Yellowstone to the Great Lakes-Update Part I

It has been over two months since I updated. Yikes! But life has been full and happy and changing again. I will recap in two parts with Part II to follow in a few days.

Part I

After leaving the Nasvik’s in Idaho, we arrived on May 2nd in Yellowstone’s winter wonderland. We knew it was going to be cold but had been assured that Yellowstone was worth it. It was just warming up to mid 40’s during the day and 20’s at night.

We experienced beautiful, clear weather.

Yellowstone is vast, beautiful, and unique to anything I have seen yet.

We saw hot springs, geysers, fumaroles, bison, elk, coyote, and bald eagles.

And…we were done.

Like sponges that had soaked up too much water, we had soaked up so much beauty and experiences in the space of six months that any more was not going to be absorbed. The “moving” part of our travels had run it’s course (temporarily anyway) and it was time to sit somewhere and let the beauty drip out and be processed. So I did so, in my beautiful hometown of Traverse City, MI. The kids and I were near family and familiar things for a month, while Nate was away from us at Yestermorrow Design/Build school in Vermont, taking his eco design build course. We push at our future, but first…

Here is a quick recap of our last fast-moving travels before our more stationary days. Part II will be about where we are now and will have some of my thoughts on the present/future…

Yellowstone National Park – Wyoming, Idaho and Montana


The bison’s favorite activity was seeing how much traffic they could hold up by walking down the middle of the roads.




Charlotte pointing to Old Faithful a’ blowin


The kids were able to participate in Yellowstone’s Young Scientist program and use some equipment. Cade was our temperature guy with the thermometer gun. His highest temp recorded was 185 degrees, from a distance.


Jeff Schluckebier’s Off-Grid Homestead in the Black Hills of South Dakota

In my last post I introduced Jon and Katy Nasvik, and I related how they recommended we stop by the home of their friend, Jeff, in South Dakota. We took their advice and are so thrilled that we did. Always a bachelor, Jeff lives alone on a beautiful off-the-grid 7 acres in a no-electricity Black Hills valley. A complete stranger, he shared with us a gentle hospitality, welcoming us to park in his driveway for a couple of nights on our journey east.


His home is of cordwood masonry and is complimented by a greenhouse, a cordwood masonry sauna house, a rough sawn timber garage. Also tucked away in the woods are a yurt and an outdoor kitchen. Jeff heats his home with firewood that he splits himself, heating his water either from the fireplace system or from solar power. There are too many neat little systems to mention, nooks and crannys full of thought, ingenuity everywhere. The place is bursting with character and pleasant surprises, like an outhouse in the woods that smells better than most flush toilets:-)


Fresh, flushed out, clean, electric. That is how I felt after enjoying Jeff’s sauna. Time and time again in our travels, our best experiences have been people, and what they introduce into our lives. Like Jeff’s European style sauna treatment. Hot sauna with essential oils, cold plunge in an outside tub, hot sauna, cold shower…it purges and renews.


Chopping firewood for Jeff.                                             

Crazy Horse Monument and scale model. Based on the Lakota Indian chief.

Badlands National Park


Badlands National Park was our last national park and the last junior ranger badge earning for awhile. With a couple stops to see some friends on the way, we headed to home territory – Indiana and Michigan.

First paid work in a year (!) and a garden planted

We stopped in Wolcottville, IN to visit Nate’s brother and sister-in-law for a long weekend before heading up to our birth town of Traverse City, MI. Over that weekend in Indiana, we planted a garden. My husband has agreed to help manage construction of his brother’s new house for a time (thus the first paycheck in a year). I am exuberant that we were able to put in a garden. The kids are exuberant that they get to be like fish in the water all day, as well as have a trampoline and swing-set to play on.


A few shots of our month in beautiful Traverse City, MI 


The girls “Prince hunting” with Meema (my lovely and vivacious mother)

A rare moment…Jack painting Maggie’s toenails at our campground in Michigan.


These are pictures of a cookout at Nate’s family’s place near Charlevoix, MI. We had great times with family again, and my loving in-laws gave me overnight kid breaks every week we were in Michigan.

Stay tuned for Part II…


About Melanie Christner NTP, CGP

I am a Nutritional Therapist & GAPS Practitioner in the Green Mountains of Vermont. I help families gain back their energy, digestive health, and robust immune systems...using targeted lab testing paired with nutrient dense whole foods. Find out more at
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Yellowstone to the Great Lakes-Update Part I

  1. I can’t believe you are doing UPDATES in the middle of moving!!! Crazy lady!!! 🙂

  2. It’s just a reposting, Lynn:)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s