Yellowstone National Park

January 23-29, 1993

Twenty-three adventurous cross-country skiers boarded a chartered bus in Eugene Saturday morning, Jan. 23, and proceeded to the Portland train station, where we met our 24th member. Boarding our Amtrak train, we spent a leisurely afternoon and evening viewing the Columbia Gorge and Eastern Oregon, and arrived in Pocatello, Idaho, early Sunday morning. A slight delay was encountered in the arrival of our chartered bus, but not to worry, we were entertained by a vagabond and song writer of sorts complete with his own keyboard mounted on a grocery cart and plugged into a station electrical outlet, at 4:00 a.m.! Finally, our bus arrived and we were off for West Yellowstone with a breakfast stop in Idaho Falls along the way. West Yellowstone was crisp and cold, snowing lightly; the town’s roads had been plowed, but the snow had not been removed, only piled, giving the appearance of huge drifts and cuts leading into the various stores. The road traffic around town was about an equal mix of cars and snowmobiles. Our snowcoaches, track driven with ski steering, each holding ten people and gear, arrived about 1:30 and we were on our way into the Park and the 30-mile trip to our lodge at Old Faithful (elevation 7400 ft.).

The next three days and four nights was a kaleidoscope of sights and happenings. We skied around to the many hot pools and geysers and watched the various animals that inhabit this area in winter: bison, elk, coyote, eagles and ducks some so close that you were almost watching each other eyeball to eyeball, yet still far enough away to respect each animal’s territory and movement.

On Tuesday, most of the group skied to Rainy Falls, while others elected to try their hand at snowmobiling, and some elected a more leisurely pace around the lodge area.

On Wednesday a majority took snowcoaches to a drop-off point near the Continental Divide and enjoyed a delightful ski back along the Spring Creek Trail with a lunch stop or visit to the Lone Star geyser. Part of this group also climbed to an area beyond the Spring Creek trailhead to get a view of Yellowstone Lake and the Tetons. Our weather was excellent, ranging from a brisk zero deg. F. in the morning to about 30 deg. F. in the afternoons, complete with a clear blue sky.

We left Old Faithful Thursday morning and with a few photo stops and geyser sightings, arrived in West Yellowstone at noon, boarded our waiting bus after lunch and proceeded towards Pocatello. Along the way, we had a photo stop for a panoramic view of the Tetons and also discovered a young moose standing in the snow just across the road from the bus. We combined a rest stop with a museum tour in Rexburg and viewed the film footage of the Teton Dam disaster, which devastated the local area in the early 1970s. We arrived in Pocatello in the early evening and enjoyed a private buffet dinner and rest at a local inn while waiting for our midnight train. Before leaving the station, Dorothy Munz read us a delightful poem she had composed in memory of the traveling minstrel we had encountered the previous Sunday morning. Our train brought us back to Portland within 10 minutes of schedule and our bus from Portland arrived back in Eugene on time Friday evening at 5:00 p.m.

Sharing this journey together were Norm Benton, Margaret Crosland, Amy Clugston, Leona Devine, Bob Dark, Jane Flanagan, Bea Fontana and Bep Fontana, Dave Forslund, Sue Girardeau, Jane Hackett, Betty Macy, Chuck Mitchell, Dorothy Munz, Patty Neis, Joyce Owen, Diane Reed, Chris Shuraleff, Gene Thaxton, Anne Tize, Clair Tucker, Martha Welches, Birgitte Williams and Glenn Meares (leader).

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