Our day started with a two-hour drive up to Gardiner so Paul could interview Lee Whittlesey, Yellowstone Park Historian. Mr. Whittlesey was charming and enthusiastic or, in Paul's words, "He was awesome!"
Paul has been asking some great questions about Yellowstone's beginnings. As a homeschool mom, my response when I don't know an answer is, "Let's find out." Usually this results in an online search or a trip to the library. This time we'd researched our hearts out and still found no answers, so my answer changed to, "Let's ask someone who knows."
Mr. Whittlesey has been studying and publishing histories about Yellowstone for thirty-five years. He's written a dozen books and more than twice that many articles about the park. He'd just completed a hectic conference week and still he made time for this interview.
Paul now has answers to his questions, 35 minutes of recorded material for his National History Day project, and even more enthusiasm for both Yellowstone and the study of history.
Some days I'm overwhelmed with the goodness of people. Today is one of those days.
The rest of our last day in the park was filled with a driving and hiking along the path from Mammoth to Cooke City, Montana---and then more driving and hiking all the way back to Hebgen Lake. It was a beautiful way to spend the last of our time here.
The Yellowstone Research Center, where Lee Whittlesey has his office. The library and archives are also here. This is where we spent most of day six as well, reading and scanning.
Blacktail Deer Plateau. Yes, there are still areas of Yellowstone where you can drive out on dirt roads and not see a soul.
This petrified tree is over 35 million years old. Early tourists chipped away at the trees for souvenirs and now just the one remains here.
Photos from Cooke City, Montana. This is an early mining town. The look and feel is familiar to me from other mining towns we've visited. Less familiar: the mine reclamation work--along with the dire warning signs.
And one final picture: an elk at Mammoth.
Today we're off to Hailey, Idaho for The Trailing of The Sheep Festival. Yay! If you know me at all, you know I love sheep. :)