This summer was definitely the best summer of my life! My ache to explore and wader was beyond satisfied with all of the amazing adventures I was able to have.
I lived in an apartment in Montana on the side of a mountain located in the middle of nowhere for the whole summer. I could hear coyotes yipping like frat boys after the sun sank behind the mountains. I experienced thunderstorms with the most spectacular lightening displays that lit up the whole sky. My jaw dropped over seeing the milky-way and the most stars I've ever seen in my entire life. I got to ride horses, play with big doggos, goats, and there was even a resident hen that liked to come say hi every day.
I sat in fields of wildflowers, stood in snow at the top of the Beartooth Highway (in July!), soaked my bare feet in cool runoff streams, and saw more rainbows than I can count!
All I've wanted was a life of adventure and new experiences, and this summer was the summer I grabbed life by the reins and was able to cross some things off my bucket list!
Yellowstone National Park I've obviously been to YNP dozens of times, I mean, I used to work there for crying out loud. But I had to get in one last visit before I headed back to the East Coast! Honestly, I didn't take my camera out too many times for this visit. I wanted to be present and make sure I let my first National Park know how grateful I was for all the experiences it had given me. It was surreal driving through, knowing and accepting that I was no longer going to live 90 miles from the world's first National Park. The things I've seen an experienced in Yellowstone are once in a lifetime moments that I could have only had there, and I'll be forever grateful for that.
Beartooth Highway If you have not heard of, nor driven the Beartooth Highway, you better start planning your trip! This year, I did my trip late in the summer, so there wasn't 12ft walls of snow on either sides of the road, but HOLY HELL THE WILDFLOWERS! You could literally smell them! The Highway is just outside the NE entrance of Yellowstone and I highly recommend it! The temperature in the park was about 95 degrees that day, but at the summit of the Beartooth Highway, you're at almost 11,000ft and the temperature dropped to about 60 degrees. There was still snow you could walk around in, an abundance of wildflowers, and beautiful, blue mountain top lakes.
Beehive Basin I can't take credit for this one. Thankfully, I have some really badass clients who wanted to get married here, and it was the most incredible ceremony location ever! I was basically dying on this hike, and there's no way I would have been able to do it without my friend, Kayla who literally carried all of my gear up to the basin, but good Lord, was it all worth it! You're about 90% exposed during the whole hike, so don't go on a cloudless, 95 degree day, in the middle of the day like we did. And yes, the last half mile absolutely SUCKS, but I would do it all over again for these views!
Grand Teton National Park If you don't know how much I love this place by now, then you've been living under a rock. I've cried every single time I've been to this park. There's something about those peaks, the land, the ambiance, it feels so primitive and sacred to me. I could sit here forever. If you haven't been, I highly recommend going in the fall! Elk are in rut during this time, and it's definitely a sight to see! Sunrise and sunset are my favorite times to get into the park. By noon it can be packed, and so is the town of Jackson Hole.
Big Horn National Forest A surprise drive-through spot on my road-trip to New England, and it did not disappoint. The rock formations were incredible to see! I don't really have much to say about it, but it definitely made for a scenic part of the drive!
Mount Rushmore National Monument I love Teddy Roosevelt, so obviously I needed to stop here! Definitely over crowded, and the parking situation and gift shop are way over priced. It's kind of one of those places where you can see it once and never have to go back. I'm so glad I went, though! I know it's a piece of history that has stirred up a lot of controversy lately, but it's part of our history, and that's really intriguing to me.
Badlands National Park SO UNSUSPECTING. I hate the heat. Never been drawn to the desert, but HOT DAMN this park is INCREDIBLE. It's like walking on Mars! The layers and colors in the rocks, the different formations, the vastness of it all is truly overwhelming in the most beautiful way. I would love to go back and photograph that sky at night!
All in all, this trip changed my life. It was all the adventure I'd been craving. I learned so much about myself, and got to see some incredible sites along the way. For a really hectic year, this trip made it all worth it, and I'm so grateful I was able to end my time in Montana like this! Some of these images are available for purchase in the Print Shop!
Please share with me some of your favorite adventures, because I'm hooked and need more places to explore!