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yellowstone national park

Generally I like to go to new places each year in my travels, however, before our vacation in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks ended last week we had already picked the dates for our next visit in 2016. Our trip this year was originally scheduled for two weeks, but we received an unexpected wedding invitation that prompted us to change our plans. One week in these parks was not enough!


We took a scenic route to Jackson, WY – it snowed on the way.

This was a working vacation for me as is the norm (except for our Italy trip last year), but that is usually easy to fit in when there is Internet. The remote locations of these parks, however, did not make that so easy! There is no Internet available in any of the guest rooms within Yellowstone, which is where we spent the majority of our time. There is only WiFi available in the lobby of one of the lodges, and on the other side of the park, the WiFi is only available in the lobby of another lodge during dining hours! Quite a challenge to fit in work!

old faithful inn

The Old Faithful Inn is an iconic part of the park. One of my favorite times on our trip was a post-dinner visit. The Golden Hour glow came through the windows and a cellist played a slow version of “Home on the Range.” Stunning.

Before scrolling through the baby bison, baby moose, and baby bear below, here are a few ways that helped me fit in freelance work and creative writing during my time away:

3 Things That Made Writing Easier While Traveling

  1. Data. For the first time ever I used my iPhone as a WiFi hot spot. Most of the village/lodge areas in the park have 3G cellular service, which made tethering my laptop to my phone and accessing the Internet a breeze.
  2. WiFi on Planes. Most of Southwest’s newer planes offer WiFi. The service is free for browsing flight details and watching select TV channels, and currently $8 for Internet access. A small fee for 3+ hours of dedicated work time in between the fun at destinations? Yes! Remember, fees to access Internet for work purposes are tax deductible. On a side note: I happened to get seated next to an editor/journalist on my flight back!
  3. Send Souvenirs. I’m not a fan of kitschy tourist souvenir paraphernalia. Every place has the same overpriced cheap items with a different logo. It doesn’t feel special. I like to look for something unique in the places we visit. When packing for a trip I leave space for the souvenirs we’ll need to take home…but this time I did something different. As you’ll see below, bear activity warnings in the parks were high. We bought bear spray in Jackson, WY, and at $40 per bottle, we didn’t want to leave it behind. Since we didn’t check any luggage, we needed to send the bottle home. On our last day I visited the post office and sent home the bear spray, our personal souvenirs, and directly sent postcards and souvenirs to everyone else. Voila! More space in my carry-on for my longhand writing supplies and laptop. 🙂
hemingway yellowstone

Hemingway Tours!

On a writerly note, I had no idea that Hemingway was somehow tied to Yellowstone. I associate Hemingway with Key West, Africa, and of course, Paris. But Yellowstone? I came across this flyer for Hemingway’s Yellowstone tours. Apparently he spent several summers in the park. Glad we are already planning our 2016 visit because this tour is definitely on my agenda!


Mama bison nursing her new baby.


Baby and mama moose in Cooke City, Montana, just outside Yellowstone.

cinnamon black bear

Cinnamon black bear and cub in Gibbons Meadows, Yellowstone National Park.

bear yellowstone

More bear

black bear

Black bear

hiking yellowstone

The bear are everywhere! The trailhead on one of our hikes had no sign…then when we got to the other terminus we learned the entire trail was closed due to bear activity!


Yellow-bellied marmots. There were more of these guys than squirrels!




Pronghorn, the fastest land animal in North America.

longhorn sheep

Longhorn sheep.

bison traffic

Bison driving without a permit.

nursery trees

One of my favorite things in the park are nursery trees.

lamar valley

Squirrels stashed nuts/seeds next to large boulders in Lamar Valley – but then they forgot about them before the seeds started growing. Now nursery trees stand next to the rocks where bison will sit and protect their young.

grand prismatic pool

Grand Prismatic Pool. This was halfway through a 12-mile hike!


morning glory yellowstone

Morning Glory Pool

mormon row

Mormon Row at Grand Teton National Park

hidden falls grand teton

Hidden Falls in Grand Teton