Looking Back: The Best Outdoor Moments from 2012

You know those perfect moments when it feels like time is standing still?  When you are totally immersed in your surroundings and nothing exists but the sounds and smells and sights of the “right now”?    For me, capturing that moment happens most often in the outdoors, when I can just stop and watch, and wait, and simply see what’s around me.

Looking back at the past year, I realize it’s happened a lot, which makes me feel pretty darned lucky.    Here are my favorite mindful moments from 2012:

1. Sitting on the shore of Bowman Lake in Glacier Park early on a warm summer morning has got to be number one.     When three deer appeared in front of us, the moment couldn’t get any better.


2. Winter moments don’t happen too often for me, but it happened when skiing in Yellowstone with great friends in January.   I was behind everyone, skiing up a hill into the bright sunshine, and when I looked up…the moment was just perfect.


3. Likewise, I’m usually not feeling too mindful on a gray and cold day in March. But when we found thousands of snowgeese at Freezeout Lake near Fairfield, Montana, and when they all took off at once — right over our heads –it was an enchanting moment.


4. Camping by myself in Yellowstone was a milestone of sorts for me, but the real magic happened that same weekend when I was sitting all alone on a hillside and two gorgeous wolves trotted by, and then hung around and played…just a few hundred feet from me.  I was holding my breath, trying to make the moment last and last.


5. The weather brought another perfect moment that same weekend.  Rain, snow and wind whipped across the Lamar Valley, but when the sun broke through the clouds in the west…well, it was another time standing still moment.


And then a rainbow…


6. The hike to Lewis and Clark Pass is not the most spectacular hike in Montana. But seeing a grizzly sow and her cub digging roots at the top of the pass changed a routine day hike into a moment that will stick with me forever.  (They were too far away for a decent picture with my camera, but that didn’t matter.  They were in the green patch at the bottom of the hill in this picture, and the whole thing is imprinted in my head better than any photograph!)


7.  An early spring hike along the Missouri River brought another perfect moment.  The welcome sun and warmth after a long winter and the beautiful canyon changed a hike we’d taken many times into a memorable moment.

along trail

8.  The ridge above Casey Meadow, in the Elkhorn Mountains, is another spot that we’ve hiked to many times.  It’s always lovely, but something about the sunset we watched early this summer made time stand still.



What are your time standing still moments? I’d love to hear about them!

About westerner54

Hello. I'm Cindy, and I love to hike, bike and explore the outdoors - particularly the western U.S.
This entry was posted in Hiking, Life, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Yellowstone and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Looking Back: The Best Outdoor Moments from 2012

  1. Janet says:

    You’ve been blessed this year with some really spectacular moments. I loved your first photo with the deer.

  2. Early in the mourning when the birds sing takes my breath away.

  3. brulionman says:

    first and seventh, where’s my teleporter? 😉

  4. Lamar Valley is such a beautiful place – I’m looking forward to going back again someday 🙂

  5. oopsjohn says:

    What wonderful moments you describe! And incredible pictures to match – particularly the three deer!

  6. lylekrahn says:

    What a great year-end post! Measured by your experiences and photos, you had a wonderful year. I can just feel the scene on the first photo. As for your great question, it had to going to look for bears in the Rockies in spring and having 14 encounters.

  7. Like the others, I love your first photo with the deer. Even without the deer, the scene is stunning. My most unforgettable moments this year were definitely camping across the valley from the Tetons for a week this summer, in preparation for my daughter’s wedding there. Seeing the Tetons change each day with the weather and the light was an incredible experience, capped off by an unforgettable wedding.

  8. kenneturner says:

    I love your photography! Keep up the work.

  9. lekker says:

    enjoyed your post – so much natural beautiful in montana! i’ve never been to yellowstone and want to go…your posts make me want to go in winter 🙂

  10. Judy Jackson says:

    Very nice pictures!!!! I love your travel. I hope i can also visit those places. 🙂

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