Yellowstone Summer Day 16 Field Notes: Back to Wonderland

Another short one today – my days seem to be getting longer as I try to squeeze in every possible moment of wonder in Wonderland.

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With Eileen, one of my mom’s most longtime friends and one of the most beautiful people I know, inside and out. Also, a badass who skis, sails, ATVs, and still does tent camping well into her 70s. #goals

Day 16 highlights:

1. Drove back from Bozeman this morning. Would you like to know how long it takes to get into the Park on a beautiful morning in the middle of summer? No, you really would not.

2. More traffic study today. I spent most of the survey period sitting in the shadow of a big sign, which has the twin advantages of making me relatively inconspicuous (the better to obtain unbiased results – more people stop when they see a uniformed presence) and allowing me to loll about in the shade.

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Ranger NatureNerd at your service!

However, sometime around 6 the bitey flies emerged, and I had to stand up to escape them. It turned out very few people who saw me there guessed what I was doing anyway, but LOTS of people happily waved. Especially kids. What a sweet gig. I seem to walk around with a smile on my face constantly here. Crazily enough, it’s mostly genuine.

3. IT RAINED TODAY! Like, I saw actual drops. I even heard thunder! There were at least 5 color combinations in the sky I don’t think I’ve ever seen before.

4. Knocking on wood each time, several of us on staff cautiously remarked on the gloriously elk-free day. I learned that on cooler days (like this) they don’t seek the shade and irrigated lawns of Mammoth. So of course the minute I let down my guard and started looking at my phone on the way to the gym, I practically walked into this gal. (It took me a second to switch to camera mode – in truth when I saw her I was only about 10 yards away).

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Color combinations I’ve never seen in the sky before.

5. Any good health thoughts sent to our family would be super appreciated. Nothing to report on at this point, or to panic over, just getting some stuff checked out. But good energy is always, well, good! 

Til tomorrow – hope everyone’s week is off to a beautiful start!

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Just another sunset on the job.

About Bethany Barratt

Dr. Barratt earned her PhD from the University of California in 2002, and her BA in Political Science/History from Duke University in 1994. She is Director of the Joseph Loundy Human Rights Project, which joins forces with community partners in Chicago and cities abroad to draw and apply comparative lessons to make measurable gains in respect for human rights in urban settings. Professor Barratt has conducted archival and field research in Yellowstone National Park, Central Asia, the UK, Canada, and Australia. She is author or editor of several books including “Human Rights and Foreign Aid” (Routledge, 2007), "The Politics of Harry Potter" (Palgrave McMillan, 2012), and coeditor o "Public Opinion and War: Lessons from Iraq" (Potomac, 2012). She has also authored articles on environmental politics and justice, conservation policy, human rights, foreign aid, US, British, Canadian, and Australian foreign policy, and counterterrorism, in Political Research Quarterly, The Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and edited volumes from Ashgate and Lexington Books. Besides her teaching experience at Roosevelt and the University of California, she has also taught in a number of jails and prisons. She is an officer or member of several scholarly associations including the American Political Science Association and the International Studies Association.
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