Tuesday, October 20, 2009

October 4, 2009
Day 49

Well, to answer Jake’s questioning of what we will still see while in Yellowstone? The answer is, not much. Last night, FOD Sean asked the group to submit (secret ballot style) what members need – not want – in order to be successful during our last week in the Rocky Mountain Ecosystem. There were many requests for time to work on lessons and, that coupled with the report of eight to twelve inches of snow heading our way, Sean had to make the executive decision to pack up camp and hit the road.
We drove though west Wyoming, into Idaho and despite popular belief, I was in awe of the simplistic beauty of this land. I had the weirdest urge to stop and get a baked potato just to try out these “Famous Potatoes” but, I’m content with seeing historic buildings. We drove past the original WEA headquarters and one of Paul Petzoldt’s old houses in Victor, WY. There are scattered houses across the land and it’s insane to imagine what this place looked like when Petzoldt was the only land owner. While in the town of Victor we stopped to stretch our legs before making the trek over Teton Pass.
Even though we’ve had a battery that doesn’t like to start, frigid wind and snow that began dropping in clusters as we began the ascent – there is nothing that will slow us down. There is absolutely nothing that can stop us; no force in this world could turn us around; NOTHING – except for that highway patrolman. Even though this Iowan complains about being surrounded by a bunch of Illinois natives, it was a strike of luck to be from Western Illinois because the officer was a Peoria native.
We still had to turn around and take the long way around the mountain. Our drive ended in Jackson Hole, a tourist-supplied cowboy town. We had our quickest set up of camp as we checked into the 49er Inn and so begins the next chapter of ECOEE 2009: ECOEE stays in a hotel. However, a new environment, not the challenge that we think of for ECOEE but no matter the challenge, a new place has a new set of challenges. And, the new setting for a few days shall challenge this motley crew to be socially appropriate.

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