“They are all covered in a couple feet of snow, and we are tired of shoveling. You are welcome to go look around, but I advise you to be quick. The lodge is full and the cabins are going quickly,” states the Xanterra rep running the campground registration counter. I grab a map, hop into the truck, and we take off around the loops. All are covered, absolutely covered. A few tents are roughing it, complete with tarp suspended over their tent to ease the impact. (hmm, we have no tarp; there is no clear path to the bathrooms; this is not going to be fun).
We stop and look at what was to be our assigned spot. Really nice spot, if it were dry—near to the store, the bathrooms, and within easy access to now closed hiking trails. We pow wow—with no one around, would we be safe? We have no tarp and the forecast calls for more snow. When it melts, is this going to be a disaster area? Even if we stay, all the trails are closed; we do not have snow shoes and most trails are not marked so we could not follow markers on the trees. With the geysers and mudpits, we have seen half the park today. We conclude that we should cancel our reservation, stay the night in the lodge, and visit Old Faithful on our way out tomorrow. We will be back; that’s for certain. As we sum up our plan, I get hit with a snowball. There, on the same spot where we were to be camping, Brad is picking up fresh snow and hurling it at me. Desperately, I fight back. Bare handed and laughing, we stoop, scoop up snow, and throw. It was just the fun interaction we needed to solidify our decision.
I head into registration and cancel our reservation. As they process our refund, Brad comes in with another couple behind him. I make small talk with the Xanterra rep, “Well, at least the snow is preparing us for our new home.” “Where is that?” she asks. “Kodiak,” Brad responds.
“Kodiak? What do you do?” pipes the male of the couple behind us. “Coast Guard.’ “That’s funny, us, too.” Turns out that the couple behind are Coasties. He is a chief at the MWR in Chesapeake and is on vacation with his wife, a former coastie. They, too, opted to book a cabin and cancel their camping reservation. We chat for close to 20 minutes after we leave registration. We know a lot of the same people and he gives us the name of the MWR head in Kodiak. “If you have any problems with Joe, give me a call.”