I just returned from a two week road trip with my boyfriend through two countries, three states, five National Parks, over four thousand miles and almost one hundred hours in the car.. sounds exhausting doesn't it? DUH! Of course it was! But was it worth every second? Abso-freaking-lutely. My mind was meant to explore. My body was meant to be outside. My heart was meant to see the world with gratitude, awe, and love. And the past two weeks were exactly that.
I recently read a quote that does a pretty damn good job of describing what I am feeling after this adventure. "My goal is to be filthy rich. Rich in adventure, in health, in knowledge, in laughter, in family and in love." It really stuck with me. This entire business, my passion, my love.. I already am rich. And I won't stop adventuring. This trip only made that fire burn deeper.
We set out on a plane to Denver early Friday morning with anxious souls and a lot of ground to cover. Over the next two weeks we traveled through Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Canada. We were able to visit FIVE National Parks: Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, Banff National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. Pretty impressive, huh?
We camped in a tent (almost) the entire time - shoutout to our incredible air bnb host who let us use his camper on his Bozeman, MT farm for two nights. Nothing quite like having a bed after a week and a half of sleeping on the ground, amirite? Our tiny tent was just big enough for the both of us. And, thank goodness, we didn't come into contact with any bears during the night.
First stop: Grand Teton National Park. I went in not knowing too much, and boy was it fucking beautiful. The mountains are picturesque.. seriously they don't even look real. Most of our time was spent admiring them from afar.
Gorgeous right? We spent a day in Jackson Hole, WY (just outside of the park) and absolutely fell head over heels in love with the little town. We rented a UTV and drove through the trails of an Elk Refuge, the mountains painting a perfect backdrop. We tried beers and kicked off our trip with the perfect day.
Second stop: Yellowstone National Park. Of course I knew a bit more about Yellowstone because it is America's oldest park and obviously, one of the most popular. Our campsite in Yellowstone could not have been more beautiful if I had dreamed it - next to a stream and open field with passing wildlife including birds, elk, and even bison. We met a very friendly Bison, who interrupted our dinner one evening and even got comfortable enough to be found about 40 yards from our tent as we woke up one morning.
We hiked the mountains, we explored the valleys, we did touristy things and we did not so touristy things. Our time in Yellowstone was incredible. From hot springs to 10,000 foot mountain hikes, to valleys and rivers. We saw it all - the wildlife too. It is so difficult to put it all into words.
Then it was on to the next! Third stop: Glacier National Park. Now this park... totally underrated. I wish we had carved out a bit more time here. We drove the famous "Going to the Sun Road" up to the top, and hiked at Logan's Pass. There was lots of wildlife here as well, despite the amount of snow still on the ground, from sunbathing marmots to big-horned sheep to wolverines crossing our path! The views, I can't even begin to describe them, so here is a few pictures instead:
I hope these give you just a glimpse at the immense beauty. I guess thats why they call Montana Big Sky, huh?
Next stop: Canada! Banff National Park is located in the beautiful Alberta, Canada. This had been at the top of my bucket list for what felt like forever! Our day started off a bit differently than anticipated, but isn't that what road trips are all about?
A few days prior to leaving for Canada, my camera actually broke. I KNOW. A professional photographer, on the road trip of a lifetime, without a camera! Yes, of course I was upset. We stopped at a camera store in Calgary and tried to get some help. Unfortunately, they couldn't do anything for me. My memory card slot is corrupt, and it would have to be sent to Canon to be serviced. A good portion of my day was spent trying to accept this fate, rid the anxiety, and move on to enjoy the trip. I purchased a tiny point and shoot camera and figured it would be better than nothing for the remainder of the trip. I guess that was our one larger bump in the road. It pushed me to live in the moment though, take it all in, which was a huge positive.
Our day quickly turned around! We spent the afternoon and most of the night at the Calgary Stampede - a week long, giant festival including lots of fried food and even a rodeo! It is always really cool experiencing things that you may never get the chance to see again. We felt like locals walking around the city and watching the carriage races.
The rest of our time in Banff was spent hiking, enjoying lots of sunshine and taking in the incredible scenery. We visited downtown for some beers and shopping, hiked near Lake Louise, swam in a hot spring, road a chairlift up a mountain, napped in our hammocks, and even woke up to see the stars. And let me tell you, the definitely did not disappoint!! Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera to snap a picture of any of these. Banff basically felt like a dream the entire time, I swear.
Next stop: Bozeman, Montana. Ryan had been here before and told me all about it. I don't think I realized how much I would fall in love with it as well. We kept it low key, exploring downtown and the college campus, eating donuts, and trying LOTS of breweries. The sunsets in Bozeman are magical. I can't wait to go back someday!
Last stop: Denver, Colorado. Although we didn't have much time, we were able to drive through Rocky Mountain National Park. The weather was perfect and yes, more unforgettable views. I wish we had more time to hike! Colorado wouldn't be complete without Voodoo Donuts, a Rockies baseball game and exploring downtown. Our favorite thing to do is find tiny, local, hole-in-the-wall breweries and restaurants to try. Denver, you are amazing!
I still can't believe the trip ever happened. It all felt so surreal. If any of you are considering a trip like this.. DO IT! I have zero regrets and some of the most fantastic memories. Its a bittersweet feeling to be back home, but boy does a shower and a bed feel nice. Two weeks, one car, one tent, 3 states, 2 countries, 4,000+ miles and almost 100 hours in a car.. we did it. And I am even more in love than when we began, with him and with this beautiful Earth.
Please keep checking my website and Facebook feed for all of the photos to come! I cannot wait to share more with you all. And mostly I cannot wait for our next adventure!
Live creatively, friends.