This week I spent back home in Montana, visiting my relatives before heading to my nephew’s wedding and then home again to Portland. My husband, Randy, and I eagerly took the time out of our schedule to visit Yellowstone park.
The day was perfect. Blue skies greeted us and remained with us on our journey. The weather was warm at 70 degrees at the high point of the day.
Our first stop was Yellowstone and Old Faithful. It is a requirement that one must see this geyser blow its top, and then subside into an uneasy peace.
Then we sped off to the Yellowstone Grand Canyon to see amazing waterfalls. The water was high from the snow melt, so the waterfalls were especially spectacular.
What were the tempests? Not the weather. Not the buffalo that jogged down the road, stopping traffic. Nor the several stops as the buffalo roamed close up and personal.
It wasn’t the many stops as everyone eagerly took pictures of the bear lumbering across the freeway. It wasn’t the insane woman who actually got out of her car to take a picture of said bear.
It was a little thing. As we left the upper falls, we decided to head to Tower Falls in Roosevelt. Several times my husband commented about how he hoped we were going the right way or that he guessed we were going the right way. I was so engrossed in taking photos – trying to capture the day, that I ignored these comments.
I failed to understand that these were gentle requests for me to dig out the map and confirm we were going the right direction. All he had to do was say, “Deb, do you mind looking at the map and checking to see if I am on the right road?”
Simple, right? Now, we’ve been married for nearly 40 years. I know my husband, and normally I would have picked up the clues and dutifully obeyed. As we passed Soda Butte, I could see his frustration that was simmering beneath the surface. (Much like the hot gasses and steam that bubbled below the surface before the Geyser erupted).
I grabbed the map – and those who know me well – are probably laughing. Deb? With a map? Deb, navigating? I grant you that I am not the best at reading maps, but I was able to determine that we had gone an hour in the wrong direction. I was not upset. After all, we are on vacation and there was no compelling reason to get back to the hotel before dark. But I knew he was not happy, when I told him that we needed to backtrack.
We traveled on in silence – which is not that unusual for us – but this was a bit strained. Soon we reached Roosevelt and had the opportunity to get great photos of several elk bedding down on the lawn of what appeared to be an apartment complex of some sort. Randy was able to get a shot of a mother feeding her baby elk. Pretty amazing and it did wonders for Randy’s mood.
Finally we reached Bozeman to a spectacular sunset. When you see a sunset in Montana, you understand why it is called Big Sky Country. It truly is, and I have missed it greatly. I grew up in this land and a piece of my heart is here to.
Though the tempest was small – it reminded me that it could have been worse. But I married a very patient man who loves me tremendously. Good thing – I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather be with.
I’d love to hear of your travel tales and experiences.