• Bella Brown

They Come in 3's

3 states, 3 National Parks, and just under 3 weeks to go. They say that bad things come in threes but we have yet to endure a bad day yet since boarding the ferry to Whidbey Island. After the mighty blue bus braved the choppy seas of the Washington west, she landed safely in the driveway of my Godfather’s remote and beautiful home. Here we spent two days exploring Whidbey (or re-exploring in my case), catching up with family, and eating the best food the island had to offer us. From the fresh cut flowers at our bedside to the charcuterie spread welcoming us home, my Godfather is never one to put a stop down where one is to be pulled out. We rested, laughed, and before we knew it we were back on the bus ready for our next adventure.

Our next stop was Glacier National Park in Northern Montana. We took two days to travel there stopping and camping in two gorgeous sites along the way, and one very popular Walmart parking lot in Kalispell where an old friend picked us up and took us to a real life spur spinnin saloon for a cheap brew and a quick bite. And from there we put on some jackets and found ourselves in Glacier National Park. This GORGEOUS stretch of mountain, lake, and forest views carved from water and ice proved to be a challenge to cross for both the early explorers and the 24 foot long blue bus on that frightfully cold Monday. Because our bus was restricted from driving on Into the Sun Road -the name should give away a lot here- we were forced to rely on the shuttle system that most National Parks have developed. But amongst the swarms of tourists making the lines too long, the disastrously cold sheets of rain, and our unfortunate lack of warm and water proof clothing; we only made it to the very top of the mountain before needing to venture back down to safety and warmth. It was not a day wasted, however, because even through the giant cloud that shrouded our view 80% of the time, we still stood witness to dramatic and gorgeous views from the mountain top and got to enjoy the best Glacier has in terms of indoor amenities.

From Glacier National Park we worked our way down through the vast and quite empty state of Montana to the even vaster and even more empty state of Wyoming to the west entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Now, I am sure I do not have to explain to you the sheer splendor of our great Nations first National Park because most already know what we are dealing with here. Bison, hot springs, valleys, peaks, waterfalls, mudpots, bears, lakes, forests, geysers, people, people, and more people. Yellowstone has it all. We explored the park for two whole days and left feeling like we barely broke the surface of what this huge park has to offer. But our itinerary pushed on to Yellowstone’s closest neighbor to the south, Grand Teton National Park.

Compared to Yellowstone, the number of Disneyworld like attractions was drastically decreased but when I tell you that my boyfriend and I had dry mouths and bloody chins from our jaws constantly dropping at every delicious site this park had to offer it would not be an exaggeration in the least. Perhaps the most dramatic set of mountains we had ever seen, the Tetons were in constant view throughout our time in the park and like the most stoic and dazzling tour guides they constantly located us and guided us along the park’s main drive south towards Jackson Hole. After hiking to Taggart and Bradley Lake, we did not want to leave. Yellowstone is a must see, yes, but if you ever make it all the way out here do yourself the biggest favor and take a few hours to see Grand Teton, money back guarantee from myself personally if you don’t love every minute of it. After tearing ourselves away from Grand Teton we stopped by Jackson Hole, got ourselves a famous bite to eat at Pinky G’s Pizzeria and explored this tiny, tourist fueled town where even fanciest hiker may feel a little out of place after tumbling out the great wilderness surrounding this booming bourgeoise attraction. We still had fun camping the bus on the street like gypsies and made sure to scoot out fast before calling too much attention to ourselves. With a quick revision to our schedule, fitting in two more National Parks and one surprise trip to the Wyoming State Fair, we are nearing closer and closer to the end of our grand journey. But that certainly will not stop our curious spirit and adventurous excitement as we voyage on.

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