We haven’t really had any proper summer vacation this year. Generally, we end up spending our vacation days going to Europe, either in the summer or around the Christmas holidays, but not this year. Which meant we could do something else. We decided to take a short break together, Paulus and I – a last trip as a family of two. I’ve heard this type of trip lovingly referred to as a baby moon, and it felt like a suitable name. Sort of like a honey moon, in that we would be celebrating our family of two and having some romantic time together, but also with the sweet knowledge (and the bump to prove it) that we’re about to embark on a new chapter of our lives.
We picked Yellowstone National Park as our destination. I had never been before, and although Paulus had, this was for just a couple of days many years ago. So early in the morning, we boarded a flight to Bozeman, Montana, and began our baby moon. The first afternoon was spend exploring Bozeman and surroundings. We also hung out at a coffee shop for a while, as I was trying to send off an application that was due a few days later when we didn’t know if we’d be in wifi-land.
We spent the first two nights in this amazing AirBnB cabin in Pray, Montana, about a 25 minute drive from Yellowstone. We arrived just around dusk, and had our breaths taken away. The cabin was situated on farm land, surrounded by mountains and so much space and air. It was one of those places where, as soon as you step foot in them, you feel refreshed, relaxed and rejuvenated. Honestly, within the first hour of arriving, we found ourselves discussing how much it would cost to buy property in Montana, and whether it would be feasible to relocate there any time soon. That’s how wonderful it was.
Besides the breathtaking surroundings, the cabin itself was great: furnished with cool, quirky furniture, equipped with an upstairs bedroom that you accessed by ladder, a small kitchen and a barbecue and a fire-pit by the back porch.
The next morning (after a minor dress disaster involving me having forgotten during packing that I was pregnant and thus having neglected to recon with the fact that I could no longer button my hiking pants over the belly, which I resolved by resorting to low-rise (and yes, occasionally unbuttoned) jeans instead), we treated ourselves to a homemade breakfast from the little kitchen before setting out for Yellowstone again.
We began our sightseeing day at the Lower Terraces. Yellowstone is basically one huge, geothermal area, and it never ceases to amaze me both how fascinating we humans find it when heat and water just kind sprouts from the earth, and how strangely beautiful the natural phenomena caused by this are.
We also spotted some wildlife (although it wasn’t so much the wildlife that we initially spotted so much as the 50 cars on the road in front of us suddenly stopping which alerted us to wildlife on or next to the road! It was Labor Day Weekend – enough said…). Pictured first is the common homo sapiens female, here a pregnant specimen, with the rare misfit of unbuttoned pants and an un-zippable jacket. A strange conundrum of evolution how that species has survived this long..
There were also bison, though..
And so much beautiful scenery.
Late afternoon we retuned to our snug, little cabin home. After sunset drinks, Paulus made us another excellent barbecue dinner. We followed this by a romantic hour on the porch, and then a long, peaceful sleep in the little cabin loft.
The next day, we woke up to the most glorious sunrise. When we set out again, our first stop was the Boiling River.
Boiling River is a spot where the Gardiner River meets with water from some of the hot springs, and it creates an area that is like natural spa where you alternately get shocked by cold river water, heated by the hot stream from the spring, and comforted by the perfect blend of both. This was one of my favorite places in the whole park, and we spent a good few hours here.
After that it was time for lunch. With a view!
We spent the afternoon exploring the area around Old Faithful. We saw waterfalls, mineral formations, small geysers, bubbling mud, steaming lakes, and such amazing, vivid colors created by minerals and bacteria. We ended our day by watching an eruption of Old Faithful Geyser itself.
For the final two days of our trip, we switched from our cabin home to glamping. Again, the surroundings were gorgeous and peaceful, and we even had a little woodfire oven to keep us warm during the freezing Montana nights. And there’s truly something about showering in a canvas bathroom.
This day, we took the long drive all the way through Yellowstone down to Grand Teton National Park. Unlike Yellowstone, this park is all about the mountains and the lakes. With good reason.
But there is also some interesting history there, including The Mormon Row, which is the remnants of homesteads established by Mormon settlers in the 1890s. What a breathtaking view they had – including from their outhouse!
On the trip’s final day, we managed to see the last bits of Yellowstone that were on our wishlist before we headed to the airport. West Yellowstone Airport is conveniently located about 15 minutes from the park, and it’s also very, very small. So small in fact that there was only restaurant, which was inexplicably closed on the day we were there. Luckily, we still had a bunch of edibles left over from all of our little lunches the previous days. So we made a final picnic on the airport chairs until it was time to board, and returned home happy and experience satiated from a wonderful baby moon.