This time I went by myself for part of the trip, spent some time in Cooke City, Montana, up on the Beartooth Highway and of course in Yellowstone. I'm not sure if anyone else gets a little choked up heading into Montana and Yellowstone Park, but I do. Yellowstone especially has been such a part of my life for decades that it always feels like going home. We lived so close that my parents took us there often so my memories there are decades old. I still remember campsites we stayed at, galloping on the boardwalks between geysers (pretending I was a horse of course) and reading all the signs that my Dad made us read. I wish I had been there to see Steamboat Geyser go off this year, he was just so sure it would erupt when he was there and we spent quite a bit of time in front of it watching it steam. :) That's one of the beauties of our national parks, they change so little, you can indeed "go back".
Cooke City and Silver Gate Montana are a bit short on cell towers, so it was me and the book "Wild" (Cheryl Strayed) in a peaceful cabin by a river in the pines. Family had loaned me their wonderful F350 and it was great to be driving one again since we sold ours, I do love a real truck. :)
I met some great new friends on this trip and reconnected with some old ones. Did some plein air, hung out with some wildlife, hugged my artist friends in Jackson Hole where we rendezvous once a year from all over and just soaked up the mountains. Spent an incredible evening and next morning in the presence of a huge herd of elk (complete with bugling bulls) and a lake of the beautiful Trumpeter Swans. Two of my very favorites in one place, undisturbed by virtually anyone else. It was just one of those moments you savor forever.
I came back renewed but still homesick for the west.
It's hard to love two places so much.