May 10, 2011 § 1 Comment
“Live with intention. walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.” -Mary Anne Radmacher
As I pack, clean, and prepare for my summer working outside of Yellowstone, I can’t help but reflect on my last trip there.
Yellowstone: It means so much to my family. I’ve probably told you this before, but here is a quick recap. My mom’s parents always took roadtrips, often to the west, to the Rocky Mountains. My mom fell in love with Yellowstone. Maybe the size, the grandeur, the sprawling valleys, surrounding mountains. The wildlife, the smell of the trees, the mountain air. After she graduated from high school, my mom found an ad for Yellowstone park employees and applied. She ended up working in the Fishing Bridge area for two summers. My mom fell so in love with Yellowstone, that she even has collection of vintage Yellowstone souvenirs in our house. I understand that; Yellowstone was her second home. Its the way I feel about Poland after I spent my summer studying abroad there. The places that provide us a different element of self-discovery, reveal parts of ourselves we didn’t know, teach us, introduce us to people who challenge us, and often, our best friends.
After my mom worked in the park, her brothers and sisters followed. My grandpa went after he retired. My cousins and I grew up with their stories. Yellowstone became larger than life for us. Not so much the place, but the idea of it; the experiences and lessons and secrets that the park held for us. We dreamt of living it for ourselves.
My sister was the first cousin to go and live it. And she lived it big. She loved every second of it and Yellowstone revealed many of the same lessons and experiences to her that it did for our mom.
One of my closest friends, Brendan, and I roadtripped up to visit my sister last summer. This was neither of our first trips to Yellowstone, my mom would drive us out of the way on numerous family vacations just to make a stop in Yellowstone, but its the freshest on my mind which I can share with you. A few days after Brendan and I got there, my mom, dad, and cousin arrived.
We had an amazing week. Not only did we get to hike, swim, climb, sightsee, etc. But we also made friends with my sister’s friends and got to raft, full-moon float, dance, star-gaze and just enjoy the vacation.
We hiked to my favorite waterfall, Osprey, secluded and not overly hiked, and enjoyed lunch there along the river. We hiked Bunsen Peak, Hellroaring, Fairy and Mystic Falls, and Beaver Ponds. We swam in Firehole Canyon, duckied down the river, fly fished, and played on the hoodoos (rock formation) that felt like playing on a God-made playground.
I love to hike. I wish I lived somewhere with better hiking trails. I’ve found a park here, but its just not the same. I honestly think I could hike to Osprey falls every single day.
Most people who visit Yellowstone don’t get very far off the trail. But there is so much to explore if people would just do a little exploring. I’m glad we did. We saw and did so much. Now, I can’t wait to go back. I’ll be there in about a week!
**I know I keep telling you that I’ll post something more urban, but I guess my heart is the mountains these days…ok, always. Why fight it?!