Been a busy last few days for Jean and me taking in many of the experiences at Yellowstone National Park with our daughter Jeanette, her husband Mark and their three pre-teen boys. We will get you caught up on that shortly; however, there is one item that I wanted to share with you while I am at the scene – our West Yellowstone lodging.
First, a brief disclaimer. I am pretty much OK with the concept of hunting. For thousands of years we either individually or in small bands killed wild game for vital sustenance. And, in fact, we still rely on animals as a food source – plants also. With the exception of perhaps salt and a few other minerals, virtually all of our life sustaining nutrients come from killing or modifying some living thing (I really have not thought this through very much at 5:30am). Also, it is nice to have something else out there to kill so that we don’t use our primal survival of the fittest instinct to kill each other – more often.
OK, with that being said, we were all taken back more than a little when we arrived at our prearranged lodgings in a rural area near the town of West Yellowstone. We arrived at the vicinity of our lodging well after dark on the evening of September 3rd. It was a moonless, overcast night providing us little assistance in finding the location of our unlit residence among the fields and multi-acre home sites well off the major thoroughfare. However, after peeking down a couple of incorrect driveways; we found our home for the next 3 days.
We were all tired after our trip through the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks and more than happy to have a place to bed down. As we slowly accumulated ourselves to our new surroundings we became aware that we were not alone. Within this nicely appointed home (modern-rustic-western??), were an abundance of animal remains. OK, OK, call them trophies. Let’s see – as I sit here at the breakfast bar I can see two mounted elk heads, one mounted deer head, and the bleached sculls of two long horn sheep and two deer. There are two chandeliers made out of elk antlers (a ubiquitous artifact in this area). If I peak around the corner in the living room, I find the fur pelts of a grizzly bear, two gray fox and a red fox. Bird feathers adorn walls and vases. We discovered at daylight that there are six additional bleached sculls some large animals outside the front entry.
Some of you are aware of my personal affinity for river otters. I envy their playful, seemingly carefree life slithering down the muddy or snowy banks of streams or winding their way playfully over the ground and within the water. I’m sure life is not all cherries and cream for them, but it looks pretty inviting to me for the most part. Well, you guessed it, mounted on the entry wall opposite what I believe is a wolverine, there is a stuffed OTTER. That hit very close to home, as that might have been me!
Ordinarily one of the boys would have bedded down on one of the couches in the living room while the other two shared a bedroom. However, due to the abundance of staring eyes on the walls of the living room (Luke called it a taxidermist office), he elected to sleep on cushions in boy’s bedroom instead.
The house was otherwise very comfortable and roomy; and we enjoyed the hot tub and fire pit under a clear moonless sky so full of brilliant celestial bodies that I could not identify any specific features.
More on our adventures in Yellowstone National Park to follow.
Jeanette sitting among the creatures in the living room of our West Yellowstone lodging
Mounted Otter in entry of West Yellowstone Lodging