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What a predicament – an adventurer and writer taking an epic vacation, and only sharing a paragraph about the whole experience. Check out that summary on my September Share Four Somethings post.

Back in September of last year, my darling and I drove to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons for our first visit to those parks. Along the way, we also drove through several states we had never visited. The entire trip counts as an epic adventure and I hope to share more in the future.

I’m still working on the entries in my travel journal and finished day 15 this morning. Only 2 days left to record. With those being driving days, I hope to finish the write up by the end of the month.

We had a few predicaments throughout the 17-day trip, but none so dramatic as one would expect during a pandemic. A peek at the photos helps me to remember the minor mishaps, and I can’t forget the major one.

I’m not sure if it was ‘Rona related, but none of the in-park lodging had coffee pots in the rooms. Thankfully I had packed my electric tea kettle* and hit up the general store for provisions. While hiking through Scotland, I used the kettles provided at each inn to boil water to wash out our water bottles. I figured doing the same out west couldn’t hurt.

Almost $3 a pop at the general store. Thanks van life hipsters for driving the price up for the rest of us.

I’m not trendy enough to be a regular drinker of pour-over coffee, but these handy little travel options saved me from having to wait for breakfast for my first cup. Or even worse – drinking instant coffee. Due to the price, I only bought a couple but enjoyed them immensely.

Making the best of things: pour-over coffee in an insulated water cup.

We had to rearrange the spreadsheet itinerary (no joke – that sucker was 46 pages long) because a snowstorm closed Beartooth Pass the day we planned to visit. When we learned it had reopened, we decided to scrap our plans and hit up the scenic drive. Due to road construction, the road only had one lane. Literally, one lane didn’t exist, while construction crews worked on the side of the cliff edge.

We waited about an hour for the privilege of following the pilot car.

The top of the pass is over 10,000 feet in elevation, a drastic change to the 4,000 to 6,000 feet elevation of mountain peaks we have here in the Smokies. I worried that the altitude would bother my breathing. Combine that with the pilot car driver telling the car in front of us about the dozen or so people who died the year before on the road. Between driving off the side and landslides, he cautioned about the danger of the road.

I prove that its hard (but not impossible ) to complain when you’re enjoying generic Cheez-its with this view. Even if you do have to wait an hour and listen to morbid stories about people driving off the side of a very high mountain.

So in our panic attack recipe we have:

  • Asthma girl
  • High altitude
  • Anxiety
You want me to do what?

On the way out, I refused to hike down the Gardner Lake trail. I couldn’t get control of my heartbeat or my breath. The trail descends 3/4 of a mile to the lake, and the return trip climbs almost 600 feet in under a mile. I did not have faith that I would be able to make the hike out. Thankfully Jay continued on the pass, patiently, and we grabbed a late lunch in a pub in Red Lodge. With food in my belly, I felt better on the drive back. I’m so proud to say I overcame that anxiety and hiked to the lake. The beauty of the area is breathtaking all on its own, no panic attack required!

Okay, so it was worth it.

The hike back to the car wasn’t easy. But, as they say, nothing that’s worth it ever is. I’m more proud of that hike than I am some more technically challenging trails I’ve tackled in my life.

This verse is taken out of context, but I can’t help but think of it as I write about overcoming predicaments and coming out the other side victorious.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33