This is the trip I nearly didn't take.

This was the year in which additional work duties had forced me to cut my beloved Winter trip from two weeks to two days and to totally cancel my annual Spring visit. I had to pass up my summer hiking adventure as well but as my business pressures abated I began to plan for an escape in October. But then in August I suddenly lost my mother and that changed everything. I missed work travelling to and from Cincinnati. My sisters and I spent a good deal of time sorting through the furniture and items in mom's house and grieving together. Then, in a box of mementos under my mother's old cedar chest I found past trip reports I'd sent her. I remembered how she liked reading them. She would call me afterwards and ask dozens of questions. And she would compliment my writing, which was worth all the gold in the world.

So I decided I should keep going to Yellowstone and continue to write trip reports.

Still, nearly a week before I left I felt reticent - that maybe it was too soon, that I should not go. My usual routine of geeky over-planning had not kicked in. I neglected my usual checks and re-checks of equipment. But I did go. And of course you've guessed the ending - I am thrilled that I did. It was good for me and I had a marvelous time. My lack of planning showed up in humorous ways, as you'll read about. And I brought a few of Mom's things with me which made me feel that she got to go this time, too. After all, she now has a better view than I.

Thanks are always in order to John Uhler for making it all possible. And special thanks this time to Doug Dance, Ballpark Frank and Geyser Gary.

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