Yellowstone wraps up in its finest when fall comes

Yellowstone - Moseley

A recent trip to the immense Yellowstone ecosystem proved once again; the nation’s first designated national park never looks more radiant than in fall.

That is the season Good Wife Norma and I have always enjoyed most. The aspen leaves, changing to glorious cold in reaction to winter’s approach, stand in stark and beautiful contrast to the always deep green forest that coddles them. Rivers and streams, long freed of spring’s violent rush of turbid runoff from the mountains, run low and gin clear this time of year.

Animals are furiously feeding, packing away every ounce of fat they can. Fail to do so and this winter in the mountains may be their last.

GWN and I were accompanied by two other couples on this year’s late-season adventure, all six of us seated comfortably in the white-with-sprinkles (Ok. Ok. It’s rust) 1999 Suburban. The vehicle, a project of son Aaron (the innovator/technician) and me (the financial guru), is everything we hoped it would be; a reliable, over-sized, cushy ATV built like a tank for over-the-road safaris coast-to-coast at a fraction of what even a 10-year-old Burb would cost, never mind a 2023 model. Yikes!

We ran what has to have been close to 3,000 miles; 80-per hour after hour on interstates, up and down steep mountain switchbacks, over rocky, two-track trails at dark and daylight in heat, chill, fog and rain. Our trusty steed (unlike what a drunken John Wayne claimed after tumbling from his mount, Beau, in the movie Rooster Cogburn with Katharine Hepburn) did not “put a foot wrong.’ Not once.

The longest run on a single fill up of gas was 450-plus miles from Red Lodge, Mont., to Scottsbluff. When the 40-gallon tank took 43 we knew we’d dodged a bullet. No harm to us from our bone-head blunder, but I bet that new fuel pump’s life expectancy is in the tank (tee-hee).

And the financially dismembering fuel bill? A shade shy of 600 bucks best I figure. Are we happy there were two other couples to help share that load? You bet we are.

One last item before I sit down and shut up. Good Wife Norma and I stand ready, willing and even anxious to share the local knowledge we gained from living five years with the privilege of Yellowstone, the Bighorn mountains, Beartooths, Pryors and more for our back yard. I keep a stash of maps and guides for that very purpose. Add our extensive in-person guidance to the handouts and you’ll be on your way. We have offered that free service to anyone who asks for years and been taken up on it many times. So, ask.

Email or text to 402 710-0727. We’ll sit down and chat.

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