Yellowstone - Wapiti Trail to Grand Canyon & Avalanche Peak

We spent three days in and around Yellowstone National Park. Joanna saw her first fox (how she grew up in a rural area without seeing one is a mystery to me), and made a great spot of a few river otters at play too, prompting a line of cars to stop and watch. On her birthday, we watched Old Faithful erupt twice: once from the balcony of the Old Faithful Inn, and another time from the geothermal boardwalk.

We also did two moderate hikes, with great views of the Yellowstone Grand Canyon and Yellowstone Lake from Avalanche Peak.

Wyoming - Beartooth Highway

On the tail of a relatively fruitless wildlife safari through Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley (still some incredible scenery, though), we headed north to drive what some have called the “most scenic drive in America”. After seeing it for myself, I am inclined to agree! Our drive was made even more special by the fact that we hit it at sunset, and since we were gaining so much elevation on the first half of the drive, the sun was perpetually on the horizon for about 45 minutes before it finally dipped behind the mountains. And then a pack of coyotes started howling in the distance.

What a beautiful place.

Montana - Spanish Creek towards Jerome Rock Lakes

A twelve-hour drive got us to Bozeman, MT. We visited my uncle. He took us on a short but enjoyable hike in the Gallatin Valley. We hiked through some beautiful meadows, and stopped at a small waterfall.

I’ve been visiting Bozeman since I was a kid, but it was during this visit that I concluded that the color of the sky in Montana seems to be a deeper blue than anywhere else I’ve been in the lower 48 states.