Well the summer of 2013 is coming to an end, and this year it brings a heavy amount of exploration and adventure. One such journey led me to Montana to spend time with my family. There was a good point in my life where my apartment windows held the eastern face of the rocky mountains in them. This time started a fire in me; one that calls me to the mountains and everything in between. I got a reminder of this once again when I left the Denver airport headed north towards Bozeman, Montana.Â
Montana exceeded my expectations, which is a pretty big obstacle since I went into this trip with high hopes. Base camp was nestled in a rustic cabin at the bottom of Emigrant Mountain. A few miles from any signs of pavement, the only neighbors we encountered were the vast amount of deer and cattle. Warnings of bear country and the sounds of coyotes kept things interesting during the stay, but besides one encounter with a lone coyote wildlife remained docile.
We spent a few days of our time within the world renowned Yellowstone National Park. The northern entrance was only 33 miles away, so we made a couple treks down into the park to see the incredible monuments that dot the land.
Since I began calling the northwest home I have become very used to seeing the occasional waterfall, but I would have to say Yellowstone does hold an large list of waterfalls of different shapes and sizes.
Other points of interest in the park included thermal pools, geysers, and scorching hot springs. The smell was one to get used to due to the sulfur and other gases, but the varying colors and the energetic motions of the water and landscape was one to witness. The land was active constantly, changing the landscape with every second of action.
We found our way down to the most visited attraction in the park, Old Faithful, where it's geyser consistently bursts every 45 minutes. The idea was interesting and for a few minutes you stand in awe; but due to the amount of tourist and development it was hard to enjoy the natural wonder that creates this constant reaction.
Stories about the wildlife in and out of the park in this area can be overwhelming, but the stories do hold up to be true. Bison scattered the land from meadows, to lakes, to mountain sides. The numbers were difficult to keep track of, but their slow moving, easy going demeanor made photographing and filming them less of a challenge and more enjoyable to be around.
On the first day in Montana we all compared notes and discussed what we were hoping to encounter along the way and Yellowstone did not disappoint. Bears were at the top of the list for almost all of us, and towards the end of the first day our wishes came true. A mother and two cubs, one black and one brown, were grazing on the side of the road as people stood watching.
Soon the interest of these three was gone and off they went deeper into the back country. Montana holds a lot of unique places and testaments to nature, but one of the elements I admired enormously is the lack of light pollution in the night sky. As long as the rain was not crossing the valley floor my camera remained mounted on a tripod just outside the front door of the cabin.
Montana was one of the few places I haven't been through before, and was one of the very few places that has remained on my list as places to see. After what we have encountered I know it is on a list of places I will see again. The best part was being able to share it with some of the people I care very much about. We all left smiling, but craving more time in the rugged mountains and vast plains of southern Montana and Yellowstone Park.