Yellowstone Camping Trip: A Photo Journal Entry

Well, it’s finally time to wrap up Yellowstone. I’ve written about all of the hikes and adventures I had this past July and it’s been a total blast to relive vicariously through these blogs. That’s one of the main reasons why I host a blog – it’s an online journal with photos that I get to share with the world! I love taking a trip down memory lane and reliving all of these awesome photos and remembering where I took the photo or what was said during the shot. For me, photography is really personal.

There are lots of pieces that would fill in the whole journey as a whole, and those are the little “life bits” of the trip. The early wake-up calls, and early bedtime calls. The breakfast setup and breakdown, the long drives to get from one activity to another, the lunch spots along the road, and the beautiful waterfalls you can see from your car. There are so many moments that don’t get shared, so for this blog, I’ll be sharing photos that don’t quite fit into my regular hiking blogs, but aren’t showcased anywhere else. This will be pretty image-heavy. You ready?

Morning coffee at the campsite.
A spot we were foraging for lunch and a lake swim. We didn’t stay, but it was beautiful!
Part of the West Thumb Geyser Basin loop. Yellowstone Lake looms in the background.

These photos are part of the 300+ photos I have deemed worthy of editing, but usually, just sit around and die on my hard drive. I eventually pull many of these photos for my year-ending photobook, but even then, only a little over 400 made the cut last year. Sure, I could make a longer book and spend double the money, and perhaps one day that’ll be the case, but with the number of photos I take, no book could ever be long enough to replace the memories I carry in my head.

I think that’s what makes some of these images special to me. They aren’t part of a larger story like a hike or walk around a hot spring. Many of these images are from short experiences; an early morning breakfast, or a short stop along the side of the road. I always try to take as many photos as I can, but only if there’s a shot I can see ahead of time with my own eyes. There have been many times when I’ve glanced toward Mercedes and shook my head, opting to not take a photo. Sometimes the lighting just isn’t right, and other times people or objects stand in the way. Other times, a photo isn’t necessary. And yet, I still have 300.

Sometimes, it’s all about perspective. And a different way to take a photo!
Rain storms threaten the weather constantly in Yellowstone. Always have a raincoat close by!
Grilling a tri-tip steak for dinner. It was phenomenal!

Moments like this passing waterfall and this tri-tip dinner are all forgotten about by even myself when the trip is over. I may remember it a few weeks or months later, but without these photos, the fond dinner turns to dust. It’s those small moments, those slow moments, those real-life moments that complete the trip. Without driving, without food, and without a warm sleeping bag, none of this becomes possible. It’s definitely not all highlight reels and Instagram photos!

There’s also a place for the less-than-ideal photos; the ones where objects got in the way, or ones that are slightly blurry. I thought I got a fantastic shot of the night sky over Yellowstone Lake, but upon my return to my home, I discovered it was just the slightest bit blurry. I was so bummed out over it! I’ll share it below since it’s still cool, but I was (and still am) bummed about how it turned out.

A shot of the Milky Way over Yellowstone Lake.

See, without this blog, I wouldn’t be sharing this photo. I still have yet to decide if it’ll make the cut in my 2022 photo book. I have a couple better ones from my time in the Uintas, so perhaps those will be better received! It’s fun to take these star photos, even if they don’t turn out the way I want them to. Half the fun is pointing my camera at the sky and snapping a photo to see if there’s anything good up there!

From here, we’re getting to the end of the photos from the Yellowstone trip. On our way out, we stopped by Lewis Lake to have some lunch and go for a quick afternoon paddle board before making the long drive back to Utah. I insisted on cooking some burgers that we were supposed to have for dinner one night but didn’t, and it was a fantastic choice. A barbecue for lunch by a lake is a pretty awesome way to end a really fun trip!

The lunch setup, complete with paddleboard and Eddie Bauer chairs by the lake!
Burgers on the grill!
I love a good barbecue. These burgers were amaaaazing!

After we finished eating and cleaned up the food, we went out on the lake for approximately 10 minutes. The water was really rocky as a storm was blowing in and we were afraid we were going to tip over and get soaked! It was also getting colder as the day was getting older, so we scrambled to get to shore and get out of the water! Definitely a good decision, but both of us want to get back and paddleboard on that lake in the future. It was just too gorgeous!

From here, we packed up the paddleboard and said our goodbyes to the park. We drove out, and on our way out, found one more scenic waterfall that we hadn’t seen on either of our previous trips to Yellowstone. It was worth the stop on the side of the road!

Here stands Lewis Falls!
Lewis Falls. Height 30 ft.

As we drove out, we recalled our favorite parts of the trip. I don’t remember what was said during the drive, but looking back, these small moments were some of my favorites. Driving to see waterfalls on the side of the road. Cooking hamburgers by a lake. Getting caught in a bad storm on the lake and having to abandon our paddleboarding plans. Standing at the edge of Yellowstone Lake at night, wrapped in coats and blankets, taking a few star photos. Grilling a tri-tip steak for dinner. And making coffee in the morning.

All of those small moments are what I remember.

Those are the memories I treasure.

Parting shot:

The entrance sign shot.

Next blog: Yellowstone is done. Up next, Utah!

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