The Value of Off Season Travel

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PHOTO: TED SWEETEN
Whether viewed during the summer or the off season travel period, the Grand Tetons are an inspiring sight.

For a great many years, my family and I took our annual
vacation between Memorial Day and Labor Day, those
often hectic months that constitute “the tourist season.”

Over the years, however, we came to feel that–because of
this tradition–people who are hungry for the peace and
comfort and grandeur that our continent’s mountains, parks,
and wilderness areas promise often trample the very
“wildness” they’re searching for … almost literally
burying it deep in the mud of their many footprints.

The answer, we’ve decided, is “off season travel.” In
this way, not only can we avoid crowds and traffic jams, but we’ve found that the rates–for everything from
cabins to campsites–are often less, and the service
is generally better. 

Part of the Tapestry

Despite the fact that mankind has come to divide the year
into spring, summer, fall, and winter … such seemingly
separate time periods are each, in truth, only a part of
one fine vestment that Nature–in her great
wisdom–weaves to display Earth’s beauty to its
utmost. But one thread, no matter how brightly colored,
cannot indicate the fineness of the finished garment. The
only way to experience the full scope of such majestic
variety is to become aware, over a period of time, of all
the fibers which make up that incredible attire.

In other words, we should allow ourselves the space to look
at the land in every one of its seasons … and not just in
the time of the tourist.

The summer visitor never has a chance to see certain aspects of the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National
Park. From early fall to early summer, after and before
the crowds come, there is an opportunity to be alone in
such popular tourist destinations and watch their beauty
unfold … for what sometimes seems to be our very own
personal enjoyment.