The September blog circle theme at Share Six is REFLECTIONS. I hope you’ll take the time to link around the full blog circle (next link at the bottom), and then submit to the Share Six Facebook and/or Instagram pages for a chance to be featured.
Please brace yourself for the shorter version of a very long REFLECTIONS story, touching on my passion for National Parks, and Yellowstone in particular this time. This summer has been a whirlwind for my family – a good whirlwind, but a whirlwind all the same. My husband recently left his job and we launched another company. With that employment change, we found ourselves with a window of time just before school started back to take another trip. About two months ago, we loosely decided to go to Casper, Wyoming to view the total solar eclipse, but once we had the extra vacation time, we decided to go to South Dakota to visit Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Wind Cave, Custer State Park, and more, before driving to totality, somewhere in Nebraska or Wyoming. However, as busy as our summer had been with other trips, and as fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants as we are anyway, when I started looking for campground availability four days before we were to leave, I discovered that nothing was available and we weren’t willing to wing it with first-come, first-serve campsite hopes for 11 days. I looked at the eclipse path and noticed the path of totality was right over our favorite campground in Grand Teton National Park and that we could literally watch it from the campground! We were just there last year, but jumped at the chance to return. We left early on a Saturday morning to try to grab a first-come, first-serve site that day, but went prepared to stay on US forest land until we could snag one, if necessary. Well, by 2:30 in the afternoon, we were sitting pretty in one of the last available – but very best – sites there! They filled up before 3:30 and the days leading up to the eclipse were a huge disappointment to many who arrived later, still hoping to secure a site. We count our blessings that things worked out for us to be there for the eclipse and all the other wonders Mother Nature offers in the area.
A huge piece of my heart belongs to the Tetons for its majestic peaks, wildflowers, days past when I camped in the back country there, and – I won’t lie – the moose! Still, my favorite National Park is so cliche, as it is Yellowstone. I love Bryce, Yosemite, the Tetons, Rocky, Acadia, Great Smoky Mountain, Arches, Canyonlands – I mean, it’s hard to go wrong! But I am a STEM girl (OK, STEAM!) and for the tremendous science, the fantastic geology, the spectacular colors, the Yellowstone Caldera, the wildlife, the fascinating variety of thermal features – Yellowstone wins. Yes, it’s crowded in peak season and I have yet to get there off-peak, but I ache to go in snow – soon! I am always incredibly disappointed by the lack of respect and care demonstrated by many tourists – including those who walk off the boardwalks, breaking the law as they enter the fragile thermal areas, and those who approach wildlife, far too close. Nevertheless, it is a truly magical place, full of so much to learn, observe, and appreciate.
Early in the trip, I got to talking with three lovely tourists from India, and their American tour guide as we watched a bull moose by the river below in the Tetons. I am not sure where the guide was from, but he seemed very attached to the Tetons, and was incredibly dismissive of Yellowstone. In my opinion, the two parks have very different vibes, but they are both phenomenal in their own ways. The guide had already taken the tourists to Yellowstone for one measly day, and he said that’s all you need there. He laughed at me when I said we were going up and asked if I had been before, which I affirmed. He then asked, in a very mocking tone, why I would return. Now, understand, this was not a negative conversation, per se, but my mind was blown by the question of why I would ever return. Even if it wasn’t for my own love of the park, I have small children, which he knew. The opportunities to allow them to grow up, seeing the park regularly, learn from tourists’ mistakes and others’ respect, and – most of all – to learn about the science there – are tremendous. Every time we take them, they learn more about nature, human nature, and our planet. They learn about wildfires, birth, renewal, and respect. So, Sir, wherever you are, I am sitting here, reflecting on the majesty of Yellowstone and your bewildering attitude that Yellowstone is worth no more than a one-day visit in a lifetime. I beg to differ, and offer some literal REFLECTIONS below for a very small peek into why it’s worth so very much more to me and to my family.
I sincerely appreciate you dropping by to check out my take on REFLECTIONS. Next in the blog circle is the fabulous It’s Still Life Photography! Please link over and see the post Elizabeth has generated for our theme. For a chance to be featured at Share Six, please submit your REFLECTIONS images to the Share Six Facebook and/or Instagram pages (tag #sharesix_reflections) by October 5th.