Don’t you think, as women and especially as mothers, we forget to take time out for ourselves, all by ourselves? Running the kids to school or sports activities. Maintaining the daily chores of a household.
Sometimes our spouses help and sometimes our children lend a hand, but the bottom line is that we’re often so busy that we don’t take a “me” time out. Quite frankly, simply shutting the door to take a quick bubble bath isn’t enough to restore our souls. I recently took my “me” time when I headed north to Yellowstone National Park – gasp – in January.
Established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park is America’s first national park. Its location in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho should’ve been the first clue that this would be a winter experience I would not soon forget.
The weather forecast of sub zero temperatures was nothing compared to actually feeling the chill to my bones. We bundled into the classic winter snowcoach in the below freezing temperatures, rumbling through the snow-covered backroads to Old Faithful Snow Lodge, one of only two lodgings open in the winter. Several other guests and I wrapped ourselves in our jackets, kept our gloves and hats on, and shared each other’s warmth, including tucking blankets. We stopped a couple of times to gaze at the stars – and as crazy as it sounds, the night was so crisp, the sky so black, and the stars so bright, that I thought I could reach out and touch the Big Dipper.
After a 2 + hour mighty cold ride, the crackling fireplace was a welcoming sight, but that was only the beginning. There are no televisions at Old Faithful Snow Lodge, and the lobby is like a living room, inviting guests to pile into overstuffed sofas, pull a chair up to a desk to work on a jigsaw puzzle or play a board game. Families laugh together and do things together, from hiking around the geysers to snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. There’s even an ice rink outside – just pick up your complimentary skates on your way outside.
The next morning, the temperatures were still discouraging, so I bundled up for a much anticipated snowcoach journey headed toward another Xanterra Resort, hoping for glimpses of wildlife. It wasn’t until I stepped outside into the crisp morning, breathed in deep the fresh, unspoiled air, and looked around that I really “got” it. This was Mother Nature in her magnificent quietness.
Old Faithful Geyser was mere minutes away, and it was so utterly still that I thought I could hear the spouts hissing as they gushed to their historical heights. Surrounding the lodge was a winter wonderland, as if God had dipped his paintbrush into the snow and painted the pine needles. And the peacefulness continued with amazing glimpses of a bison’s steaming breath as it burrowed its head into a snow covered mound for food; white trumpeter swans paddled in the waters, barely discernable against the snow-banked river; steam swirled around the geysers; and a lone apple tree survived against all odds.
It was in this stillness in the night gazing at the stars; the tranquility of the day with baby bison calves plodding behind their mothers; without honking horns, ringing phones – and did I mention that my cell phone did not work, nor was there Internet service – that I got it. I need to relax, and I finally did, exhaling as if I’d been holding my breath forever. You see, it’s here that you stop asking what time it is. Yellowstone National Park is a long journey from Denver, but it was definitely a “me” moment to re-discover myself and appreciate the beauty of Mother Nature.
When was the last time you took a “me” trip? Or just took a break from the busy-ness? What is your favorite “alone’ getaway?
Photo Credits: Diana Rowe 2010