Field Notes

 

One Easy Way to Miss Your Life

One Easy Way to Miss Your Life

We walked out of the bustling hotel lobby into the stillness of a crisp mountain morning. It was the end of September, well into the annual elk rut. Gone was the previous evening’s circus of bull-horn-brandishing rangers trying to keep space between territorial bulls...

The Real Risk of Rushing

The Real Risk of Rushing

Between the morning’s family-friendly hike around Trout Lake and the afternoon’s challenge trek to Sepulchre’s summit, we traveled through Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley. We knew this place well. At least, we knew it when it wore the colors of fall. But this was May, and...

Why Do We Keep Going?

Why Do We Keep Going?

My husband and I set off into the woods at a brisker than usual clip. Sooner than I hoped, the trail made good on its short-but-steep reputation. After a short lag, my steps slowed because there was no way I could keep that pace at that grade all the way to the top....

Sometimes It’s Not What We Think It Is

Sometimes It’s Not What We Think It Is

About a year ago, I spent the morning disc golfing with my husband and our kids. This meant I was out with my family (which I love), on a path through the woods (which I also love but not as much), trying to hit a target with what amounts to a heavy frisbee (which I...

How to Get Moving Again

How to Get Moving Again

“Time to get going,” Dad said as he thumped on the tent I shared with my husband.  Going? I could barely move.  I freed my beleaguered body from my sleeping bag and crawled from our tent out into the morning chill. Stiff and sore from the previous day’s ride, I picked...

How to Foster Hope–Any Time of Year

How to Foster Hope–Any Time of Year

It was one of the first hikes we took together, my husband and I. It wasn’t long—only a few miles, but one long stretch was steep. The descent wasn’t bad, and the destination—a steel suspension bridge spanning a canyon in the middle of the wilderness—was worth the...

Navigating This Season {whatever it is} By Faith

Navigating This Season {whatever it is} By Faith

My legs rebelled at the unfamiliar sensation of sand rearranging itself under my feet. For my family, a typical hike meant packed-dirt paths through deciduous woods in Iowa or evergreen forests out west, not shifting sand in a desert canyon. But here we were, tackling...

Our Steps Matter

Our Steps Matter

After clocking out from the early shift at the gift shop, I left the Inn for a long, leisurely stroll through the Upper Geyser Basin. Beginning at Old Faithful, I walked past lesser-known features and family favorites as I made my way to my destination: Morning Glory...

Walking in Tension

Walking in Tension

Crossing the empty parking lot, I zipped my fleece jacket to my chin and drew my fingers into my sleeves. It was August and already the mountain morning air held heavy hints of the coming autumn--known in Yellowstone as “early winter.” Side by side, my dad and I...

Summer into Fall Challenge

Summer into Fall Challenge

I was finishing up the dinner dishes when my daughter, sixteen, slipped into the house and said, “You might want to stop and come outside. The sky is beautiful. I don’t think you want to miss it.” I’ve learned to listen to that girl. She pays attention. She’s attuned...

All We Need is a Little Light

All We Need is a Little Light

My husband and I have been hiking for years. Years. Still, we don’t always get it right out on the trail. We knew it we would be cutting it close. But, we hopped out at the picnic area, grabbed a late lunch, and prepared to hit the trail to Harney Peak, the highest...

Embrace the Delays and Enjoy the Scenery

Embrace the Delays and Enjoy the Scenery

Eighteen hours into a twenty-hour road trip from our door to Yellowstone's South Entrance, my high spirits tumbled at the sight of a sign. A happy-looking sign, it cast a shadow on my plan to get off the road and onto the trail as quickly as possible. It read: Expect...