Photo credit: Going Slowly
I’d promised myself to not see snow that year, but as luck would have it I got Chicago’s first freezing rain, Winnipeg’s first snow, Montana’s first snow, and when I got to Yellowstone, it had been freshly dusted with their first flurry.
I’d only packed a little leather jacket, so by this time I was pretty fed up with the fluffy white stuff and decided it was time to head south.
In the winter, most of the park is closed and the only access is through the North Entrance. To leave I had to go back up and west over through Idaho before heading south. I took off on a sunny afternoon, ready for another long night of driving, which by now had become my beloved routine.
It was October, a far cry from the insane tourist season the area usually gets in the summer. In fact, lining the road south from that part of the US is mostly untouched gorgeous land sprinkled with Cabins, and they were all vacant.
I was loving it.
I had been recommended “World War Z” on audiobook, and had been listening to it almost non-stop since I’d started it.
The book was perfect for off-season exploring. At times it really felt like I was driving through post-apocalyptic landscapes reserved for my eyes only. It was fitting also for my mental state at the time; I really felt like a survivor, lucky to be rebuilding from the ashes of a lush-yet-toxic past.
I had been completely engrossed in the chapter about the pilot who’s plane crashes over “zeek-occupied” territory for a while now. (and if you have no idea what I’m talking about, please check out the book, it’s really very good) (I said the book, not the movie)
That chapter had really hit close to home and I had to pause the book when it finished to pull myself together again.
That’s when I noticed I hadn’t seen another car for a real long while.
Not even a truck in fact, that was more worrisome.
In this specific moment I realized that the 18-wheelers had been my silent and subconscious companions for many weeks. my “totem animals” like giant mammoths with glowing headlights for eyes, and now that I couldn’t remember how long it had been since the last time I’d seen one.
It felt like I’d missed a “DANGER, turn around now” sign somewhere down the road.
Dusk was upon me now, the road map told me I was pretty far from civilization.
And that’s when I saw it. The first snowflake…