaging our bare hineys with prickly pears for four days. Anything would've been funny. I know I was in a physically compromised state. The two days previous, I drank six quarts of water per day and only peed once. Maybe I was high on thirst.

I wish I could give you some travelogue about the trip like what we did day by day, but doing that just seems so boring and mundane. Was the hiking difficult? At times, yes. On the third day, we had some pretty good elevation gain up some pretty rough terrain. Not the worst I've been on, but - hey, who wants to hear me whine about heat and exertion? I know I don't. Exertion and exposure and bug bites and all that are part and parcel of backpacking, and if I didn't like that kind of stuff, I'd stay at home and tape cheesecake to my ass. The rest of it you can probably guess, having backpacked yourself before. It's the usual pains, made completely immaterial by the unusual, unexpected, and at times indescribable glories of nature. At the end of the trail, I honestly thought I was going to cry. I saw the end of the trail come into view, and all I wanted to do was turn around and go back whence I came, back into the comfort of Yellowstone.

So yeah, maybe instead of trying to give you a blow-by-blow, I'll just include a link to the photos and let them tell the story. For now I'll just go curl up in my nice, warm, civilized bed and dream that I'm still out there somewhere near the Yellowstone River, happy as hell, face down in the weeds and the bugs and the dirt.



Yellowstone 2007

No comments: