I spent a week hiking in Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park with my sister in September. If you have never done this it is a great way to enjoy the beautiful country we are so fortunate to live in. I will warn you, make sure you wear comfortable hiking boots that have already been broken in, carry bear spray (we didn’t need it this time, though), and pack for all types of weather. When I arrived, it was almost 80 degrees, and three days later we were hiking in snow! But it was so worth it, I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Since I had not spent a lot of time hiking in national parks, I learned a lot on this trip, such as: Hikers climbing up have the right of way; never ever leave a speck of food when eating in the forest; wear lots of layers of clothing; and always have a trail map with you, but don’t believe everything that is printed about the trail! Early on we decided to hike to Mystic Falls, located in the Biscuit Basin in Yellowstone. According to the trail book, it was rated “easy.” Well, it started out that way and ended that way, but the two miles in between were anything but “easy”! At one point I called out my sister’s name, and I received an immediate response of, “I cannot talk.” When I got to the spot she was at and saw what was ahead, all I could say was, “Oh, shoot!” The trail was about 12 inches wide and wet/slippery from the snow overnight, and if you looked to the left, there was a 1,000-plus-foot drop! Shortly after we managed our way through that section, there was a fork in the trail and absolutely no signage telling us which way we were supposed to go. I learned the national park trails have pretty good signage if the signs are still there and legible! Some are missing, some have been defaced, and some are so distressed from years of weather that they are unreadable. So we pulled out our trusty trail map (remember, this trail was ranked “easy”) and made an educated decision to go right. We eventually found the most beautiful falls you can imagine.
As you navigate your way through all the changes our industry has experienced over the past 10 years—think of compliance regulations, board governance, profitability, mergers and acquisitions, information technology, taxes, human resources, accounting, and the list goes on—how many times have you felt like I did? This should be “easy,” but once you get in the middle of it, that is the furthest thing from your mind. And as you know, there are not always clear directions to help you navigate a change. Know that Wipfli’s professional team of 120+ financial institution dedicated associates are here to support you and your team as you navigate your next change. And if you ever get the chance to hike in one of our state or national forests, please share your adventures with me so I can plan my next trip!