Vicarious Tourism: Purple Mountain Majesties

Continuing my very busy home leave, I just got back from a week touring Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks with my sister Beth and my friend Amelia*. I had been hearing for ages about how beautiful this area of the country is but I had never managed to make it there until now. Having been, I can say with confidence that all the glowing praise you’ve ever heard about Yellowstone and its environs is completely underselling the place. The geysers! The waterfalls! The thermal pools and terraces! The canyon! The dramatic mountain views! We could have spent twice as long there and still not even scratched the surface of the park. The wildlife was pretty incredible too – where else will you see bald eagles soaring on an updraft or find a wild bison trotting down the street just a few yards from your car? And the stars! I’ve never seen so many! You can see the Milky Way and everything, quite a change from the five stars you get in the suburbs.

And there’s so much to do. We hiked in the Tetons and rafted the Snake River. We rode horses in Yellowstone and soothed our aching muscles in a hot spring in Montana. We learned all about Buffalo Bill and celebrated the 4th of July with fireworks and a rodeo in Wyoming. (Miraculously, my sparkly pink pedicure made it through the trip intact.) And there were still so many things – mountain biking, paragliding, tons more hiking trails – we would have loved to do but just didn’t have the time for. Maybe next time.

Beth is the photographer of the group so her shots are course much better than these, but in a place like this where every photo is a postcard even I couldn’t screw it up that badly:
I need to go back one of these days – a week was nowhere near enough. But after our week of frenzied activity I need a vacation from my vacation! Good thing I’m going to spend the next week laying in the beach in Florida.

*Not her real name, but she picked it out.