Yellowstone 2022 - Empty Nest by Curt Swarm


The temperature driving across Nebulous Nebraska reached 104 degrees.  Someone else said it hit 109.  Yikes, this is June!           

Of course we knew about the massive flooding in Yellowstone, but our destination was Flagg Ranch just south of Yellowstone and north of Grand Teton National Park. 

We arrived on Saturday night and arose early Sunday morning to attend church service in The Chapel of the Transfiguration in Grand Teton National Park.  The little log chapel is beautiful, with a picture window at the altar showcasing the Teton mountains.  What a start to our vacation and a reminder that God blesses us all.   

Monday morning was a cold 30 degrees and rainy.  The south entrance to Yellowstone wouldn't open until Wednesday.  Vehicles with even numbered license plates would be allowed in, odd numbered the next day, and so on.  Our license plate number is odd (like me), so Thursday would be our day in Yellowstone.

Because of the weather we chose to make Monday a work day in our cabin.  I had the galley proofs of my new book, “Task Force IED” to edit, so I spent the day editing, and Ginnie, my editor, looked over my shoulder.  This book, which tells the fictional story of the Iowa National Guard's deployment in Iraq, will be out in early fall, in time for winter reading.  One of my reviewers said, “It's a barn burner.”  Stay tuned. 

Moulton Barn on Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park is the most photographed barn in the US.

Tuesday, we had a raft trip planned on the Snake River in the Grand Teton National Park.  We saw bear, moose and otter on the float, while staying dry.  No whitewater for us, we're old people!  Our guide did all the rowing, while we sat back and enjoyed a picture perfect Wyoming Day. 

Wednesday, there was frost on our car.  Ginnie wanted to explore Jenny Lake, since it was named after her, she quipped, although “spelled wrong.”  We hopped the water taxi to cross the 423-foot deep, glacier-formed lake, then hiked up to Hidden Falls.  At Inspiration Point, Ginnie's inspiration was that Jenny Lake would be renamed “Ginnie Lake.”  We then swung by the Moulton Barn, on Mormon Row, in Grand Teton National Park.  I love taking pictures of old barns, and the Moulton Barn is the most photographed barn in the US. 

Thursday, with our odd number license plates, we got up early and headed for Yellowstone.  We went first to the Old Faithful Geezer, I mean, Geyser.  (The Geezer is me, says Ginnie.)  Then it was off to the Prismatic Spring, the largest hot spring in the US, and third largest in the world.  It has all the colors of the rainbow, and Ginnie radiated those colors.  Next we hiked the steep trail down to the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River, and then had to hike back up.  I thought I was going to have to carry Ginnie, but she pulled through like a trooper. 

Friday was horseback riding in the Bridger-Teton National Forest.  My horse was Pilgrim and Ginnie's was Holly—gentle horses.  Unbeknownst to me, my key fob for the car slipped out of my pocket when we were riding and landed by the trail.  A person in our group saw it and reported it when we finished the ride.  I checked my pockets.  It was mine!  We had crossed about half-a-dozen streams.  It could have landed in the water.  One of the members in our group ran back and retrieved the fob.  God was looking after us! 

Saturday, we headed home.  For us, Yellowstone 2022 is in the books.  Don't ever let anything like record flooding hold you back from making fantastic memories.

Have a good story?  Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, find him on Facebook, email him at, or visit his website at

Column, Curt Swarm, editorial, Empty Nest, fort madison, iowa, Mt. Pleasant, Pen City Current, vacation, Yellowstone


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