A year ago this week Dan and I had the opportunity in between selling our house and moving to London to take a little road trip through Montana and Wyoming’s Big Sky country, so in celebration of the absolutely incredible scenery we drove through I put together this photo diary.
Okay. Who am I kidding? It’s just taken me this long to finally organize all of the pictures we took!
After flying into Salt Lake City and enjoying one of the best meals of our life at The Rest, a gem of a restaurant hidden behind the facade of a Mexican bodega with some of the BEST craft cocktails and mouth-watering pork belly apple cider potato hash (thanks Sunset magazine for that recommendation!), we set out on a 1,500 mile road trip through America the Beautiful’s purple mountain majesties and amber waves of grain, visiting three national parks along the way.
In Wyoming, we enjoyed delicious elk tenderloin in Jackson Hole, beheld the majesty of the purple snow-covered Teton Range mountains, hiked peacefully along Jenny Lake, and spotted numerous wildlife on a rafting trip with Teton Scenic Floats down the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park. A 4am wake up call in a shivering attempt to beat the wind before it kicked up for the day and capture the much sought after Grand Teton Jackson Lake reflection picture yielded us nothing more than chattering teeth; however, our efforts were rewarded only a few hours later on our drive north with an up-close sighting of a grizzly bear foraging just feet away from the highway. I know they told us to keep our distance from them, but I couldn’t resist rolling down the window and snapping a quick photo, making sure of course that Dan kept his foot heavy over the gas pedal just in case we had to make a hasty exit in pursuit of our lives!
Yellowstone National Park is a truly amazing place. So much wildlife and geothermal phenomenon to gaze in wonderment at and our Circle of Fire tour with Jammer Sherri on the old double clutch bus was a real treat. Watching Old Faithful erupt right on schedule was a predictably good time and being stuck on the road for over thirty minutes by a slow-moving herd of grazing bison shepherding their newly born offspring was anything but an annoyance. Okay. Maybe after an hour or two way past lunch time they begin to look a little less fascinating and you start muttering h-angry curses under your breath.
In Montana, we witnessed the remarkable landscape of the Gallatin National Forest on the way to Bozeman, a delightfully vibrant community of laid-back outdoor enthusiasts. A stay at the historic Many Glacier Hotel staring infinitely up at the star-filled sky and a scenic ride in the classic open-topped red jammers around Lake McDonald and the partially opened Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park was a highlight, not to mention the most amazing huckleberry pie at Luna’s and the honeymoon suite at the Belton Chalet with its in-room clawfoot bathtub. Montana must know that pie and old-fashioned clawfoot bathtubs are the way to this girl’s heart!
A day spent in the vast Big Sky country makes you feel like a kid again, gazing out wide-eyed in awe at the world at your fingertips; inquisitive, intrepid, hopeful, as if you are on the edge of some great discovery. The immense sky feels limitless, the last frontier yours for the taking. A reminder of those unencumbered endless summer days spent outside, when your backyard was your own wild west to explore and you were fearless.
The wild, rugged beauty of America’s last frontier had such a profound long-lasting effect on us that Dan and I have spent the last year talking incessantly about buying a piece of property in the area to spend the summers in our golden years. I hope you find the abundant, unbridled expanse of Big Sky country just as breathtaking as we did!