Dear Family and Friends
Our last group of students/classes was the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. It is one of many groups that support YNP. So this was geared to be a fun 2+ days to encourage generous donations, as well as the cost of the weekend. So it was very pricy. It was really busy. In fact I’m not sure how to cover it all and may have to finish it tomorrow.
I’ll start with the schedule and speakers, and drift into what I did.
Both full days, Saturday and Sunday started at 6:30 with a cold breakfast, coffee, fruit, rolls and so forth… did I mention that this weekend comes with a chef and helper? A very good chef too.
The buses (Steve and I) were loaded and rolled out at 7:30 for wild life watching until 10:00 and then back for a hot breakfast. After breakfast there was a talk and the instructors organized the afternoon, mostly hikes or wild life watching until 5:00, so the buses rolled back out. Aside: it had snowed pretty hard on Thursday and flurries on Friday and Saturday, but the roads were pretty good, so I was just mildly panicked. Wine and cheese at 5:30, dinner at 7:00 or so and a speaker after dinner.
Besides the chef (did I mention the chef? How great is that?) There were two dynamic instructors, very knowledgeable and two guys from GYC. I was especially fond of Scott. He always rode in my bus and watched the blind spots for me and helped unload the scopes. What a nice guy.
The speakers were all the big guns: Doug Smith (the guy I talked about before) the head of the wolf recovery program; then Bob Landis. He is the best of the cinema photographers and has done most of the Nat’l Geographic and discovery films on YNP and wildlife. He is a scruffy mountain man kind of guy, and very interesting. He showed us his new film, due out in 2010 called Clash, encounters between grizzly bears and wolves. A big male wolf is about 130 lbs, a griz is 800 lb. The bears watch for the ravens, spot the wolves’ kill, move in and take it over. Sometimes. But the bear is alone, and slow. Wolves are strong and quick. 5 or so wolves can drive away a bear, so it was a dramatic film. The last speaker was the head of GYC (he came in after the wine to do the big pitch.) GYC is an advocate for the park. They study the issues, then decide what is best for the preservation of the park and gather political and public support for that. He talked about the hot button issues: wolves, bison and snowmobiles.
I’ve rambled enough more later. To be continued.