There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars. – Jack Kerouac
Since Doug and Emily moved into a van months ago, their monotonous 9-5 lives have been transformed into an exciting, never-ending adventure of exploring the places they had always dreamt of. Each new day spent traveling gives them the taste of freedom they haven’t felt since they were just kids playing in the sand. The wind constantly blows through their hair and the endless road begs to be discovered.
The first stop on their journey was the cowboy state. Jackson, a small quaint mountain town nestled in the valley of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Here, they shared some beers with an old friend at a local saloon and gathered enough firewood and grub for a weeks worth of camping in the Tetons and Yellowstone. With their rig stocked up and spirits high, they set off to Shadow Mountain, a dispersed cang paradise that overlooked the entire Grand Teton valley and mountain range.
After driving thirty minutes up steep, rocky switchbacks, they pulled up to a little slice of heaven on top of Shadow Mountain unscathed. Opening the van doors, they greeted their new backyard for the evening — a 360-panoramic view of the Grand Teton valley and mountain range. Without hesitation, they cracked open beers, enkindled their firewood and began cooking over the cast iron as the sun fell over the Grand Teton mountain range. Only the sounds of crackling fire wood and their soft voices could be heard through the thin evening air. Again, they are constantly reminded how bittersweet this life can be.
The Pioneer is an updated take on the 1865 original Boss of the Plains, designed by John B. Stetson—one of Stetson’s most legendary, original styles
The next stop was Yellowstone. Spanning over two million acres, Yellowstone offers some of the most diverse landscapes and ecosystems in the world. From its expansive sylvan valleys home to several wolf packs to its volcanic geysers erupting water vapor into the atmosphere, this park is a feast for the senses. The mission for the next few days was to explore as much of the park as possible.
On the first day in the park with only a couple hours of daylight to spare, they got their first glimpse of wildlife off the main road. Now, this wasn’t the average bison or elk grazing. They got to witness a grizzly bear sitting proud on top of a dismantled elk carcass. Whenever an animal carcass is located in the park, there are park rangers watching over the scene at all times for good safety measures. Grizzlys can become extremely territorial over carcasses. According to the park ranger, this specific grizzly had claimed rights to the elk carcass a day ago after chasing off a pack of wolves.
Picking the brains of park rangers is a fantastic way to learn about wildlife behavior and the best places in the park to view them. While talking with the park ranger for five minutes, they learned that one of the best spots in the lower 48 states to view grizzly bears was at Yellowstone’s own, Pelican Valley. Instantly, they were hooked. They set forth at dawn on the Pelican Creek Trail to hopefully see multiple bears.
Our last morning in Yellowstone was spent watching a wolf pack roam the furthest reaches of Lamar Valley. Crowds of visitors and ‘wolf watchers’ hugged the side of the road to catch a glimpse of a wolf pack. The only way to see the wolves was to look through a decent pair of binoculars because they were about 800m away. Peering through binoculars, we watched grey and black wolves scour the valley like mischievous villains.
“We love you Wyoming.”
With snow on the horizon, they did what they knew best — hit the road. Doug turned the key to start the engine and they left Yellowstone in the dust. As they rumbled their way to the Utah desert, the wind blew through their hair with not a worry in the world.