Not what I saw this morning, but here's Chief Joseph Pass, east of Yellowstone, on a clear morning a little over a week ago.
Yellowstone is often a frantic, hot, exhausting place in the summer. Crowds of people--visitation is up 6.8% this year so far and almost a million people stopped by in July alone--make this a challenging place, what with their vacation mentality (traffic laws? who needs 'em?). I love tourists. I love that they are in awe of a magical place. I love that they feel the need to stop and take a picture of every single elk and deer they see; they've given full permission to their childlike sense of wonder for everything they see, and in today's world of jaded, hurried drones, that's a valuable thing. However, for those of us to live and work here, summers can be intensely...annoying.
This morning, though, I stepped off the bus and walked a few paces to where I had a view of the Absaroka Mountains just outside the park's boundaries. I paused in the middle of the parking lot, took a few breaths, and just let the quiet of the morning, the cool-but-warm air, and the hazy early-sun lit mountains do their thing for a few seconds. It reminded me of why I love it here. Why I'm lucky to work here, and why I love those tourists even in their infuriating ways. As long as I can retain some of my own wonder and awe for this place, I know I'm good.