Monday, December 27, 2010

The Winter Migration of the Yellowstone Marsupials

When my supervisor asked me what size of snowmobiling coat I wore, I said I’d take one as large as she had. Though I prance around all winter with a DDD-sized chest, in reality my bust is crammed full like a glove compartment with all the miscellaneous items I might need for a day on a snowmobile. Want to keep that camera close at hand? Stuff it in the front of your coat. Here, Mel, will you take this up to Fishing Bridge? Sure, I’ll just tuck it inside my jacket. Many of you still mock me because I once confessed to cramming produce down my sleeves in order to keep it from freezing while snowmobiling back from the grocery store, but so far that’s the only technique I’ve found for transporting fresh greens in February.
Today I noticed that my pouch-stuffing habit has gotten a little out of hand. By the time I dressed, prepped my snowmobile, stopped by West Thumb, and journeyed to Lake, I’d managed to acquire the following items in the front of my coat:  radio and harness, keys, headlamp, matches, pocket knife, hand warmers, pen, Chapstick, binoculars, camera, video camera, fleece hat, balaclava, spare gloves, water bottle, two letters to be mailed, a notepad, a chocolate bar, an orange, and the morning weather report. And that doesn’t count the items which were actually in a coat pocket or strapped to the snowmobile itself. Now, picture me coming into the warming hut, taking off my helmet, and unzipping my coat, and then watching the contents of an oversized junk drawer pour out all over the floor. What a spectacle!
A former colleague once advised me to keep essential survival items on my person while snowmobiling, so if I were thrown from the sled (or sunk the ‘bile in the bottom of the lake) I’d still have what I needed to stay alive. If I that had happened this morning, I’d have had enough gear to keep going for a week or two. They’d find me perched on the side of the road, sitting by the fire, chomping on a chocolate bar and video-blogging the whole adventure. I may not be very huggable, but I’m Boy-scout prepared!

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