Let’s start with the negative, just to get it out of the way. Seeing the high mountains reminded me that I’ve always dreamed of climbing mountains, and have never done it. There’s something about approaching 50 years old that makes you think you won’t accomplish things if you haven’t even started yet. I’m pretty sure that’s not really true though. Further, seeing Gerry Spence’s office brings me to the realization that I will probably never be the world – or even nationally – renowned attorney that I once dreamed of being. Still further, seeing all these well-equipped amatuer (and professional) photographers all over Y-stone reminds me that I ditched photography as a hobby when Dad died in 97, because that’s something we shared, and sometimes I wish I hadn’t stopped, because I might would be pretty good at it by now. Whew.. glad I got that out. Now for the final, one day drive through the west side of Yellowstone.
We actually started in the Tetons, on a surprisingly cold day in the rain. We stopped at only a few select spots that we had missed on the trip south, but it was a different experience going north, and in different weather.
And by the way, when I say different weather, I mean it. On the trip south we enjoyed temperatures in the mid to high 70s and sunny skies. Returning north, we experienced rain, sleet and snow in 30 degree temperatures. On June 1. This weather, combined with the volcano induced moon-scapes of the thermal features, created quite a spectacular journey.
I soon put aside my thoughts of less than impressive achievements, and once again found myself enjoying the works of nature (God!) even while wishing I could take the time to be more a part of it rather than just driving through it. A motorcycle, tent, and backpack would be fantastic. . . anyone want to plan a trip?
This is taken from the top of Mammoth Hot Springs. I managed to cut out the noisy people all around so we can enjoy it the way I wanted to.
Same location. Eerily beautiful. Never let anyone tell you not to travel because every location looks basically the same. Simply no truth in that statement.
As I said, the weather was suffering from dissociative identity disorder as we traveled. Rain in the Tetons, getting colder as we approached the Continental Divide, which we crossed 3 times in intermittent sleet, then snow along the Yellowstone River, and back to rain, then sunshine as we exited.
Where else can you find green grass and wild flowers, plus steam and boiling water coming from the ground, while snow is coming from the sky and is up to 3 feet deep where the ground is not hot? I’ve been a few places, and this one is truly unique.
We have seen moose, ravens, a wolf, a coyote, bison, marmots, squirrels, osprey, and foxes, and they know who owns the place, and it is not us.
But it is time to finish this classic family vacation and return to normalcy. This has been a wonderful and fascinating diversion from the family’s world of school politics and my world of government politics. It is good to be reminded that that is not all there is. That’s just what we do in order to afford and enjoy the rest.
With that, we leave Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. May we meet again someday when we can involve less wheels and more backcountry foot travel.
By the time this is published I’ll be flying south.