We climbed out, and when the truck door shut, I realized this was the darkest dark I had ever been in. Funny, you think you know dark. But then there is the dark that you can’t see your hand inches in front of your face. This dark is heavy and accompanied by the creepy gurgle of a nearby geyser. And this is bear country. We turned on our flashlights and pointed in the direction of the geyser.

This was a must do for my brother-in-law and myself, a night shot of White Dome Geyser. My hubby was the light man, the grandparents were back at the hotel watching our two-year-old and we were going to cross one off our Yellowstone photo wish-list.

189308_10151015500571734_563116766_nNeither one of us got shots that are going to appear in National Geographic, but we had a blast fumbling in the dark, trying our hands at nighttime photography. And we saw no bears.

But we wouldn’t have had this opportunity if it wasn’t for my mother-in-law. She wanted everyone together on the balcony of Old Faithful Inn and four years ago her dream became reality with all the children and significant others vacationing together in Yellowstone National Park.3675_10151015498401734_1701993476_n

418469_10151015498861734_183100130_nYellowstone is the most surreal place I’ve ever visited. The thermal features in the park are both breathtaking and a little unsettling as it is a reminder we all live on a very active planet and in this case are literally standing on a volcano. Crazy.

And Yellowstone is a novice photographer’s paradise.


It wasn’t our typical outdoor adventure, as we had the opportunity to stay at the Old Faithful Inn, so it was more of an outright vacation than a trip into nature. And I think that switch in the brain was key and allowed us to enjoy it more than if we were thinking of it as an immersion in the great outdoors. This place is busy. And there is an almost amusement park vibe, as people run from geyser to geyser or “attraction” to “attraction”. But then we have to thank our lucky stars that it’s not an amusement park and that instead it became our first national park. If we think it’s touristy now, just imagine what it could have been if we hadn’t protected it a century ago. I shudder at the thought.

I can’t wait to go back and explore the park beyond the geyser basins and find trails that will take us to more remote parts of the park. Our first trip just wasn’t that kind of adventure.

550644_10151015497751734_1905883567_nThe park is BIG. We saw a little of a lot of it. All the driving was a lot to ask of an almost two year old so next time we visit, I think we’ll choose a section of the park to explore instead of trying to see it all.

383571_10151015497516734_75134285_nKeeping this place as wild and accessible simultaneously is a tough job, I’m glad we had the forethought as a nation to take on this challenge. So happy 100th to Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain National Park and all the National Parks we have yet to visit.644680_10151015499016734_20930019_n644128_10151015500506734_2053148690_n