Amanda -- I have a feeling we're not in Pennsylvania anymore!
As soon as I looked out of my airplane window and saw the beautiful mountain ranges to the HUGE Grizzly Bear we passed at 9:00 PM driving to our AirBnB -- we quickly realized that we were DEFINITELY not in Pennsylvania anymore!! -- And I cannot wait to share a small glimpse of the AMAZING Adventure that we just had at Yellowstone National Park!! The only thing I can really say to describe the experience -- is that as soon as you take in a deep breath of that fresh mountain air and stare at the Blue Skies ahead -- you have a feeling of calmness and peace. This trip has truly been an experience that I will never forget -- and I am still trying to convince Amanda to go back next month! (Wish me luck haha!)
Visiting Yellowstone has been a trip of a lifetime and one that I have been wanting to explore for a long time now! I think that most people know that the views are absolutely breath taking and seeing wildlife was extremely fun!! But for me -- the best things about this trip were the more simple things and the people we met along the way!
“I shall take the heart. For brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world.”
Nothing makes me happier than Breathtaking Views, a Big Ol' Plate of pancakes, and catching an Arctic Grayling! Can I just tell you -- that Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park are a photographers paradise!! With the Scenic Views and Wildlife Galore -- it was impossible not to be awestruck by your surroundings!
For one day of our trip, Amanda and I left Yellowstone National Park to explore the famous Mountain Ranges at Grand Teton National Park! Although it was a 2 hour drive from where we were staying -- and a 5 AM wake-up -- it was well worth every minute that we were able to take in the views of the surrounding areas!
One thing that I made sure NOT TO DO -- especially during this trip -- was that I tried not to look at everything through my lens, but to put the camera down and enjoy the experience and really be present in the moment. A lot of the time -- especially with Weddings -- each day is jammed packed with events. Amanda and I always encourage -- not only our Brides and Grooms -- but also remind each other -- to take in the moment of our surroundings, adventures, and experiences. (I am not going to lie -- The fact that there we had VERY limited cell reception on this trip also helped us to live and be present in the moment!). If you are Visiting Yellowstone National Park, I would HIGHLY encourage that you take a day to explore the Tetons and the beauty of this Nationally recognized Park! Click this link and take a look for yourself!
-- Big Ol' Plate of Pancakes
As for the Big Ol' Plate of Pancakes -- let me tell you that this was an experience of a lifetime!! Prior to our trip -- we had been watching YouTube videos of other people's tips, suggestions, experiences, etc. that we could possibly learn. Throughout this information, one thing that we learned about was a person raving about Campfire Lodge Resort's Pancakes!!
Now let me rewind for a second -- anyone that knows me -- probably knows that I can eat! Meaning if you place a WHOLE pizza in front of me -- consider it gone! But with these pancakes -- I truly met my match!! If you are staying in West Yellowstone, I would DEFINITELY encourage you to go outside of the town and try the Breakfast at Campfire Lodge!! Not only was the food amazing AND that fact that it had a top of the line Fly Shop -- but what I loved best is that the dining area was nestled right along a Blue Ribbon Fly Fishing Trout River -- The Madison! I didn't fish right outside of the resort -- but I was able to fish the Madison SEVERAL times while in Yellowstone -- and it was incredible! Check out this hidden little Gem Here!
-- Dream Fishing Experience
Yet another little fun fact about me is -- that I love to travel to different places in order to Fly Fish. There is nothing like getting up early in the morning -- being the only one on the creek -- and catching a Wild Brown! On this trip -- I wanted to catch different species of trout that are not in Pennsylvania waters. So each day we set out early in the morning with one thing in mind that we wanted to see or do -- and then along the way to our destination we would pull off at nearly EVERY stop along the way and either --- fish, hike, or sightsee! ((Probably not the best idea if you only have a limited time in Yellowstone, but the lack of a schedule worked out really well for us!)) I am so happy that I was able to fish nearly every part of the Madison River and Gibbon River -- and was extremely lucky to be able to catch several Cutthroat Trout that are only located out West!
On this trip I was able to catch pretty much everything that I set out for: Cutthroat, Rainbow, Brookie, Brown Trout, and of course White Fish -- but the only one missing was the Arctic Grayling. This leads me to the Best Experience that I had on this trip.
For me, there was only one thing missing from this trip and that was to catch an Arctic Grayling!! So on the Last Day of our stay -- we rented Bear Spray ((this is a very important thing to do in Bear Country!)) and head out on a 3 mile hike to an Alpine Lake -- Cascade Lake! When we got there Amanda was able to relax and read a book -- and I was able to fish! There was a hatch going off at the same time we got there -- so I was extremely excited because I was catching Cutties left and right!!
It was a BEAUTIFUL DAY and we were both having a GREAT time -- but still no Arctic Grayling! After 2 or so hours, the hatch had stopped and I said to Amanda, "Just about 10 more minutes and then we can go do something else." Literally the next cast -- I hooked into a fish and when it got closer I was thinking to myself, "this cannot be what I think it is!" AND IT WAS!! It was the Arctic Grayling I had been searching for the whole trip!! I was overjoyed -- took a few pictures -- and set the little buddy back on his way in Cascade Lake! We both couldn't believe it and it was an amazing way to end our trip!!
((Check out my fish pictures below! -- First 2 pictures are of a Cutthroat trout I caught on Grebe Lake and the last two are of the Arctic Grayling at Cascade Lake!))
“There’s no place like home.”
I am not going to lie to you -- this is the FIRST time that I have been on vacation where I was not ready to head back home! There are so many incredible things to see and do at Yellowstone National Park!!
AT THE SAME TIME -- there really is no place like home! There is nothing better than getting a good nights sleep in your own bed surrounded by the people and things that you love!! Not to mention our girls (fur-babies Bela and Remi) were beyond excited to see us after a week of being gone! Their excitement after we return from a 30 minute grocery shopping trip or a week long vacation is exactly the same and never gets old! ((Special Shoutout To my Mother-In-Law and Father-In-Law for watching our puppies while we were gone -- we appreciate you guys very much and could not have even thought of this Adventure without you!!))
Reflecting back on this past week -- I feel so blessed to have been able to take this trip with the woman I love and hope that one day you will want to too!! If you do -- I would LOVE to talk about it more with you and answer any questions that you might have!! -- Also -- just asking for a friend... will you have room for one more?! -- because I can't wait to go back! :)