This week I had the good fortune to take a group of Yellowstone's corporate partners into the interior to get an up close view of YNP's version of spring cleaning....the roads, that is. Despite the mild winter, Yellowstone was doing its best interpretation of winter with single-digit temps, frost, and lots of snow. For the unfamiliar, here is how crews clear the roads each spring (keep in mind that the "roads" have been groomed/packed for over snow use by snowmobiles/snowcoaches for the last three months): Attach two bulldozers in tandem fashion with high-test rope, attach now linked dozers to V-plow equipped front-end loader, apply about 3,200 pound-feet of torque, and watch the snow fly. Rotary plows and additional V-plows widen and buff the road surface to a shine. Along the way, our group is investigated by a seriously curious raven who makes up the only other creature (human or otherwise) we come in near-contact with all day. A morning drive through Montana's Paradise Valley was also sparkling in the local -4 degree air.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Time travel is possible. To drive to Butte, and to pass through the surrounding small towns, is to travel into another time (and perhaps dimension). Whatever money was here has clearly left. What Butte's heyday left behind to our benefit is a treasure trove of pre-war architecture, cool neon, and a really big hole in the ground. The whole place (at least for this outsider) is like some sort of art-movie set. As a photo illustrates below, Butte (and the Marlboro Man) is just a shadow of its former self and I love it.