“You gotta stop, and smell the roses [wild flowers]!” Mac Davis got it right in the song, Stop and smell the Roses, literally and metaphorically. When the spring snows and cold have all but gone away, the mountains and meadows come a live with great beauty! Wild flowers spring up everywhere. During this short but exhilarating season, the flowers are in reproduction mode as they entice every insect and pollen-spreading animal they can attract. Colors and fragrance abound as Mother Nature does its thing.

Picture hiking a trail far from civilization and the meadows are alive with color. A soft breeze flows through your hair as the powerful summer sun adds warmth and joy to the scene. You can’t help but reflect on the woods, the fields, …and on life itself. You get lost in this imaginative world. But it’s not imaginative!

Flowersmeadow of flowers

July (spring-time in Yellowstone) is a wondrous time. Nights still go below freezing frequently but the sun warms everything up during the day. Almost everyday has some sun… some days more than others. Because of the extremes in temperature, it is not unusual for an afternoon shower or thunderstorm; and rarely, maybe a few snowflakes. But you can’t mistake the beauty! Both animate and inanimate objects bring enormous contrast to this amazing landscape.

flowers abound everywhere!

There are towering mountains reaching 11 to 12,000 feet up with huge valleys with meadows of green grass and flowers. Tall Lodgepole Pines stand straight and narrow with fields, rivers, canyons and these huge mountains. With the arid air, the sky is a cobalt blue right to the edge. Yes, everywhere you look could be a prize-winning picture for a postcard. It is just remarkable.

CD-PW tetons

All of this reminds us to slow down. At 20, we see life as almost infinite. And why not?! We expect to live to 80 and beyond, which is 4 lifetimes! But ZOOM! And the next thing you realize you are 60! Where did the time go? Two things come to your realization: First, not all of your friends made it to 60. And second, 80 isn’t that far away anymore. (Of course, we expect to live to 100 now – LOL).

We are fortunate. Deb and I both have our health and, for us, it’s not too late. “Stop and smell the Roses”. Instead of chasing after the almighty dollar and forgetting what really is important, we decided to see the world through Mother Nature’s eyes. This realization didn’t happen overnight. We made conscience decisions decades ago to forgo on many “toys” to plan for early “retirement” and to capture what is important to our inner self. Without getting to philosophical, it is clear we made the right decision.

SL DebDeb on Shoshone Shore

As I ponder down Delacy Creek Trail, it is clear civilization is miles (actual, 10’s of miles) away. Fields and meadows here are not man-made. No farmer cut down the trees to make them. No, Mother Nature did it on her own. Some seem to happen naturally (still a mystery to me –Why isn’t this field covered with pine trees?) and others are caused by past forest fires. All this makes for a very dynamic, healthy ecosystem that supports a variety of life. In the animal world, you have 4 large types of deer (moose, elk, mule, whitetail) living together, 2 types of bear (grizzly & black), bison, an American antelope, and big horn rams. Smaller animals abound too! There are at least 4 types of squirrels, marmots, prairie dogs, woodchucks, and others I can’t name. For an area that has brutally long, cold winters, this is amazing!

And the varieties of plants, with its specially adapted methods of survival abound here. Remember, a frost can happen any day of the year yet these plants thrive in this environment. And they are beautiful! “Stop and smell the Roses.” Pines, firs, and spruces for evergreen trees coexist with maples, poplar, and cottonwood to make for a diverse forest. Look at the pictures of the flowers! It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful and serene place than right here. The area often referred to as The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem!

So, metaphorically speaking, take time to STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES.

grizzlySaw this bear on a drive near Fishing Bridge (not on the hike)


STAY TUNED! More “tales from the campah”!

camper front

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Coming Soon!!! YouTube channel with movies of the adventures!


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