As I write this post, I’m uploading approximately 800 photos from our month away. Don’t worry, I won’t put you through the pain of looking at all of those photos, (only my mom gets the unabridged version) but I just can’t resist giving you some highlights. It makes me nostalgic for the west as I watch photo upon photo on the screen. I still can’t believe we had the opportunity to go away for over three weeks, but the pictures are a great reminder that yes, it really did happen.
If you’ve never been out west, you must. I know this is unsolicited advice, but Wyoming and Montana were two of the most amazing places I’ve ever been. (I find that every time I describe these two states, I come back to the adjective, “amazing.” I need to come up with a better descriptor, but that’s all I’ve got for now.)
Why do I want to pack my bags and move out west? Well, I’m glad you asked…
Meeting your gluten-free needs, and beyond: Jackson Hole, Wyoming was one of the most gluten-friendly places I’ve ever been. Every restaurant accommodated my dietary needs, and most already had something on their menu distinguishing the dishes that could be made GF. Wow! Eating out in Jackson was genuinely a treat, each time. Muffins, brownies, fresh baked bread…oh, and it was all delicious too.
Sweet quinoa, coffee and a good book: What more could one want for breakfast?
Gluten-free samosa? Yes, please.
National Parks: Yes, I know this one seems obvious, but no matter how many times I hiked (and David can attest, we hiked a lot), I was still in awe of the scenery, the landscapes, the terrain, the views. So much beautiful land to take in. We were in Wyoming and Montana almost three weeks, and I still don’t feel like I saw it all.
Northwest Entrance to Yellowstone
Jenny Lake: Tetons
Boiling River in Yellowstone: Yes, we got in the water and enjoyed an early morning dip.
Summits & Altitude: While my lungs were a little confused (and angry) at first, my eyes and legs could not get enough of the many uphill hikes. Pushing yourself to the top of a peak is so rewarding (even if you almost get hit by lightening as a result). Who knew a view could be worth hours of sweat and climbing. Of course, once you reach the top, then “it’s all down hill” and the hard work is done. Snow makes the descent a little tricky.
Sacagewea Peak in the Bridger Mtns
Big Game: Since David did the bulk of the driving, he put me in charge of “finding big game.” I’ve got to admit, I was terrible at finding animals lurking in the woods, but when the buffalo are right next to your rental car, it’s hard to miss them. Fortunately, there were no bear sightings for this girl out west. We did see a Mama moose and her baby, which was a little frightening.
Another buffalo, crossing the road
Water: I don’t typically think of water when I envision the west, but we saw some gorgeous rivers and alpine lakes. Very different from the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic, but I’ll take a float down the Yellowstone River any day.
Lava Lake in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness
Forest Service Cabins: A hidden gem, you can rent these cabins for a night (for about $30) and let me tell you, it’s glamorous camping. Both of our cabins had wood stoves, which we used to prepare feasts each night for dinner. Any camping that involves shelter, steak and wine, is good for me. I still managed to get spooked out but no bears bothered us.
Our cabin in Dillon, MT (not to be confused with the Dillon, TX in Friday Night Lights)
David getting the wood stove started
Yummy dinner courtesy of the wood stove.
Rain or Shine: While we were in Montana, we saw nearly every kind of weather possible. Hail, thunderstorms, ominous clouds, and even snow. Sure, I would have loved sunny skies every day, but the summer months are short and folks out west take advantage of each day that’s not below freezing. The weather didn’t stop us, or anyone we were with, from fly fishing, hiking, camping, rain or shine.
Is that a storm behind us? In retrospect, yes.
Snow in Big Sky: I was in the house reading; everyone else was fly fishing.
I’m glad to be back home, but I miss the days out west of hiking, relaxing, and being with friends. I still have more to share with you though. ‘Western tour nostalgia’ will continue in the weeks ahead. Humor me.