Tips and Tricks from a Seasoned Yellowstone Employee with 10 Best Hikes

roamwildandfree

10424335_10203282713407329_5437186434933099255_n Backcountry campsite 2S1 on Lower Slough Creek

Contrary to popular belief, Yellowstone National Park is not a drive through wildlife safari or petting zoo. The animals will bite, gore and tear you to shreds if you pet them while taking a selfie.

I’ve spent 2 summers working at Canyon Lodge and Lake Lodge engaging with hundreds of visitors per day. I haven’t seen it all, but I’ve seen a lot. I’ve seen a father put his 2 year old on the back of a bison laying down for a photo op, cars with all four doors open stopped in the middle of the road with the passengers all taking pictures of the mamma bear and cubs 20 ft away, tourists trying to pet the newborn elk with the mother charging towards them, visitors doing handstands off trail on the edge of the very unstable Grand Canyon, families who yell at me…

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The Last of the Fairhaven Coasters: The Story of Captain Claude S. Tucker and the Schooner Coral, by Robert Demanche, Donald F. Tucker and Caroline B. Tucker

coasterOnce, the masts of sailing vessels rose like forests growing in the bays along the east coast of the North America. The most visible species of sailing vessels was the schooner, the workhorse of coastal commerce. Competition from improving roads, the development of railroads and motorized boats gradually clear-cut the marine landscape. The story of Captain Tucker and the schooner Coral remind today’s reader of the way it was, and how something so vital and seemingly imperishable could pass into history. The Coral may have gone, but thanks to the authors, it left its mark. The schooner, Coral represented the end of an era in maritime history. Its master, Captain Claude S. Tucker and his family have documented the exploits of this versatile cargo craft, using primary sources, logs, and personal experiences to portray the life and death of Coral. Launched in 1878, battered by the Northeast’s hurricane of 1938, it languished in a shipyard as funding ran out. During its lively sixty years of marine enterprise, Coral hauled an amazing assortment of cargo between ports along the middle Atlantic and New England coasts. The authors describe the human interactions between Captain Tucker, his crew, his family and the various clients. They explain the understandings and contracts that governed life onboard coasters and led to their economic success or failure. History buffs, seamen and the general public will delight in this readable and well-documented account of the proud, versatile and industrious schooner, Coral.

Freedom is not Free

Theresa Linden

Bryant, William Cullen and Sydney Howard Gay. A Popular History of the United States. New York: Charles Scribners' Sons, 1881. Bryant, William Cullen and Sydney Howard Gay. A Popular History of the United States. New York: Charles Scribners’ Sons, 1881.

I can’t believe June is almost over. This summer is flying way too fast.

Since we are getting so close to the Fourth of July, the next stop on our virtual tour needs to be Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution!

And because it’s a virtual tour, money is no object, so we are staying at the beautiful Omni Hotel at Independence Park!

Picture from their website. Pictures from their website.

A classic combination of Old-World elegance and New-World charm, Omni Hotel at Independence Park offers the best in luxurious accommodations to business and leisure travelers alike. Footsteps away from American history in the heart of downtown Philadelphia, Omni Hotel at Independence Park is the perfect retreat during your stay in one of America’s most storied cities.      …

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Healer, A Novel by John M. Wills

Healer

Healer reminds me of a Norman Rockwell print. Rockwell could transform the most ordinary, everyday events into the most extraordinary images. He filled his portraits with warm, happy, generous, uplifting people.

Hidden among a cohort of typical high school kids, Wills finds the extraordinary, the superhero — the healer. Of course every story needs a few villains. Whereas the video game culture would encourage the young adults to viciously dispatch their evil attackers, the healer bucks that trend, challenging us to show compassion.

The power to heal, like most God-given-gifts, is meant to be shared, and it comes at a cost to the healer. Remember the press of the mobs that flocked to Jesus, seeking cures. Let’s not forget the pushback from the religious authorities of Jesus’ day. Could that happen if a healer appeared among us today?

Billy Anderson, the healer, can’t heal himself. He struggles with physical infirmity, homelessness, encounters with the police, and the loss of family and close friends. He’s something of a teenage Job who asks, “Why does God allow suffering?” Even Jesus couldn’t heal everyone. So too, Billy endures the pain of helplessness as those he loves suffer.

Fortunately, he’s on good terms with God. He’s exceptional among his friends in that he fits an early Mass into the flow of his day and prays frequently. He’s ordinary in so many other ways, and he’s discounted by many. Billy gives himself as God’s instrument, serving as a seed crystal, about whom his community grows as a bright and shining gem. Billy is lost in the midst of this gleaming jewel. Those who give him a chance come away all the better for meeting him. Those who selfishly want to take something from Billy, may go away empty.

The author portrays realistic characters and situations. The dialogue and reading level are suitable for the young adult audience. The author keep his readers intrigued, and he finishes his novel with a punch the reader never sees coming. I’d say Healer qualifies as appropriate reading as we approach the Year of Mercy.

Here is Proof – I am not an Alcoholic

800 Recovery Hub Blog

I’m not talking about me.  I am most definitely an alcoholic. I am talking about this study that came out a few days ago — published by the CDC. It says, something to the effect, that most hard-core drinkers are not classified as alcoholics. I cracked up when I saw several social media posts (referring to it) stating “yeah, take this b*tch, I told you I didn’t have a drinking problem”.

It busts me up that some folks are using this to “prove” they don’t have alcoholism. Don’t get me wrong, I am not lacking empathy, it is just that (for me) there is no scientific study that could have diagnosed my “crazy”. It was up to me, to determine my alcohol problem. My denial was thicker than any empirical science, known to humankind.

In any case, I would have blown the story off, but it has some series “legs”. Almost all the major media outlets have…

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A Soldier Surrenders, by Susan Peek

 cover sample 8 (2)   Susan Peek has introduced another of her friends in high places. Camillus de Lellis lived in the sixteenth century, a time of saints and turmoil. Nonetheless, his life and example relate especially well to our times. His résumé included life as a soldier, a veteran, a wounded warrior, a gambler, a drunk, a homeless person, a nurse/orderly, a hospital administrator, a founder of a religious order, and ultimately a saint.   With his father, a fellow mercenary, he chased armies, joined battles and spent his free time carousing and card-sharking. De Lellis sold his loyalty to the highest bidder, so his motivations weren’t always the most noble. After battles, he gambled and drank away his wages leaving him hungry, homeless, and reliant on his luck at cards.   A giant of a man, Camillus could have inspired today’s movie makers with his battlefield heroics. However, the real Camillus de Lellis stood in stark contrast to the current trends in action movies that present warriors as graceful, powerful, lethal, and photogenic, even after an hour of cinematic mayhem. The author provided a more honest representation of sword, musket, and hand-to-hand combat and its blood-splattered, weary and wretched participants.   Piety came later in the life of Camillus de Lellis and only after a series of false starts. Although he healed from his battle wounds, a mysterious and painful leg ailment dogged and humiliated him. It also disqualified Camillus from vocations that seemed well suited to his spiritual development. His temper and arrogance cost him jobs and sent him back into destructive behavior. Like the biblical Balaam, de Lellis finally saw the light with the help of an equine companion.   Susan Peek has written A Soldier Surrenders with love. She engages her audiences with the depiction of a man who shared many of our weaknesses, yet, despite his limitations, handicaps and bad choices, his example still encourages us to persevere in our pursuit of our calling to holiness. A Soldier Surrenders would serve as a sympathetic companion for us all, especially for those with lives shattered by war, chronic pain, homelessness, unemployment, or chemical dependency.