It’s funny how fate has a way of working things out: Last year around this time, we were desperately trying to set up a press trip to Yellowstone National Park for my daughter’s February break from school. We had a couple of magazines interested in the story (which would have focused on wildlife conservation in our nation’s oldest park, and specifically the reintroduction of wolves there), a great lodge that was willing to take care of our accommodations, and a tour company that was willing to take care of just about everything else.
But when we went to the Wyoming Board of Tourism to see if they could pick up the cost of our airfare (around $1000 per person), they basically told us they weren’t interested in stories about ecotourism. We were surprised and dismayed by this revelation, but we ended up going to Crystal River, Florida and swimming with manatees instead. Even though it was only 6 hours drive from our home, it was one of the coolest trips we’ve ever taken.
Now, completely out of the blue, we’ve gotten an opportunity to do that dream trip to see Yellowstone in Winter that we worked so hard to set up last year, thanks to the generosity of Off The Beaten Path (a member of Adventure Collection, a partnership of ten of the world’s leading adventure travel companies). Based in Bozeman, MT, the company offers special small group Winter Wonders tours that will take us along the Yellowstone River through Paradise Valley to Mammoth Hot Springs, where we’ll have a chance to try our hands (or feet) at snowshoeing.
We’ll search for the gorgeous grey wolves, photograph huge herds of bison and elk, and take a special over-the-snow scenic route to the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, stopping to see frozen waterfalls along the way. We’ll see erupting geysers, bubbling mud pots and colorful pools of the Upper Geyser Basin, and even get a chance to soothe our tired muscles in the Chico Hot Springs. Mary will be sitting this one out, but Alex and I are extremely excited about this surprise adventure.
The lesson here is that it’s good to have goals, but it’s also good to be flexible. We may not have gotten the trip we wanted when we wanted it last year. But, in being flexible, we got an amazing experience with manatees AND what will likely be another adventure of a lifetime (that starts this Thursday!). We cannot wait to share our stories, photos and videos with you all, and offer deep gratitude to OTBP for making it possible. –Bret Love
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