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Open Road: National Park Poem

There's nothing worse than planning a trip, counting down the days, then getting there and realizing that everyone else had the same exact idea.

Cowboy Poetry: National Park
by Hal Cannon for the Open Road

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There's a room at the inn at Yellowstone National Park. The Old Faithful Snow Lodge has just added 48 more rooms. And this weekend the Dunraven Lodge is scheduled to open in the Park's Grand Canyon area making a grand total of 600 hotel rooms and 16-hundred cabins in Yellowstone. But after hearing cowboy poet Wally McCrae's poem, "National Park" you might thing twice about booking one of those spots.

National Park
by Wally McCrae

One year with hangover when we wasn't fightin' water
I gather up the family, saying,
"Folks, I think we ought a take a short vacation.
Fly off like a meadowlark
We'll relax some, like civilians
In a scenic national park."

So we pack half the stuff we own in our flat-fendered car,
And hit the trail for mountains that beckon from afar.
Well, we gets there in a day or two with a minimum of fuss.

When we gets there half the world's there too, in line, ahead of us.
'Course all our bedrolls are at home,
Ain't no place for us to stay,
And the ranger says the bears'd get us if we slept out anyway.
So we retreat
Against the grain, halfway home to some bed ground,

And contrary to all instincts
Next morning turn around to take another run.
But this time we're lead wolves in the pack
And the drag is challenging us leaders and there ain't no turnin' back.

Well, there's hordes of humans a-waitin' at every scenic spot
And we can't get out of traffic though our radiator's hot
And we seen new sights, like sun bounced off of lines of cars plumb blinding
And heard the eerie mating call of electric cameras winding.
Heard languages from places a damn long ways from here
And saw license plates from states that I forgot for forty year.

And get ups, Lord Almighty.
In every shape and size of bod
While me, wearing what I always wear, they eye me like I'm odd.
And they got words writ on their t-shirts
That I know's again' the law
That I read from 'neath my hat brim, hoping no one's seen I saw

Oh, we saw rocks and trees and streams
We seen some waterfall,
But mostly we seen humans

Watched 'em mill and paw and bawl
And we straggled home crowd-foundered
From our park experience
Plum wore out like we'd branded calves or built a mile of fence

And you can bet your last calf check
Any rock pile that is steeple
And is called some kind of park
Will be overrun with people.

So when we see them pretty pictures of them parks and yearn to roam,
We think about them millin' herds and stay the hell to home

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