Fallback

A First Timer's Tour of Big Sky Country, Via 1987 VW Vanagon

Two film photographers and their basset hound puppy explore Grand Teton and Glacier National Parks with eyes wide and amazed

A First Timer's Tour of Big Sky Country, Via 1987 VW Vanagon

Author

Michann Stoner

Photographer

Michann Stoner

Camera

Canon AE-1

Film

Kodak Portra 400

https://www.fieldmag.com/articles/vanlife-road-trip-montana-wyoming-35mm

ED NOTE: With COVID-19 keeping us inside we're resurfacing archival favorites to aid in the mental escape and adventure planning for future times to come.

Michann Stoner is a Denver-based photographer. Follow Michann on Instagram.

With much anticipation, and many sluggish days of 9-to-5 leading up to this two week van trip through Wyoming and Montana, the departure date couldn't come soon enough. And when it did finally come, of course Adam and I were unprepared yet incredibly eager to get on the road. With some last minute packing and a quick oil change for our 1987 Vanagon, Jo, we loaded up what we hoped was enough gear—not forgetting our 8 month old basset hound, Wilbur—and headed east.

Along the way we sat in puddles of sweat while driving through the height of summer heatwaves with no A/C,  stopped to visit a friend in Idaho Falls, ID, and occasionally found home in Wal-Mart parking lots for the night.

Each little detail and moment has burned a spot in my memory, but one thing I'll never forget for sure is the way I felt when I saw the Grand Tetons for the first time. August fires in Montana had caused an eerie haze to hang over the jagged peaks of the mountain range, making the monuments mountains feel even more imposing.

Michann-Vanlife-WY-13

Michann-Vanlife-WY-22

We spent a few days with the Tetons—a huge feat for us, as we tend to not stay in one place for longer than a day—spending most of the time posted at our campsite, or taking intermittent dips into Jackson Lake while letting Wilbur try out his new life vest. 

Our next destination was Glacier National Park in Montana, where we would meet up with our two friends who were driving there from Pennsylvania. The four of us camped out, got clean in Lake McDonald, drove the Vanagons up and down Going-to-the-Sun Road, and hiked up to Iceberg Lake. I even broke my left foot on the way back down the trail, and the boys took turns carrying me on their backs for the remaining 2.5 miles of the trail. Yikes.

Even with the broken bone our time in the wild west was the perfect cap to a summer full of dips in cold lakes and memorable miles on our ol girl, Jo. 

Michann-Vanlife-WY-14

Michann-Vanlife-WY-12

Michann-Vanlife-WY-17

Michann-Vanlife-WY-23

Michann-Vanlife-WY-24

Michann-Vanlife-WY-6

Michann-Vanlife-WY-4

Michann-Vanlife-WY-7

Michann-Vanlife-WY-3

Michann-Vanlife-WY-18

Michann-Vanlife-WY-10

Michann-Vanlife-WY-20

Michann-Vanlife-WY-21

Fallback
Related articles
Kindred Motorworks Is Updating Vintage Broncos for Modern Buyers
This New Company Is Upgrading Vintage Broncos With Modern Features

Bluetooth, power windows, a rearview camera, plus an all-new drivetrain are just some of the new features in these 50-year-old classics

The Radica MoonLander Truck Camper Is a Game Changer for Space & Style
This Futuristic Truck Camper Is a Game Changer for Off-Grid Living

Fed up with campers and construction caps, an engineer took it upon himself to design the perfect alternative for camping and cargo

13 Car Camping Essentials for a More Comfortable Getaway
13 Car Camping Essentials for Getting Outdoorsy on Four Wheels

When packing a car instead of a 60-liter backpack, you can afford to maximize comfort in the face of bulk—here's out top picks for how to do just that

The 7 Best Camping Showers for Every Kind of Camping Trip
The 7 Best Camping Showers for Staying Squeaky Clean in Nature

Rinsing off after a long day of outdoor activities can be just the thing to make roughing it feel a little less... rough

Kodak Gold 120 Film Photo Essay: Exploring Maui by Van
Explore Stunning Maui Landscapes on All New Kodak Gold 120 Film

On Hawaii's second-largest island, two film photographers hit the road in a rented 1998 Dodge camper van to document a truly unique environment

Roadlife Refrigeration Experts Dometic Launch New Camp Furniture Line
Dometic GO: New Camp Furniture & Gear for Car Campers and Vanlifers

The mobile refrigeration brand expands its campsite offerings by adding a line of furniture and goods to increase comfort and convenience

More articles
Fallback
Fallback
A First Timer's Tour of Big Sky Country, Via 1987 VW Vanagon

Gallery Mode

Photographer

Michann Stoner

Camera

Canon AE-1

Film

Kodak Portra 400

Back to article
Fallback
☮️ Welcome to Field Mag

Get the best new gear, dreamy cabins, and epic adventure photography delivered to your inbox each week with Field Mag newsletters

Click Here to Subscribe
☮️  Welcome to Field Mag