Recently, I took another one of those “trips of a lifetime” with my wife and one of my sons — this time to Yellowstone National Park. Although my wife had briefly visited some years back, my son and I had never been. We stayed for three full days in a cabin just a few miles from the south entrance of the park, which afforded us great access not only to Yellowstone but also to the Grand Tetons National Park as well as Jackson, Wyoming. Like my other experiences traveling to the west, I was most taken by the enormity of space in this portion of the country. The sky goes on forever. The landscape melts into the distance in a blue haze. The vistas are simply overwhelming.
Of course, like many visitors to this National Park, my son and I were hoping to see plenty of wildlife, which is practically unavoidable. In fact, there have been several recent incidents of people/wildlife encounters that have ended up not too pleasant for the humans involved, especially with bison. At a safe distance, and in the protection of an automobile, it is so rewarding to see animals in their own habitat, protected as they are from most human threats. We were fortunate enough to see bison, elk, prong horns, and an otter. We desperately wanted to see a grizzly bear but were not willing to hike in the back country where one would typically find them. However, on the last day, we were lucky enough to see a mother brown bear and her playful cub resting in the shade of some trees, just a hundred or so yards from the roadway.
I will write more posts about this trip in the weeks ahead, so we will consider this short piece an introduction. For those who haven’t been but have contemplated a trip to Yellowstone, I would strongly encourage placing it near the top of your bucket list, especially if you have an appreciation for the great outdoors.