We’re just back from hiking 5 days in Yellowstone. I apologize now for the multiple posts and photos I’m sure to fill my blog with. We had an amazing trip. The landscape out west is so different from where we live in the northeast. As we flew into Bozeman, MT we marveled at the wide open land and snow peaked mountains. At night we saw the Milky Way spread clear across the sky along with thousands of other stars that lit up the inky night. Mornings and evenings were cool, a second layer or light jacket needed to keep warm. The days warmed up to the 70s, one day the temperature may have hit 80, but I hiked comfortably in long pants (except for one day in shorts) and short sleeves. We were seven – a retired teacher and her sister, a soon to be retired nurse; an attorney and his daughter, Bill, me and the guide. Family within our group and family for the week.
The rooms in the park don’t have TV, the internet is spotty so we didn’t even try to use Bill’s computer and neither of us have smart phones. We were able to text when we had cell service, which wasn’t all the time, but I purposely limited my communications beyond letting my family know I arrived safely and checking in mid trip. My phone was usually off or left behind in the room or car.
At night, after eating dinner together, we would say good night and split off with the person we arrived with. We spent the first two nights in a lodge that was a bit remote. Once back in our rooms we were removed from the restaurant and gift shops. Bill and I uploaded our photos, talked about what we had seen, pointing specific things out in our pictures, read and usually called it a night by 10:30 or so. We both took a lot of photos and I still need to sort through them all.
We spent the last two nights at the Old Faithful Inn; there we were steps away from the restaurant, coffee bar and several gift shops but spent most of our free time walking the boardwalk through geysers and hot springs, saw Old Faithful erupt in the early morning, late afternoon and after dark.
We hiked a mountain, we hiked through meadows, we hiked into canyons. We saw purple, yellow, white wildflowers, we cut through tall grasses the color of wheat and sage. We saw bison, lots and lots of bison. We saw elk, sheep, grouse, marmots, osprey. We saw bear activity, as in bear poop, signs keeping us out of certain trailheads due to bears, but never saw a bear.
On the third night I started feeling sad that our trip was half over then got annoyed with myself for feeling sad. I had to remind myself to stay in each moment, enjoy each step, savor each sight and stop thinking about the inevitable end of the trip. Of course the five days came to an end and we said goodbye to our hiking mates. Bill and I spent the night in a hotel in downtown Bozeman, a quaint college town that reminded us a little bit of Northampton, before heading home the next day. We walked the main street to dinner, peeking into store windows, making mental notes of which ones we wanted to visit the following day. The next morning we walked to breakfast, popped into a few of the shops, chatted with store owners and employees. And, while in town, as part of the re-entry back into our lives we watched some TV; so maybe we only made it six days without.