8 am departure
No coffee in sight and a quick look on the map of Yellowstone made us realize the Morfar Coffee index salvation was 35 miles away at Mamouth Springs. Sights that the afternoon before thrilled us to pieces could barely move us. We pulled into the Artist Paintpot and almost did not make it out of the car...slowly like zombies we walked through a landscape that looked just like we felt. Everywhere we heard the sound of eluding coffee pots boiling only to realize it was small geysers and mud holes boiling, the sulfur smell gave us vague remembrance of breakfast eggs gone bad....
Next stop the Norris geysers provided us with a rainbow landscape from an odd Sci fi movie.. beautiful but surreal. Despite our state of delirium, we struck up a conversation with Nate the Park Ranger. A dream job he wanted since he was 6 years old, the salary is swell $15/ hour and makes it really easy to pay of those college loans. A quick bye and we stumble back to our car.
A bison grazing on the side of the road stirred us enough to move us out of the car to snap a few more shots... How we ever completed the 35 miles to Mamouth Springs will forever be a mystery.
The Mammouth Spring general store provided us with the much needed caffeine relief and after stocking up in coffee at the incredible price of $2.18 for a small cup, life slowly returned to our bodies. We decided to part ways with Yellowstone and head out of the park. A group of people with binoculars on the side of the road alerted us to some form of animal sighting. Sure enough 3 wolfs where wandering the hills.. The wolf sighting completed the count of big wildlife sightings. Bye bye Yellowstone, we will be back, 1 day visit doesn't even scratch the surface of the magnificent sights that the park offered.
Even though our car is loaded to the hilt as a truck I am pretty sure we are still classified as a car. Rt 89 a two way road cutting through the heartland of Montana, pedal to the metal and I was still getting passed by trucks pulling horse trailers. The speed demon in me silently sighed..."I could live here".
Big Sky here we come.. A landscape forever changing, vast meadows with grazing horses and cattle, roaring mountains full of wilderness. An outdorsman person's mecca. A quick pitstop in Bozeman, Mt fulfilled our organic needs, then back out on I 90. Sofia snored as I zig zagged up and down the mountains. Smoke from the wildfires that licking the mountains around Missoula, MT filled the air. Finally our destination in sight, a room in an actual house awaiting us, courtesy of Marcia, a dear friend from New Hampshire.
Walking into that house, I realized how good it is to be home. Even if it's not my own, there is something about a home that a hotel room and a campground can't hold a candle to. I felt myself relax more than I had in 7 days. I felt grateful for family, generous people, stillness, and a safe harbor. And I would be kidding you all if I didn't mention gratitude for a shower - my, my, how stinky we were.
After removing everything that had grown on our bodies during the past fe w days and putting on clothes from the beginning of the trip that now seemed fresh, we set out on a wild goose chase trying to find the Big Sky Brew pub at Sausage Seth's suggestion. Torey, a new roommate of Marcia'a and a fellow New Englander who had arrived a week earlier from Pennsylvania, was only happy to practice her weeklong navigation skill and to share some New England jokes, able to say "wicked" without getting crazy stares. After many wrong turns, we realized the pub was closed - it was, afterall, Sunday evening. We settled for the next best thing, Flathead Brew Pub. Conversation flowed easily; was as if we had known Torey all our lives as we shared cross country road trip stories, hiking tips and photos. Hers from Mt Murango Tanzania, ours from Cascade Canyon, Grand Tetons.
When we arrived back at Marcia's place, satisfied from a local Amber ale, grass-fed Montana beef, nice salty fries, and fun conversation, we were greeted by the homey smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and popcorn. Torey's roommates were home and they were as welcoming and friendly as we had come to expect in the west. We shared brief life summaries, learned about river floating, ate some cookies, and called it a night. Well at least I did. While I closed my eyes to dreams of bears chasing me through the streets of Seattle, Anna stayed up until midnight, daydreaming about her future as a dude on a Montana ranch, just like Torey's brother.
For more pictures from Day 7, check out the slideshow below!