Full moon over Yellowstone. I spied a baby elk with her mother alongside a stream not far from the road on my way back to Big Sky one evening on my own before my Rocky Mountain School of Photography classes began. Several of us stopped and the elk were starting to draw a crowd. I'd spent 20 minutes or so with the elk and was anxious to depart the congregating mob when I turned to go back to my little rental car. Ka-pow! Awesome large luminous moon over the mountains! How many times have I heard "turn around - the photo is often behind you"? Sure enough!
So, the rest of the story.....I'd done the same thing the night before - stayed out too late taking photos and enjoying being outside on a warm, late summer night. I knew it was about an hour back to Big Sky, and I'd intended to leave early enough to avoid traveling the dark mountain roads in the night.....but some wolves showed up, and a brilliant rainbow after a lovely light rain, and some bison, and then the baby elk...and, did I mention a moon? The second night alone in the mountains wasn't as bad as the first. As it turns out the Department of Transportation operates somewhat differently in Montana/Wyoming than it does in Iowa. They remove entire sections (read - miles) of the highway - down to just dirt during times of road repair. This isn't well marked (read - you're driving along on a highway, then it disappears....in the dark), and there are no lights. The moon had gone behind clouds. To make it more interesting I discovered that there wasn't cell phone coverage in the area. No other people on the road (do you call it that when it's just dirt?). I sort of expected to hear banjos playing in the distance.
But, of course, the paved highway eventually returned and I climbed my way up the mountain top. Once again, I discovered that the locals prefered not to clutter the environment with a bunch of directional signs.
It takes awhile to figure my way around in new places. This time it was a wonderful adventure.