If you just hit it right, in those first few days of May, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, will reward you with a series of events lasting only for a couple of weeks. The massive elk and bison migrations, the bears waking up from winter hibernation, the cold mornings with steam vents glowing in the sunrise, the occasional snow fall, the playful sheep in the mountains and the birds returning for the brief calm of this realm. Comes June and hoards of tourist make it impossible to enjoy this, the most sacred of nature’s shrines.

This particular visit was a blessing, very few visitors, lots of creatures, moonless nights and dramatic weather. I love the feeling of having these parks to our selves for a few hours in the early morning hours without a single soul for miles on end. I know 2:30 am departure is hard to comprehend while reading the itinerary, but is so well worth it.

Sunrise in Mammoth Springs is like waking up in alien ground; the steam, the harsh backlit landscape and the plethora of red and whites are to die for. The Milky Way arching on the firmament above Mormon Row and the roar of Castle Geyser shooting steam and water into the night sky are just a few of the rewards of the “red eye ride”.

So much life, so much magnificence, so much to take in and admire and so much to miss once you depart. Yellowstone has become by far my favorite spot in North America a place everyone should visit once in their lifetimes.

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