I was in another national park, Yosemite, on the September 11th. I woke up in a tent cabin at Camp Curry to a bunch of schoolkids outside yelling about how someone had bombed New York. I briefly wondered what movie they’d been watching the night before, then went for an all-day hike up the Mist Trail. It wasn’t until I got back that evening that I found out the tragedy was for real.
Of course, two years earlier September 11th was just another day. A three-ring-circus of a day, but just a day.
My then-friend H was a whirlwind. There’s really no other word to describe her. We’d been email friends for a year or so at that point, but we’d never met in person before. In retrospect, I should have known she’d be as hyperactive as the science fiction hero she’d introduced me to (Miles Vorkosigan, whose author is Lois McMaster Bujold) who is still my alltime favorite fictional character, but how was I to know?
And she was determined to give her friend V, who’d never been to Yellowstone before, the, well, whirlwind tour. So we climbed in the car and during the course of that day “did” Mammoth again, and Norris, and Lower, Middle, and Upper Geyser Basins, before heading down to the Tetons for a dinner cruise on Jackson Lake.
The cruise was wonderful, and something I’d not have thought to do on my own. It was a beautiful cloudless evening, and several dozen of us piled into the large motor launch that took us over to an island in the middle of Jackson Lake for a cookout. The scenery was spectacular, of course:
We drove back into Yellowstone in the dark, arriving at Canyon to check into a cabin just before midnight. The drive along the shore of Lake Yellowstone by starlight was beautiful, but unfortunately my camera wouldn’t do it justice.
Not to mention that I was half asleep by the time we staggered to our beds. Whirlwinds are something to behold, but as traveling companions? Well…