by Pat Schramm
Hi Ideas Into Action Group!!!
I finally got a new Samsung phone with Verizon service, so am able to better communicate with you. Still have to go to town to download Microsoft updates on my laptop. And I do manually turn wi-fi, data, and syncing on and off because service here in the park is sketchy and all it does is constantly search for a signal. So once a day I sync emails manually. Even to use the internet, the best time is around 4am. Then service is great! But my phone works and texting works. Yea!
Here’s me in front of the “post office”. It’s a former warming hut for skiers in the winter. The old post office was in the visitor center. When the park service built a new visitor center, they booted out the PO and gave them a “temporary” building. (It’s been 17 years). There is no running water or toilet. There is a camper potty (which I have to dump myself) or I close with a sign “we will be right back” and run to Canyon Lodge Registration next door and use the bathroom there. Last year a new roof was installed, so I know we are never getting a new building. (It isn’t even “accessible” for wheelchairs, etc.) and we are on federal land in a national park. Crazy!!
Also there are no computers. It’s all cash and carry. When someone sends a box, I weigh it and they pay in cash and I put stamps on the box. I am counting money and making change all day. I have a collection of foreign money that people leave for me. It’s my show and tell. I have two “adult” and one “kids” writing tables in the lobby. People use them to write postcards, etc. Tons of postcards. That’s my main business. Selling stamps for postcards. And people nowadays don’t know how to address postcards or envelopes. No one writes anymore!! Some people do ask where to write the address and where to put the stamp. Whole families come in to write and mail postcards. I always give the kids the stamps and show them where to stick them and where to mail the postcard. A lot of times it’s the first time they have mailed anything. That’s fun…
Here’s where I live. My friend, Pat, who hired me has the contract for two post offices in the park, Canyon and Lake. I work at Canyon and she works at Lake. She is providing housing for me. So I live in a trailer in the employee campground. The trailer hadn’t been lived in for years, so there was a lot of cleaning and a musty smell. But it’s cleaned up well. There is a leak in the shower skylight when it rains, but it drips into the tub so that’s OK. Who knows how to fix that! I eat at Delaware North’s EDR (employee dining room), so don’t even have to cook! I like that because I can socialize and meet the employees at the general store. Our campground is in the woods and my trailer backs into a field.
Two bison “Bert and Ernie” hang out around here. And there have been bears using the trails we walk on. So I do carry bear spray. Haven’t seen any bears myself when I walk to and from work, but am always on the lookout. I did have to divert my walk home one day when a bison was sitting in a wallow only 5 feet from the boardwalk that goes across a wet area. So I had to walk on the road. Have a fire pit and picnic table next to my trailer. Haven’t sat outside too much lately because of the mosquitoes. It’s warmed up during the day so they are out. But at night it still gets in the 30’s and there is frost some mornings.
Now for the wildlife. See the two black spots on the tree? Those are two little black bear cubs. They were playing in the tree while their mother was on the ground eating. This was between Tower and Roosevelt. When the two were done climbing, they came down and their mom instantly got them up the hill and out of our site. The two moose we spotted in a yard on our drive up here from Denver.
Would love to hear from you and what you are doing this summer.