Vacation Photographs

Every year we go to Yellowstone. And every year, I post a bunch of stuff about how we went to Yellowstone. I’m sort of like Old Faithful.

The only years I remember NOT going to Yellowstone were a) when I was nine and my dad was newly diagnosed with myesthenia and was suffering greatly from the effects of the disease, and b) for several years when Jack was young and impossible to take anywhere because screaming.

Anyway, we went on our annual pilgrimage this month and I was reminded why we keep doing this.

Wilderness unsullied by credit unions and Little Caesars at every turn is precious and restorative. Vacations with family create memories that cut through the daily repetition. And kid-friendly traditions in stunning locales are worth trudging to the bathroom through the rain, at night, in a separate building from your rough rider cabin. They really are.

And so, let us commence with the photographs.


A mama deer and her adorably spotted fawn meandered through the cabins at Roosevelt.  This stream was a kid-magnet. And also a mosquito-magnet. But lovely just the same. Lost Creek, behind our cabin, and the surrounding forest look exactly as I picture the woodsy location in a storybook fairytale. Take a gander:

We saw several black bears doing adorable things like climbing trees and walking on fallen logs. We saw wildflowers. We hiked. And we saw views like this at Trout Lake.


I mean, come on. I think this is what they mean by “glorious and beautiful,” *wink*

We take hiking very seriously.


Rainy days in the wilderness are peaceful and enchanting.


But so are sunny days with endless sky.


We looked for animals in the Lamar Valley, instead of at our old viewing/stomping ground, affectionately called Bears in an Hour.


Yellowstone abounds with vistas.

Exhibit A: Clear Lake, on the Wapiti Lake trail.


Exhibits B, C, D, and E, etc.:


Soda Butte Creek, looking toward the Lamar Valley.


The hike to Storm Point, at the brink of Lake Yellowstone.




Grand Prismatic Spring, the most photographed geyser in the park.


And this thing, obvs.


My mom had a total knee replacement less than three months before this trip, so three cheers for Grandma Shirley.


Lake Yellowstone is a wonder. Massive. Ringed with thermal cones and hot pots. Gorgeous.


One kid had to be talked into posing for this pic and one was happy to oblige. Oddly, they chose the right face holes which seem to match their attitudes about this scenario.


Cousins are the absolute best.

Mystic Falls gets more and more crowded every year, but it’s still a favorite. IMG_0711

I remember hiking this in 1989, the year after the Yellowstone fires burned through this entire area. Everything was blackened and ashy. It was lifeless and depressing. But almost 30 years hence, it’s teeming with life and green and beauty. There’s a metaphor here, and it’s obvious enough that I can’t really make myself spell it out. Okay, I will. Whatever. Life evolves. Life regrows after tragedy. It isn’t the same afterward, but the transformation is a wonder. Children, also, make a person realize the passage of time. I posed before this waterfall when I was Charlie’s age. Now my children are posing here in their dusty sneakers and sweaty hiking-hair. And it all goes fast.


Just Storm Point, no big deal.


A tree stump turned tiny, verdant island sprouting seedlings. Magical. Like our time in the park. Maybe heaven looks a little like this place. I like to think it does.


Except in heaven, no mosquitos, or tour buses. And Jack will be hiking right there with us.

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