Tag soup is best served with a spoonful of humility and swallowed along with your pride. A little salt in the open wounds of your failure helps it go down easier. Not familiar with the recipe? Its …
Tag soup is best served with a spoonful of humility and swallowed along with your pride. A little salt in the open wounds of your failure helps it go down easier. Not familiar with the recipe? Its main ingredient is an unused, expired resident elk hunting license.
With the bitter taste of soup still on my tongue, I turned the key to my dusty truck and headed to Yellowstone on Saturday. The East Entrance was scheduled to close on Monday (Nov. 4), representing the last chance for easy access from Powell.
The park is a special place. I always find solitude there.
When I say I’m searching for solitude, I often mean I’m looking for a place to be alone so my whining isn’t recorded and uploaded to YouTube for everybody to watch me throwing a fit.
Arriving at the gate before sunrise, the sun was just beginning to illuminate some stringy clouds. Not a single car was seen all the way from the gate to Lake Butte Overlook, where I hoped to photograph the surrounding peaks at the first sign of light. The road to the overlook was closed, but I managed to find an unoccupied pullout with a decent view — still a little grumpy.
But by the time I made it to Sedge Bay, the taste of bad soup was in the rearview window and a grin was creeping its way across my chubby cheeks.
Last year, I felt oddly empty after the gate closed for winter. Big events stack up in fall — like elk, game bird, deer and football seasons. I had let the last day of ’18 slip by without one last peek. I regretted it all winter. The bright red lights on the big green board near Colter’s Hell warning of closed roads haunted me. But on this day I was able to press forward.
Old Faithful was practically a ghost town and I scored an amazing parking spot at Grand Prismatic Spring. I kept going. I was the one-car coyote jam near Madison. It stalked and ate a few feisty rodents making tunnels in the snow. Like a two-pack of Nutty Bars, you can’t stop at one.
I continued north, aiming for lunch in Gardiner, Montana. Arriving at Mammoth, my arch nemeses were everywhere. I imagined the resident wapiti were laughing at me. They were simply minding their own business while browsing the manicured lawns and roughs around Fort Yellowstone. They didn’t seem to mind as I judged them on how delicious they looked.
I ended up having a chicken sandwich and about a gallon of coffee for lunch.
On the way home I saw a little wiggle on the side of the road. It was a porcupine in a pine tree. He didn’t seem to mind me taking photos. I did so quickly and let it be. The light was muted by thickening clouds so I figured it was a good time to head home.
Before I made it back to the overlook, the sky busted loose with sunset fireworks over the lake. That final payoff for making the effort reminded me success as a hunter isn’t as important as getting out and enjoying our incredible natural resources.