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January through March, 2012

Thank You for Your Service

For those who have seen Old Faithful: how many times have you seen it when you didn't have to jockey for the best view? Pauline's nephew Richard and his daughter Anna visited from England so we arranged a 3-day Winter Yellowstone Trip. In addition to seeing Old Faithful erupt for a small audience many times we had many other treats. Follow this link for more pictures. Be sure to check out the wolf track we found.

“Thank you for your service” is what you should say when you meet a veteran, especially if it is a person like Edward R. "Buddy" Haydon. Buddy is a WWII veteran who flew a P-51 against deadly German ME-262 jet fighters.

The Allies lost 542 aircraft to the ME-262 compared to the German fighter's 100 losses, a ratio that could have impacted the course of the war if executed on the large scale German pilots desired. Buddy was a key player in the ME-262 dog-fight many claim changed the course of the air war over Europe, witnessed an early V-2 launch, was declared killed in action and spent several months as a POW. Follow the eponymous link above for many interesting details of Buddy's early career. After WWII he continued to serve in the Air Force, flying early jet fighters such as the F-86 (pictured here) and F-102.

We met Buddy at a party at his daughter's home in Bridger Canyon. Recalling there is a hangar at the Bozeman Yellowstone Airport housing a number of vintage aircraft, Gary got the idea that it would be fun to take Buddy to see aircraft of the types he had flown and see if he they sparked his memory with more stories to tell. The owner of the hangar is a vintage aircraft buff and was quite happy to host Buddy. In addition to the F-86 pictured above, we saw a BT-13 (pictured here) of the type he used to train new pilots early in the war. Buddy enjoyed the outing but, at 92, he admits his memory is getting a bit hazy.

After much consideration, we decided to build a “shed” to store the RV and other equipment at the bone pile. That required us to do a lot of clean-up to prepare the site for a 20'x30' pole shed. We managed to get a lot of things removed by advertising them on Freecycle. The shed will sit in the right half of this picture; approximate dimensions are indicated by the metal saw horse, black tub and white PVC pipe. We cleaned up the left half to make room for the construction crew. Compare this picture with pictures taken in December, 2011 and Summer, 2008. By late Spring we should be able to get pictures of the completed shed.

There was a slow start to the ski season this year, followed by big March snow storms that brought the snow pack to near normal. The wet snow on top of relatively thin Winter cover created dangerous avalanche conditions. On March 27, regular control procedures and spontaneous slides combined to unleash several large avalanches into the Bridger Bowl ski area. The avalanches just missed two lifts, ripped up many trees and scoured several runs to the ground. This picture (courtesy Bridger Bowl) shows how one avalanche missed the unloading station just above and right of center then continued down one of the popular black diamond runs. No-one was hurt in the avalanches, but skiing was curtailed for the remainder of the season. This article contains an analysis of the avalanche situation.


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