On March 23rd, I decided to take a trip into Yellowstone National Park, a short drive from my current location. I had a feeling it may be my last trip into the park for awhile and I was right. The following is a story I wrote for a new podcast I am a part of, which is shared below. Whether you read it all or listen to the audio, I thank you for your time and for listening to my thoughts. You can subscribe to the A Life Outside Podcast here.
We all have scars. Some visible, some hidden, some physical and some emotional, but everyone has at least one. At least, those who have lived, loved, lost, and limped. Some scars eventually fade and are all but forgotten without the perfect light. While we typically hide our scars as best we can, scars are identifying markers, telling stories with their forever changed skin. During the winter of 2019-2020 in Yellowstone National Park, one scar bridged nearly two years of memories between a human and a bison.
Most mornings I wake up. This is not out of the ordinary. I have done it for the overwhelmingly majority of my time alive. Out of the 14,000+ days of my life, the one at the start of each week has notoriously been the hardest. Garfield famously moans, from his bed that is shaped like a miniature covered-wagon, “Mondays.”
While we may never know why an animated cat dislikes the day, I dislike Monday mornings because they feel the farthest from adventure and nature. To solve this feeling of emptiness, I started setting goals for myself most Monday mornings. This past week, my goal was to catch every sunset.
Each year, when daylight hours start to dwindle and the temperature hovers around freezing, an excitement builds around the Pacific Northwest. As news reports whip us into a frenzy over incoming winter weather conditions, the freezing level starts falling toward sea-level, raising our expectations for a chance to experience a winter wonderland. When it snows in the Pacific Northwest, our normal world, full of endless green, transforms, wrapping itself in a silent blanket of white. The first winter snowfall on our favorite trails leads us into an unexpected wonderland, inspiring snowy adventures in what no feels like a foreign landscape.
There are moments you will always remember in life. For some, it is their first kiss. For others, it may be their wedding day, the birth of a child, college graduation, the first time they voted for President, or even buying avocado toast instead of a house. For me, the moments that stick with me are those rare and unique days on Public Lands, where I witness something I never imagined I would see. One such moment came in October of 2019 on a quick trip to Grand Teton National Park.
Seeing Old Faithful erupt in Yellowstone National Park is one of the quintessential moments in America’s National Parks. For generations, experiencing this iconic event has dazzled the crowds who visit all year long. While each eruption is special and unique, there are a few things that happen nearly every time Old Faithful goes off. In this post, we look at a dozen things you will hear while at Old Faithful if you watch it erupt from the boardwalk.
Olympia doesn’t have a great reputation around the state. From Spokane to Bellingham, and Vancouver to Ocean Shores, the capitol of Washington State is known mostly for politics and a somewhat drab downtown scene. Outsiders might quickly stop by on trips to more exotic locations, but for most, Olympia is skipped over. Even some locals avoid downtown Olympia, but those who decide to pass over this small town at the southern end of the Puget Sound are missing a spectacular annual event. At the end of August and first few weeks of September, the waters around Olympia become full of salmon, migrating home to spawn and die. While this event happens in most cities around the state, Olympia is one of the few that offers a stunning viewing area where you can watch salmon, seals and the tides, all from an overlook above the water.
Over the warmer months this year, I completed some incredibly fun projects on trails in mountains I love dearly. I climbed Mt. St. Helens, ran up to Camp Muir, raced the Broken Arrow Skyrace at Lake Tahoe and completed a double peak project running up Mt. Rose and Mt. Ellinor in one run. I’m a mountain runner.
Running, especially on trails and up mountains, is what gives me life. This activity, this hobby, this passion, inspires me to be the best human I can be. In recent years, this life has given me a health body and a strong mind. Discovering running a few years ago has completely changed my life, all for the better.
I was stuck in a rut. Pun intended. I had been running on city streets for too long and my body was craving new terrain. The constant pounding of pavement had me longing for a long, singletrack trail which would allow me to bask in wilderness for miles at a time. I needed a trail on public lands, and Yellowstone National Park had just the trail for me. Little did I know that my eight mile run would turn into one of the most special moments of my life.
The word alone conjures up images and memories for those who enjoy America’s Public Lands. The park is world famous, a destination for roughly four million people a year, with the majority arriving over just a three month time period. Popular, scenic and enjoyable for all ages, Yellowstone is a destination for a myriad of reasons, but young and old all seem to fall in love with the two million acres wilderness wonderland.