We spent a week last summer in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Every year we make sure to take a vacation. I need that clean break from the every day to recharge. This was our first large vacation with Rory. She’s generally very adaptable and easy going, but still, we wanted to ease into traveling with a tiny human with many needs.
I’m not sure what I was expecting from Jackson Hole, but it was idyllic. It was filled with tourists, but somehow still managed to be peaceful and quaint. The town was small but lined with local shops, restaurants, and galleries. Minutes outside of town and the expanse of the frontier was in front of you. It felt wild and wondrous and had a way of making you feel very small. I mean small in the best sense. In the way where you feel like a tiny thing that has this grand opportunity to live on this earth in the presence of huge, magnificent things. Suddenly, the realization that things troubling you and that we get caught up in, are really a very small when compared with a literal mountain standing before you.
We spent two days in Jackson Hole, two days in the Grand Teton National Park, and two days in Yellowstone. We walked around the small town and enjoyed the best quiche lorraine I’ve ever had at Persephone Bakery. It is truly life changing. We wandered around Jenny Lake for a few hours and enjoyed the scenery from the rim trail before taking their ferry back across the lake. Another day we walked to String Lake which is highly underrated in my opinion. There was almost nobody else on the trail and it was so peaceful walking by the water. We even saw a deer wander on the path right in front of us. We saw the old homesteads of Mormon Row and stood in awe at the casual views of the Tetons from their backyard and wonder at how they forged a life and thriving community in the harsh climate. By far my favorite was getting up at sunrise to see the pastel colors light up the Tetons. I was exhausted and freezing at 5AM, but then the sky would light up and take my breath away.
Yellowstone was alien and beautiful. I felt like I was literally drinking in the vibrancy of the colors at the Grand Prismatic Spring and all the other thermal pools. The heat (and sulfuric smells) wafting was the only sign that these beautiful, gem colored reflecting pools might not be as friendly as they seemed. Michael and I kept saying to each other it looked like a serene pool we would have wanted to jump right into. You would really not want to do that, as they were so hot it could literally boil you.
We spent two days in Yellowstone, and we still had so much of the park we did not get to see. It’s vastness is incredible. You could drive for hours before you reach a different end of the part. Outside of the really well kept highways and hospitable road stops, it is wild. Trees climb high and stretch organically into the distance. Some jagged lines in the twining expanse were cut from forest fires and you can see the charcoal scars on the bark like dark shadows. As the roads wound on, suddenly the forests would open up to a lazy river curling it’s way through the valley, or a placid lake with fog hugging it’s distant shores.
We went to see Old Faithful, and luckily managed to arrive on a day and time where there was not a huge crowd. We got a front row seat, but as the minutes passed, Rory became restless. So Michael took her and held her tiny hands as she teetered down the boardwalk. I did not get a good picture of that moment, but it’s one of my favorite memories from the whole vacation. It filled my heart, because while this vacation was good for me, it was so good for her too. She was fearless, and curious, and it seemed like Michael was holding her back more than helping (she cannot walk, Michael was a requirement), but I felt like I saw her spirit running ahead boundless. When it finally erupted we were surprised as we were misted with brisk water.
We saw the picturesque Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and a herd of bison roaming around the Hayden Valley. We hiked into the wilderness on the Fairy Falls trail. It was so hot, and it was way longer than we expected, but when we saw that falls breaking through the trees, it was so worth it. Rory cooed softly at it, and I thought, “me too, little girl”.
Looking back at these pictures, I love the beauty I was able to capture in the landscapes, but I’m sad at the very few family pictures. I’m only in a handful, and I regret that incredibly. I wasn’t even thinking about it, I just got caught up. Isn’t that how it always is? I look at these pictures and I remember the stories along with it, but it’s the pictures with my family in it that really connect me to it. Friends, fellow momma’s, dad’s, grandparents, whoever, don’t forget to get yourself in front of the camera, too.
Brynn Burke Photography is an Ohio photographer who specializes in maternity, newborn, baby, and family photography. To see more of her typical work, please view her galleries. Located in Columbus, Ohio she serves the central Ohio area including Dublin, Powell, New Albany, Granville, Delaware, and Dayton.
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