A few days before I was scheduled to fly to Sweden on a scouting trip in March, the U.S. officially suspended travel with the EU. At the time, I thought surely I would be able to travel by the end of April and most certainly by June. Holding out hope, I waited until the last second to cancel each of my flights and hotel reservations, until I had nothing left on the horizon this year. I’m fortunate to say that I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have an upcoming trip to look forward to, even if it was just a weekend getaway. Like most of my team, travel is not just a hobby we love or part of our jobs; it is core to our identity. To lose what I value the most in life (freedom) and what I am most passionate about (travel) shook me. Grounded for the foreseeable future, I started a new relationship with Brooklyn, finally fully committed to my home. In fact, from mid-March to mid-May, while working remotely, I didn’t step foot in another borough, not even Manhattan. I charted new running paths in Williamsburg and biked to Red Hook and beyond, feeling like a tourist in my own backyard. I’ve been grateful for lockdown and quarantine to rediscover and fall in love all over again with New York, but no matter how much I love the city, I couldn’t shake the itch to get out.When I dream of travel, new, far-flung destinations are always top of mind. I have always ranked domestic travel second to international and reserved the U.S. for long weekends, weddings and bachelorette parties. But in this pandemic, traveling to upstate New York now felt exotic. While I was supposed to be in Peru the second week of June for my birthday, I began plotting my next adventure. As an avid hiker and nature lover, I decided on a three-week national parks road trip across Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, especially after the reopening of most U.S. national parks for the summer. Everything fell into place, as three of my best friends would accompany me for each of the three legs (Liz in Idaho, Ali in Montana, and Sarah in Wyoming).On Wednesday, June 24, I arrived at JFK and eagerly boarded my Delta flight, finally feeling again like my traveling self. TSA PreCheck made absolutely no difference; I was the lone traveler at security in Terminal 4. As soon as I stepped on the plane, a flight attendant handed me a Purell sanitizer pack. No middle seats were occupied per Delta’s new protocol, and every passenger was required to wear a mask during the entire flight, except while eating or drinking. All snacks and water bottles were sealed in plastic bags. I was pleasantly relieved to feel extremely safe, which gave me hope, if this was any indication of the future of air travel.My national parks road trip was one to remember (see my itinerary below): I discovered new destinations like Sun Valley and rediscovered two of my favorite parks—Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons—with a newfound awe and appreciation. Driving a total of nearly 3,000 miles on the open road, especially after months of lockdown, was wildly freeing. We slept in a yurt, the definition of social distance, as we were at least a half mile away from the closest campers (Galena Lodge). We hiked one of the most challenging day hikes I’ve ever done (Pioneer Cabin Trail, Sun Valley), with a 2,500-foot elevation gain in 90 minutes. I fell in love with lupine wildflowers in peak bloom now across Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Although our trek with llamas was canceled because our guide came down with flu-like symptoms and was awaiting his COVID test results in Bozeman, we learned the basics of fly-fishing from an expert Montanan (Sage Lodge). We saw black bears, moose, elk, bison, foxes, sheep, bald eagles, pica, marmots and so much more wildlife. We drank local Montana gin and craft beers from Beehive Basin Brewery in Big Sky and ate the best “Follow Yer Nose” barbecue in Paradise Valley. We rafted whitewater rapids on the stunning Gallatin River. I drove solo down the entirety of Beartooth Highway, which lived up to its reputation as “the most beautiful road in America.” We wrote for hours tucked into the wilderness along the shores of Jenny Lake, with the Grand Tetons peaking beyond the pages of our journals.Contact Us The Indagare team can help arrange the American West itinerary, accommodations, restaurants activities and experiences that suits your needs and comfort level.
Avalanche Peak Trail, Yellowstone
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