We have retuned from this place.
Our nation’s oldest and best national park is glorious and beautiful (see what I did there?). It also did not get the memo that it was mid-June and our family vacation this week. The Yellowstone high country put the ix-nay on any temperate weather and instead delivered snow, hail, rain, and freezing temps every day of our camping trip.
We inadvertently went winter camping in the summertime with two special-needs boys whose rigidity with routines (a hallmark of autism) rules us.
So it was a trip, not a vacation.
I do not mean to sound boorish and ungrateful. Yellowstone is resplendent in any weather. Truly.
The view of the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone from Artist’s Point is breathtaking.
The woods and valleys, the lakes and mountains—their beauty does not suffer in inclement weather. I found them especially beautiful in a brooding, melancholy way when they were shrouded in clouds and mists of rain.
But keeping Jack warm in this environment was an exercise in frustration. He Who Will Not Wear Socks or Coats spent most of the time shivering. We had to take him into the car or the trailer for warming sessions periodically. The rest of the time, I tried putting socks and (non-sandal-y) shoes and a warm jacket on my boy, who kept removing them and throwing them at me.
Yellowstone and Jacky: two forces who cannot be moved.
We hiked to our perennial favorite place, Mystic Falls, in a biting wind and intermittent snowfall.
We walked to Storm Point on Lake Yellowstone in the stiffest of wind gusts that ever blasted right through me.
It was picturesque and memorable. Also, really really cold.
Because our camping trip (which was really not a glamping trip) was like a visit to the tundra, I learned one of Yellowstone’s secrets:
When it snows there and the lodgepole pines are dusted with sparkly white powder, and the sun breaks through the clouds and illuminates the woods, it is the scene of a fairy tale.
Hansel and Gretel would be right at home in this magical wintry place where forests are iridescent with snowfall, and so much of the landscape is untouched and pristine.
I’m glad we helped Jack experience it, even if his hands and feet required frequent thawing.
Even in the biting cold, there is a largesse of beauty.