Echoes From The Past
Every season is new. However, after six years, every season comes with some predictable elements. Spring is the time to finish last minute projects while we wait for the snow to release it's grip. Summer is the time with little sleep, lots of guests, sunshine sparkling on water, green grass, and abundant wildlife. Fall is when things start to slow down; Indian summer brings crisp night and clear days. Aspen leaves flame in the canyons and thoughts turn toward hunting season.
Then winter arrives. Winter has always been a time for short days and long nights. Growing daylight hours slowly change the balance. Crisp snow. Bright sunshine. Cold hands. Snowmobiles! These are the elements which have made winter at Elk Lake for the past 15 or so years. However it was not always this way.
Years ago, when snowmobiles were primitive and winter recreationalists few, Elk Lake really was the end of the world. One prior resident said his family saw only one or two trappers all winter long!
That is a far cry from life at Elk Lake today - or at least it was. As Yellowstone Park continues to go through growing pains which result in increased restrictions on winter access, business falters. We have dropped from February being the busiest month to. . .well?? Who knows?
Combine the unrest surrounding Yellowstone with a lower than usual (compared to the last six years) snow year and we are left wondering. Wondering how it will all pan out? Wondering if we aren't riding a time machine? Perhaps we went to sleep this past December in 2009 and woke in January 1962?
I have never felt lonely at Elk Lake. In fact, I relish the solitude. However, this winter, after several weeks without leaving the lodge - several weeks with days with no guests, I have actually started to feel a bit isolated. Interesting feeling! It stirred a spark of sympathy for the brave souls who used to stay in all winter. They had no choice. Old-style snowmobiles and a car buried under tge snowdrift outside the back door, they really were cut off from the rest of the world!
Funny thing is, most people consider isolation a bad thing. We feel sorry for those poor folks from 20 years ago. I suppose a steady diet could warp a person's personality (or at least their social skills :-). However, like so many things at Elk Lake, something which might be bad in a differnt place and time, is somehow just not.
Thus while we are definitely looking forward to seeing more people, I'm enjoying more time to ski. More time to read. More time to catch up on my 'to-do' list. More time to just enjoy living in one of the most beautiful, secluded, unique (and even sometimes) isolated place in the lower 48.
Lady of the Lake