“We made it!”

It took 4 years, but, as they say, fourth time’s the charm. The 2020 Yellowstone Educators of Excellence trip has arrived on June 14, 2023. We met at RDU at 4 AM and had seamless travel to Bozeman, MT. We got lunch, grabbed supplies, and made our way to the Roosevelt Arch for our first team meeting, where we set goals for the trip and bonded over who we’d each choose as our celebrity best friend. Then we began the drive across Yellowstone from Gardiner to Silver Gate, rushing to make it through the “blast zone” for road reconstruction before an evening road closure, work that’s being done to repair damage from last year’s trip-cancelling flood. We enjoyed a burrito picnic in Lamar Valley and started looking for wildlife in earnest. Today alone we saw a pronghorn with twin babies, mule deer, bison, elk, a bald eagle, an osprey, a western tanager, a badger, a black bear with cub, and a grizzly with two cubs. We were pleasantly surprised by the flora, including cacti, sagebrush, lodgepole pine, aspen trees, and many wildflowers. It feels surreal to finally be here after so many obstacles along the way!

group standing under a stone arch with blue sky