Yards from a fox, at the top of a mountain, in the bottom of a lush green valley with a river running through it – that is how I recently spent my days. If it sounds like a dream come true, that’s because it was. My husband and I were blessed with the opportunity to spend a week in Yellowstone National Park. It's a place world renowned for its beauty, unique geological makeup, and vast array of wildlife.
I believe anyone that enjoys nature owes it to himself or herself to take the trip. Illinois is a beautiful state, but for us “flatlanders” the sight of a snowy mountaintop dotted with fir trees and jagged edges is unlike anything we have ever seen. Not to mention the eruption of geysers, spitting scalding water into the clear blue sky while emitting rolls of steam into the air. My husband had never traveled out west before and the pure scope of it all took his breath away.
The close encounters with wildlife also left us in amazement. During our trip we saw thousands of bison, hundreds of mule deer and elk, black bears and their cubs, pronghorn, prairie dogs, various birds, fox, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and the list goes on. To be able to witness a herd of elk running, a bison calf frolicking around its mother, or a bear cub testing his balance on a tree branch is truly remarkable. It’s an experience that lifted my spirits and nourished my soul. It may sound a little dramatic, but I believe nature can do that for a person.
Some vacations require reservations, dress clothes, or itineraries. Those types of trips can be memorable too; however, there is something really special about venturing out into the wilderness and just seeing where the day takes you. For us it was a wooded hillside where feeding mule deer watched us curiously, the top of Mount Washburn where a fox lay sleeping, at the bottom of a cascading waterfall, and in a dense forest where the sunlight filtered through just so.
I carried that sunlight home, trying to bring with me the freeness I felt during our trip. It is so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks: our work, smart phones and computers. Sometimes we all just need to take a step back and go outside. Whether that is a trip to Yellowstone or walk through nearby timber, it’s amazing what little miracles you will see if you just stop and look.
To check out some pictures of all the scenery and critters I discovered on our trip visit my flickr account. www.flickr.com/photos/133984384@N06/