Traveler’s Spotlight: Wild Spirits of the Open Road

By June 15, 2018 Team

The Trip: Road Trip around the Western United States and Canada | 1 Month
Traveler: Maria Beam, Digital Art Director


Where did you go? Who did you travel with?


I hit the open road with my partner and our dog, Houdini. We camped and climbed at Colorado National Monument in Grand Junction and then Dinosaur National Monument in northwest Colorado, right near the Utah border. From there we drove up to City of Rocks, a federal reserve and state park in southwest Idaho, for more climbing.


We have friends in Oregon, so we took our time moving up the coast, camping in the Siuslaw National Rainforest, exploring the tidal pools, and enjoying time with friends. From Oregon, we continued up the Washington coast, camping in the Olympic National Forest. We spent a day being tourists in Seattle, watching fish being tossed at the market, and then crossed the Canadian border to Vancouver, British Columbia where we stayed with family. We visited the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, played frisbee golf, and explored the city.


After Vancouver, we made a two-day push driving to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and we camped there for several days, touring the waterfalls, hot springs, fumaroles, geysers, and being mystified by the geothermal features and colors! From Yellowstone we finally made our way home through Grand Teton National Park and landed back in the beautiful Roaring Fork Valley.


What sparked your interest in this trip?


Last spring we got our first park pass and did a similar trip through Utah and up the west coast to Yosemite. We knew we wanted to this again, and with family in Vancouver, British Columbia, it was the perfect opportunity.


What was your favorite activity during the trip?


Rock climbing in City of Rocks, ID, and gawking at the waterfalls and geothermal features in Yellowstone National Park. 


What was the most challenging thing you did?


Trying to get poor Houdini to across the cliff walks at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in Vancouver.


Strict schedule or go with the flow?


Go with the flow.


If you were to do the trip again, where would you spend more time?


I would like to have spent more time climbing in City of Rocks, ID, and added another week or so to visit Glacier National Park, MT and Banff in Alberta, Canada.


What can’t you travel without?


Games, a good book, and face wipes. We played chess or card games nearly every day, and then read books aloud at night (we finished “The Name of the Wind” on the road). I can go without showering but habitually use face wipes to deal with it. Lastly, I cannot travel without knowing I have a good friend at home loving, snuggling, and feeding my cat Olaf, and occasionally sending along videos and pictures of my sweet boy.


What’s your top travel tip?


It’s good to have milestones, like we knew we definitely wanted to visit Vancouver and Yellowstone, but when you’re on the road for a while I think it’s best to keep plans lose, so you’re open to those serendipitous experiences that so often make your trip really special.


Would you rather see a lot of places or get to know one really well?


Given the time, I’d rather get to know a few places really well.


What is the next stop on your bucket list?


South America