Snow in July

BeartoothJuly 11, 2011:    The rivers were rushing in Yellowstone too, the falls magnificent roaring cascades. I loved this park as a child, and haven’t been back in more than 20 years. Its scale and diversity loom even vaster than I remember: canyons, lakes, rivers, mountains, hot springs, geysers, volcanic rocks, vast green valleys, pine forests — the park truly has it all. And the animals: In our too short 24 hours there, we saw grizzlies, a black bear, scores of buffalo, elk wandering through Mammoth Hot Springs resort, a baby and mama deer, and a healthy coyote trotting across a field of yellow flowers. We were sobered and made cautious by the news that a man from Torrance had been mauled by a grizzly just a few miles from where we were staying. But we loved our sweet Western cabin at Canyon Lodge. I wish we could have stayed longer.
The highlight of our trip so far was our voyage out of the park on Highway 212, aka Beartooth Scenic Highway. We climbed up to almost 11,000 feet, past people sledding down hills, through banks of snowpack still 10 feet high, above the timber and snow lines, until we truly felt like we were on top of the world. We looked down on a flock of white mountain goats grazing, rams and ewes and lambs in bright white coats. We could have been in Alaska.  We had no idea this is what the crazy scribble of highway on the map meant, this time tunnel through winter in the middle of July. It took forever, but we kept stopping to snap photos. Sometimes it really is about the journey, not the destination.


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