When you are asked to close your eyes and think about a place that makes you so happy and at peace, you often picture a specific place that you have been to before. Somewhere that you feel totally, absolutely, amazingly relaxed. Often it involves a beach, waves, a thunderstorm, sometimes crickets chirping in the background….you get the picture!
One of my favorite places in the world now has to be Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park, and that’s the one I picture now when I have to go to my “happy place”.
It starts at the Tower Juction across from Roosevelt Lodge. If you take that road all the way down the valley, you end up in Cooke City (where you will find amazing pizza! But that’s a separate story). Beyond that, you enter the scenic Beartooth Highway. Not too shabby of a drive!
It just makes me feel so relaxed when I drive through the winding roads, past the meandering stream, herds of bison, and rolling hills. The light seems to be the most beautiful golden shade all day long.
One of my favorite hikes is along this stretch of road too. Trout Lake is a quick jaunt, but the lake you end up in is so quiet and peaceful, I could sit there beside the otters and snap picture after picture as the light changes during the day.
What also entices me to hang around that valley is the concentration of wildlife, especially wolves, grizzlies, pronghorn, and bison. When I was there this summer, I witnessed an amazing show with the bison. They had to cross a raging river with one of their young that could not swim yet. So in order for this baby to cross with the rest of the herd, the older ones started a chain in the river which allowed for the baby to float across and hit this chain of bison, then crawl along beside them until it reached land. What team work! It was fascinating to watch.
Luckily, this section of Yellowstone is one of the quietest places to be. Not many tourists head to the northeast part of the park. So it just seems so much wilder and isolated…the true wild west.
So now that my work day is winding down, I am going to kick my feet up, close my eyes, and picture my happy place – Lamar Valley.