Friends, week 1 has been perfectly unscripted and raw. Going to go over a few highlights here of the 5 days we've been on the road, covering the miles from Minneapolis to Seattle.
Day 1 We left Minneapolis early in the morning on Thursday, with the destination of Mount Rushmore in our plans. (Made sure to hit up Caribou for our awakefulness around 7:30). Hopped from 169 onto I 90 W, which is like the North's version of I 40. Made a pitstop in the Badlands of South Dakota. WORTH IT. Saw Mount Rushmore around 6:30 that evening, and continued to Horse Thief Campground.
Day 2 Woke up relieved that the previous night was over. Continued to Yellowstone, arrived around 4 or 5. Checked in at the Madison campground, met our French tenting-neighbors, borrowed a hatchet from our Australian tenting-neighbors (don't know how they got THAT through security) made food and a campfire.
Day 3 Woke up around 6 or 7. Kurt wasn't around, Jordan was sleeping beside me. We were going to have to move campgrounds because Madison was full, so I started to make oatmeal (fast and easy and yummy) but I had just put the water on the little propane stove to boil when Kurt came out of nowhere and said I had to come with him. To just put away the breakfast for a minute and come with him. So we put the pot of water away and shut down the stove and I followed him across the campground into the forested field on the other side. We walked through a few trees to a little clearing and I saw that we were on a bluff, overlooking a spreading plain with the rising sun in our faces. I could see a river cutting through the scenery, and Kurt pointed out to me the bison fording the water below. Then we turned around to look at the bluff we were on, and there was a herd of bison maybe 50 yards from us - the large, moving mountains of fur grazed lazily in the morning light as small calves pranced around them, frisky with life. It was a perfect 15 minutes. We checked out of Madison that morning - there were no free spaces for us to relocate to at the campground - Kurt helped a fellow camper jump their car and then we drove 30 minutes north to the Norris campground and re-set up camp. We spent the rest of the day exploring Yellowstone's attractions - Mammoth Hot Springs, Old Faithful, Prismatic Springs, and an unscripted hiking of an over-looking mountain (which had great firewood scattered, ready for the collecting). Finished the evening with a beautiful campfire and a chapter of a book.
Day 4 Left early in the morning for the Grand Tetons. Highlight of the trip. I would ABSOLUTELY choose the Grand Tetons over Yellowstone if forced to make the choice. Let the photos speak for themselves.
Day 5 15 hours of driving from the Tetons to Seattle. Crashed into bed late last night.
Day 6 WOW. Has it been six days already? It feels long and short at the same time. Spent the day with friends, in hot tubs, trying white coffee, thrift stores, dollar-tacos, personal art galleries, beautiful morning light, hand-crafted, secret-recipe German pancakes, and fur coats.
It feels like we've crammed 2 weeks into 6 days. Seattle is open for our exploring tomorrow. We have warm hosts, good friends, and excellent food here. Great beds, hot showers, and LAUNDRY ROOMS. It's amazing what you take for granted.