Day 8: Uncertainty is OK

Day 8 was a study in contrast.

We woke up here…

…and ended up here.

In my experience, there are two main types of campers, at the extreme end of the spectrum:

  1. Hotel in the woods
  2. YOLO

“Hotel in the Woods” makes park reservations in advance (using Visa points), planning their itinerary with details rivaling a papal visit. HITW expects concierge-quality service at parks, and writes one-star Yelp reviews national parks.

“YOLO” like to be in the outdoors, sleep in a bag under the stars next to a campfire with friends and a few beers.

No judging. Just pointing out the two extremes.

I like to think of myself as a little more YOLO than HITW, but I recognize the irony in my writing this blog from a shiny aluminum trailer with a memory foam mattress.

My point is that camping with an allowance and acceptance of a degree uncertainty opens yourself up to a wider spectrum of enjoying the outdoors.

Normally, I wouldn’t have dreamed of trying to see Grand Teton and Yellowstone  NPs on a summer trip, let alone camp there. I did a little homework about the walk-in camping situation at both parks, headed out early, and took my chances. Yellowstone fills up by 7am in some parks. You can see (from my photo above) the line of RVs hoping for a spot here at Teton (Colter Bay) at 7am on a Tuesday morning. It speaks for itself. I was lucky, but I could have been turned away. Here’s my spot (the photo carefully leaves out the RVs around me…).

Not as epic as Frye Lake…


…but “embedded” in a gorgeous National Park, and near another. After we set up camp around noon, we headed to Yellowstone. Yes, there were crowds.


But we saw Old Faithful.


Tim added “Junior Ranger” to his Lieutenant Commander rank (retired Navy), with a collectible hat/bowl.


He biked back to our campground (38 miles?), and almost beat me home, with the traffic, stopping to gloat as he passed me.


I stopped to see Lewis Falls..


…and walked to the beach for a cold swim last evening, in the shadow of the Tetons.

IMG_9128[1]

My point is that at both ends of the spectrum, a little uncertainty will reap rewards, whether you’re a HITW, or a YOLO, or something in between. Don’t be afraid of it.

4 thoughts on “Day 8: Uncertainty is OK

  1. 7/19/16
    Lucky you to get a spot – what a whirlwind week you’ve had – Tim won’t want to go home tomorrow – and he may give up backpacking since you’ve spoiled him with comfy accommodations. Stay safe – see you next week.
    Love,
    Mom & Dad

  2. Absolutely stunning photographs, Dan. And I love the narrative that accompanies them. Enjoy the West for me this summer. Martha

    1. I’m actually not sad to see the lines. Parks like Yellowstone are “gateway” parks for first-timers. The more people who appreciate our natural treasures, the more they’ll be in their hearts and minds as worthy of protecting. …just stay away from the remote locations I like to go 🙂

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