We all have a list of things we would like to get done before Jack Frost returns to claim his rightful place in the great Northwoods. For me, planting the garden is always a staple on this list, but this year I decided to instead put priority on a memorable family vacation before my kids got too cool for spending time with their old mom and dad. As school got out and the temperatures began to rise, we began our summer adventure by heading West to Yellowstone National Park.
Our first stop was to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. Here bison, feral horses and tree-covered badlands dominated the landscape. We next headed through the Beartooth mountains in Montana on our way to Yellowstone. Driving through the pass in the Beartooth mountains provided some incredible views, but is not for the faint of heart as you zig-zag your way up to about eleven thousand feet in elevation and then back down. Along the way we saw some hardy winter enthusiast enjoying snowmobiling and skiing on snow that was nearly twenty feet deep in some spots. These trails have only recently been opened and are actually closed again due to more snow.
Once through the Beartooth pass we spent multiple days in Yellowstone and the surrounding area. The thermal features in Yellowstone are truly one-of-a-kind and really shine a light on how the Earth around us is constantly changing. We also visited Earthquake Lake just outside the park. This more evidence on how the world is at work under our feet; in the late 50’s a 7.3 magnitude earthquake caused a part of a mountain to sluff off and fall into the Madison River, damming its flow and flooding a large section of land.
From Yellowstone Park we headed back through the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming, which was full of wildlife and ever-changing, great views. Here we encountered one of the many highlights of the trip; we saw eight moose feeding along in one spot and had some of them walk within 20 yards of our truck.
We ended our vacation in the Black Hills of South Dakota, where we saw plenty of wildlife and did some successful trout fishing in one of the rivers that provided a tasty supper last night.
I hope that all of you take time to chase down one of your items on your bucket list this year and savor those memories for life!