ethanessig May/ 6/ 2018 | 1

Most of us who love adventure have a place that calls to our hearts above all others. The area that we feel most at peace in this life. The most in touch with what and who we indeed are. For me, that place is Yellowstone National Park.

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I have spent roughly two weeks of my life in the Yellowstone area. For it being such a prominent place, that seems like very little. Luckily I am returning this summer with my brother Noah for the first time in nearly three years.

Why is Yellowstone so unique to me?

Let me give you a brief history of my trips to Yellowstone:

Trip #1 July 2012

* First trip without parents. My friends Nick and Conor went on this adventure with me. It was a beautiful moment for all of us, experiencing a world we were only able to dream of until we got in the car and headed out.
* The first time I got to explore the Black Hills (got lost in them).
* We learned from our friend Douglas Little. He had been before and guided us around the entire park.
* Went on my first backpacking trail. That was the first moment I felt completely in the natural world.
* I hiked up Mt Washburn. The first mountain I had ever hiked.
* Saw five bears (one was a cub), many bison, a bull moose, and a few elk. It was a glorious drive through Lamar Valley.
* One of the most significant moments was seeing a female wolf hunt down some ground squirrels in Lamar Valley in the day we were leaving! It was one last effort to see a famous Yellowstone wolf. Beautiful.
* These moments created the foundation of who I am today. I am so thankful Nick, Conor and I took advantage of the moment and went for it.

Trip #2 June/July 2015

* Noah and I went out on this trip. It was our second trip of three straight months of travel.
* We drove through the night from Kansas City to the Badlands. We suffered through dozens of mosquito bites on the Western prairie to kick the trip off.
* Our time in the car was some of the best conversations I had experienced in my life.
* We packed roughly 20 books and probably only needed 3.
* We spent a lot of time on trails but took the time to stop and enjoy what was around us.
* Accidentally made poisoned chicken (Well I did).
* Used Cholula on every dish.
* We ventured south to Grand Teton National Park. Just like Yellowstone, the Tetons changed our lives. Specifically, our hike through Cascade Canyon. We felt like we had entered another world. Waterfalls flowing down the peaks, water running through, and wildlife grazing.

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There are a few factors in these bullet points that should stand out as the biggest factors of my connection to Yellowstone.

1. I have been there with my best friends (one being my brother). These moments with the ones you love makes it even better.
2. The American West was a place I had dreamt of exploring my whole life. Each time I go that direction, I know I will grow for the better.

I can’t wait to share what happens on this third expedition. I am sure it will be epic.

Go live a beautiful life,

Ethan

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