States #42, 43 (Wyoming, Montana).

As the sun dipped below the rugged horizon of Utah’s buttes, our adventurous souls set forth on a quest that led us to the hidden gems of the American West. With the wind as our guide, we traversed through breathtaking landscapes, leaving behind the remarkable buttes and venturing toward the enigmatic beauty of Rawlins, Wyoming. The road beckoned, and we eagerly followed its meandering path, eager to embrace the mysteries that awaited us.

Our voyage led us through the captivating Wind River canyon, a passage of unparalleled grandeur that bridged the gap between the mid-elevations of the Rockies and the expansive high grasslands of Wyoming. With every twist and turn, nature painted a vivid tapestry of colors before our eyes, and our hearts soared with the exhilarating sensation of freedom that only a road trip can bring.

Driving through Wind River Canyon and to our tepee.

Nestled in the heart of this awe-inspiring journey was the town of Thermopolis, a haven adorned with natural hot springs that whispered tales of ancient rejuvenation. Our chosen abode, a splendid teepee, stood as a witness to our communion with the land. As the sun dipped below the horizon, my culinary skills came alive, conjuring a feast of succulent steak, charred corn, earthy mushrooms, caramelized onions, and grilled sweet potatoes adorned with a tantalizing blend of cayenne and cool sour cream.

Under the vast expanse of the Milky Way, we gathered around a communal fire pit, the flames dancing in harmony with our newfound friendships. Laughter and stories intertwined like the constellations above, creating a symphony of camaraderie that resonated in the night. Days unfurled like petals on a blossoming flower, as we surrendered ourselves to the embrace of thermal mineral springs, their restorative waters a balm for body and soul. The very earth seemed to caress us as we indulged in therapeutic mud baths, anointing ourselves with the ancient secrets of nature.

In the heart of this natural oasis, the spirit of adventure beckoned us towards our remaining states on this 48-state venture. Our wheels turned toward the grandeur of Yellowstone National Park, a place where the Earth’s very core bared its soul. With Cody, Wyoming as our gateway, we embarked on The Grand Loop that led us through terrains untouched by time. The grandeur of the wild, unfiltered beauty humbled us as we journeyed through valleys and over peaks, every twist revealing a vista that seemed too sublime for reality.

West Yellowstone, Montana, embraced us with its Wild West charm, a saloon serving as a portal to a bygone era of cowboys and legends. Days blurred into a tapestry of enchantment as we lingered amidst the captivating landscapes. The ancient wisdom of Old Faithful graced us with its ethereal spectacle, a reminder of the Earth’s fiery heartbeat just beneath our feet, as we traversed along Upper Geyser Basin and through the world’s most acidic, most dynamic geyser basin and part of one of the world’s largest active volcanoes, where we witnessed a chromatic pool, a mirror pool, a sapphire pool, a black sand pool, a rainbow pool, and the mammoth hot springs.

Amidst the wilderness, an encounter of profound grace awaited us. After a drive through Biscuit Basin and the many hydrothermal features of Yellowstone, we watched in awe as a majestic bull elk, guardian of his harem, sauntered through the town of Mammoth. As if in a dream, we witnessed this regal dance, a sacred ballet between creature and land.

And then, nature’s enigmatic artistry unveiled itself once more. Amidst a cloudless sky, an inexplicable mist descended, painting the roads with transient moisture. Armed with rain jackets and curiosity, we embarked on a trail that led us to an astonishing revelation. Steamboat Geyser, the world’s loftiest active geyser, emerged like a mythical being from the Earth’s embrace. Its towering eruption, a spectacle of unfathomable power, had transformed the arid landscape into a shimmering oasis. This unpredictable geyser had blown less than three hours before we arrived, which was the fourth and final unpredicted major eruption during the calendar year of 2022.  A major eruption is defined as being over 309 feet, and this eruption created “rain” for miles and would continue to blow for 48 continuous hours. 

From the rugged buttes of Utah to the Grand Tetons and the ethereal wonders of Wyoming’s hot springs and Yellowstone’s mystique, we had journeyed through landscapes that defied mere description. The road, the sky, the land – they all converged to weave a tale of wonder, and we were but fortunate travelers, privileged to bear witness to nature’s grand performance.

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