Last time, we followed Will’s adventures as he traveled Sweden. This time, Will and Co. travel from Seattle, Washington to Knoxville, TN. Along the way they explored landmarks such as Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park.
First thing, Will and his friends explored Seattle. They got to take in the sights as well as visit some great coffee shops. They visited a thrift shop to buy outfits to wear for a game of FootGolf, which was a great way to unwind since they had just spent about two days traveling back to the United States.
While still in Seattle, the guys were able to sail on a 34’ sailboat (The Antoinette) to Bainbridge Island. They also had some good food at Pike’s Place Market.
When Will was able to get on the road with his friend, Taylor, their first stop was North Cascades National Park, which features more than 300 glaciers. However, the weather was not ideal during their visit, so they saw most of their sights from inside of their car.
The scenery became significantly better at Glacier National Park, which features Going-to-the-Sun-Road, one of the most famous roads in America. Passes at higher elevations were closed to cars due to snowfall, but people were welcome to ride their bicycles. The 25-mile biking adventure turned out to be an awesome and unexpected highlight of this part of the trip because they were able to enjoy glacier carved lakes, dense forests and snow-capped mountains from the freedom of a bicycle (rather than looking through car windows).
Later, they watched two World Cup soccer games (Argentina vs. Switzerland and U.S. vs. Belgium) in the lobby of a lodge in the park. Unfortunately, the U.S. lost, but it was fun for them to be back in the United States around fellow Americans pulling for the same team. After the game, they did a 10-mile hike to Crater Lake. This hike was one of Will’s favorites because they crossed snow passes, rivers, walked beside marmots and other animals on the trail that had no fear of humans, saw a moose and red fox, and then came around a corner on an amazing glacial lake and valley (where they had a great view to eat dinner).
After Glacier, the journey continued and Will was able to explore Yellowstone National Park. He was able to hike Fairy Falls, see Grand Prismatic Spring and Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. All of these famous landmarks had great views and hike, but Will thought there were too many people and cars for the adventure to be as enjoyable as it should have been.
Before leaving Yellowstone, Will was able to visit Yellowstone’s engineer’s headquarters (Bldg. 39), created in 1903 by Captain Hiram M. Chittenden. The building was the second stone building built in Yellowstone, and in 1918 became the first official park headquarters.
Will and his friend were able to spend about four days on the ranch of a friend in Cameron, Montana. The Ranch Manager took them on a tour one of the days and showed them his hunting blinds and talked about the animal population on the ranch. Since the ranch had issues with rock-chucks and groundhogs, the Ranch Manager let Will and his friend “go hunting” as they walked a few miles back to the cabin.
After their hunting adventure they drove to Jackson, Wyoming where they biked the Grand Teton Road to Jenny Lake. The weather was beautiful and they were riding close to evening, which made for some great sights right around sunset.
Their day-drive to Colorado also happened to coincide with Chick-fil-A’s Cow Appreciation Day (meaning free food if you dress like a cow). To help pass the time (and fill their bellies), the boys decided to see how many free meals they could get on their way to Buena Vista. Unfortunately, their cow costumes didn’t make it in their camping packs at the beginning of the trip, so they stopped to get scissors, tape, and black construction paper to complete their cow costumes on clothing they already had in their bags. In their dirt-covered camping clothes, Chacos, and construction paper, they stopped at four Chick-fil-A’s, receiving free meals as well as “confused/scared looks from the cashier at each one.” The boys thought it was hilarious, but they were sure that it must have been disconcerting to all the other customers.
To round out the trip, Will and his friend worked at Spring Canyon Conference Center, helping a fellow Knoxvillian with Father-Teen Adventure, a Christian adventure camp for active or retired military fathers and sons. Will was able to help lead the sessions, taking the guys rock-climbing, whitewater rafting, four-wheeling, camping, and on high ropes-courses over the course of a week.
After all the generosity they experienced in Iceland, they were quick to pay it forward once back in the States. At the east entrance of Glacier National Park they came across a man hitchhiking. As it turned out, the man was a college student living and working in GNP for the summer as a fishing boat captain. They ate dinner with him in his cabin and had a great time sharing some of the hospitality they had experienced during the whole trip. They tried to help people in need of a hand whenever they could while they were making their way across the country on their way back to Knoxville.
In all, this portion of Will’s adventure covered 12,000 miles, 20 states, two countries—and lots of incredible sights and experiences.