our second journey, part twenty…west yellowstone, mt to island park, id…

the snow fell steadily through yellowstone national park and up until west yellowstone, where we stopped to get gas and i got myself some coffee. the gas station had a help wanted sign and i thought seriously about applying and just staying. it was so beautiful and everyone was really nice.

we left there and pulled up and parked at a gravel lot. i took buggs out for a walk and to go potty. there were all kinds of interesting things that people must have just thrown from their windows, as they drove by. buggs was patient with me as i collected stones like a penguin…to give to j**s later.

we got back into the car and drove on. i noticed that the landscape was changing rapidly. the scenery was breathtaking. i wasn’t sure exactly where we were until we saw this tiny cemetery. it said, “island park cemetery.” i looked it up online and discovered that we were in idaho.

i photographed the cemetery from the outside and then drove inside. it was mysterious and foggy out. the glorious colors of autumn were everywhere. it was still and silent out. you could have heard a pin drop. all of the sudden, i looked up and there was a white horse.

the great, white horse seemed to just appear…it didn’t come from anywhere that i saw. he was magical and mystical and amazing. he pranced along the fence as i shot his photo. my mind saw him as a unicorn. i instantly thought of j**s and her stories of feeding the wild minnesota horses apples.

i immediately sent j**s the photos and video, she got a kick out of it. we drove on and pulled over at the three tetons historical marker. it was so beautiful there. i took a panoramic photo. idaho definitely stole my heart as well as my breath. i could see buggs and i maybe living a yurt somewhere there.

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our second journey, part nineteen photos…yellowstone national park, mt to west yellowstone, mt…

yesterday at this time 20:18…

yesterday at this time…buggs and i were on foot walking. we were walking laps and with each lap, the sky changed. the combination of the clouds, the howling winds, and the historic backdrop worked together to create some highly dramatic photos.

here are the photos that we took yesterday at this time 20:18…

irony…

so, buggs and i went for a drive the other day and we saw a sign that said, “cemetery” and had an arrow pointing eastward. ever since s***h and i were in digital photography class at wsu-v, whenever i see a cemetery…i generally stop, drive-in, and explore looking for the unusual and unexpected.

s***h and i used to do this often. we had a night photography assignment once and we went into an old vancouver (washington) cemetery and shot. it was exciting and fun and spooky. we never knew what we were going to encounter. it was interesting to go to school the next day and see what we had captured.

i remember staring at my computer screen one day and taking in a phenomenal image of a headstone surrounded by radiant, glowing, orange light. i was both surprised and fascinated. the light seemed to be emanating from the grave and behind it…through the tree line. it was amazing.

i have photographed cemeteries in washington, idaho, montana, nevada, iowa, and oklahoma. every cemetery is different and holds it’s own mysteries. i always feel as if i am drawn there for a reason, as if there is something there that i need to see and photograph. as i go, i feel kindred spirits all around me.

this particular day, buggs and i were drawn to the lawnview cemetery in cordell, oklahoma. we drove through stopping to photograph points of interest. three quarters of the way through, i found what it was that i was supposed to see and i let out a chuckle. i reveled in it’s dark irony…it’s fantastic.

our second journey, part eightteen photos…yellowstone national park, mt…

our second journey, part seventeen…big sky, mt to yellowstone national park…

as i mentioned before, the snow started coming down in big sky. it was very beautiful and added a little something to the already breathtaking landscape. i was a little worried about the driving conditions going up and coming down from the passes. the snow i was fine driving in…it was the ice that i worried about.

the temperature began dropping as we approached yellowstone national park. my car’s temperature gauge flashed “icy” over and over. i continued to stop and take photos along the way. i used common sense and exercised great caution. i thought about my roommate, j***y, who was terrified of me driving through bad weather and chuckled.

i passed the sign that said yellowstone national park. i was overcome with the glorious and curious wonders of the autumnal landscape. everything seemed so surreal to me…i couldn’t believe that i was there…i was actually fucking there!! and, i did it myself…with a companionship provided by my co-pilot buggs and my co-co-pilot j**s.

i felt like i was in a dream state. everywhere i stopped, i got out and walked. i shot photos and gathered interesting stones from each location. when i got back to the car…i put the stone in buggs’ poop bags with a piece of paper that noted the location. i decided that i would be like a penguin and gather stones to present to a mate.

my mind was full of competing thoughts. i was so excited. i just wished that i had had a special human with me to enjoy the adventure. i remembered what someone important to me once said and, at the time she was right. she told me that she would probably build-up resentment over time, because i was too unhealthy to keep up with her.

it was a bittersweet thought. bitter because she was never able to see me hike and climb and explore. sweet because i could walk far and fast, hike, climb, carry. i was fucking proud of myself and my progress. i just wished that she would have been present to experience me walking further and faster and being able to keep up.

hahaha…as my mom would say, “if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”

more tomorrow…

our second journey, part sixteen, short story and photos…gallatin gateway, mt to big sky, mt…

i have lived in montana and driven through it, but i have never gone south from bozeman. i am so glad that i decided to go back to nevada using that route. i will say that everything that i saw in bozeman and after…and all the way through idaho was completely breathtaking.

it was fall and all of the brilliant colors of change were reflected in the constantly changing landscape…red, orange, rust, yellow, plum, magenta. i soaked every ounce of it in…knowing full well that i was headed back to the dull desert.

i kept finding these wonderful places along the way to stop and take photos…and as i did i shared them with my co-co-pilot j**s…who was also stuck out in the land of intense heat and cockroaches. and, i shared them with my roommate, j***y, who was from sweden and missed forests and nature.

gallatin gateway was basically the entrance to yellowstone national park…somewhere that i had never been and my dad always promised to take me to. the gallatin river runs alongside the road through the valley and pass. it’s beautiful with it’s little waterfalls and emerald green water.

the gallatin river inn and rv park was a super fun, kitschy place to stop and walk around and take photos. they had signs everywhere. i loved, “slow the hell down.” the river ran alongside the rv spots and it looked like a great place to camp. buggs was enamored of a giant sunflower that danced and swayed in the wind.

i had to stop and pulled over in front of the lazy t4 ranch. it was an absolutely gorgeous spread of land, with trees, fields, and rolling hills. the ranch houses were big and impressive, but it was the gate and mailboxes that i really liked. it began snowing there in big sky and buggs and i got back on the road and kept moving.

more tomorrow…