Idaho Falls to Butte
July 27, 2016
Miles Driven: 374
Parks Visited: 1
My word for the day is ‘detour’. I suppose it was inevitable. I had planned to drive near to Yellowstone twice over these two days, just to get close. After all, I knew that I didn’t have any amount of time to do the park justice. Yet, as I arrived in Yellowstone West, the car just drove itself right into the park. It helped that I had purchased an annual National Park pass from a very nice ranger at Craters of the Moon, who convinced me that it was well worth it given the number of parks I was visiting. Really, rangers are the best! I think it started earlier in the day though – that thinking about what I might be able to see on a quick trip through the park – just like in my board game, Roadtrip! It was those darn Tetons! I saw them the moment I left Idaho Falls. At that moment I knew I was a goner. No matter my mental gymnastics, I could not really figure a way to make the full trip through Grand Teton and Yellowstone work. But then again, I’ll definitely be back. And when I am, it’ll be to see both parks fully.
“For the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” That is what the arch reads in Gardiner outside the northwest entrance of Yellowstone. I remember so vividly watching the Ken Burns documentary, National Parks: America’s Best Idea. By the way, if you haven’t seen that series, borrow it, stream it, buy it…. But whatever you do, watch it. Though I can quote much of it by heart now, what first struck me was the segment on the dedication of the Yellowstone Arch by Teddy Roosevelt. The commentator pointed out that the phrase wasn’t just for the benefit of some people (however you define self vs. other), rather the parks are for everyone. And that idea was fundamental to parks and fundamental to America.
Ok, enough of the reflective, philosophical stuff. Like most people, I wax poetic when I see truly awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, soul-moving scenery. I could go on, but I think I’ll end this installment by saying that today I stood in the middle one of earth’s most volatile hotspots – a magnet for apocalyptic conspiracies and mega-disasters. The earth bubbled and boiled all around me. And I survived. Well, I suppose there is always tomorrow…
Until tomorrow… from Big Hole NB (I promise) and Little Bighorn NM….
Roadtrip! Daily Game
Board Location: Montana
Happiness: Irksome (3)
Energy: Tired (2)
Whiskers had a fur ball today, likely due to the winding roads leading into Big Hole National Battlefield. So, we had to slow down. It mattered not, though since we had such a nice visit with plenty of time to spare. Camping under the stars, I had anticipated, would lift everyone's spirits. I was wrong. No one was comfortable and everyone snipped at each other all night.