Roving Girl, Part III

By Mitzi Sicking

Things I’ve Learned: Great Tetons and Yellowstone

1. Early June in the northwest corner of Wyoming and northeast corner of Idaho is late winter, not
early summer. Snow can and will fall at any time.
2. Camping and sleeping outside in such weather is feasible if one has enough sleeping bags,
blankets, quilts, and down comforters, along with a weather-tight tent.
3. It helps if one travels with people who bring along an RV. The RV provides a warm place to hang
out until the fateful time to brave the cold and go to bed. The RV also provides a place to make
homemade meals on the road. Very nice.
4. RVs are cool.
5. I want big, ginormous, rolling block party of a Winnebago.
6. Make up and fixing the hair is not important when camping and visiting a national park.
7. When hiking in a national park, keep this one idea in mind: don’t be a dumbass. Seriously. If
while hiking you get lost, go back the way you came, if you can find it. There’s only so many
times you can strike out across new ground in search of the trail until you get completely
exhausted, hungry, dehydrated, and disoriented, especially if you have failed to bring nothing in
the way of supplies except for one package of crackers. It’s okay to cut your losses and go back
when you see weather clouds rolling in. See item number one. Like I said, don’t be a dumbass.
8. Yellowstone is the place to see wild animals in their natural habitat. While some of the animals,
like the bison, may be acclimated to human beings staring at them and taking pictures, do not
mistake their patience with tameness. These are still wild animals. Let me refer back to number
seven of this list.
9. When you visit one of these national parks, in a sense, you are visiting all of America. Or at least
visiting with all of America. You will find yourself parked on a side of a road in Yellowstone,
chatting and sharing the experience of watching bison eat and play with people from every
state in the Union and quite a few foreign visitors. And you’ll find that you have quite a lot in
common with them as you all laugh at bison calves chasing each other in innocent joy.
10. The same thing will happen when you watch Old Faithful. You will find yourself next to French-
speaking Moroccans on one side and Amish on the other. Yet, everyone will oooh and aaah
this geyser spews forth its water, and everyone will leave happy to have seen this natural
phenomenon. Everyone forgets their sore feet, sunburn, and whiny kids when watching
something completely out of human control and being reminded of just how small human
beings really are. Through our smallness we become united in our humanity.
11. As US citizens and taxpayers, you have paid for this park. Go see what your money has been
used for and how. I don’t think you’ll regret or begrudge the National Forestry and Park Service
one red cent they have received.
12. If you happen to be so fortunate to have an RV to stay in during your time at Yellowstone, stay
at Red Rock RV Park in Island Park, Idaho. Even if the facilities weren’t sterling and the owners
weren’t wonderful, this would be your view. The fact that the shower and laundry areas are
impeccably clean and the owners kind and generous are just gravy.