The McIntosh family discuss being first into Yellowstone

Hailey McIntosh

More stories from Hailey McIntosh


Stacy Boisseau

The McIntosh daughters, plus family friend Kenzie Clarkson, smile for the camera before entering Yellowstone.

Everyone has family traditions, whether it be buttering peoples noses after singing happy birthday, making hand crafted gifts for holidays, or sending cards to distant family members. 

My family has a rather weird set of traditions: we attempt to be first through Yellowstone’s east gate through Sullivan pass each year. Over the past four years, my mother, my two sisters and I have been the first through the gate.

This year we are going to be attempting to defend our title for one last time. We felt it would be an appropriate year to end our streak because it’s the 150th anniversary of Yellowstone National Park.

Never in my life have I ever been alone, at Grand Prismatic. It was beyond epic.”

— Stacy Boisseau

We’ve decided to make it even more special this year by bringing treats for the people that we beat to the gate. It’s our way to say “sorry” to everyone who got stuck with second place.

Last year’s trip was my favorite;many interesting things happened such as seeing Elon Musk’s StarLink satellites go across the night (or morning) sky in a single line. One other notable event from last year was that a meteor broke through the atmosphere and burned up right before hitting the ground less than 100 feet away from us.

“Never in my life have I ever been alone, at Grand Prismatic.” Stacy Boisseau said. “It was beyond epic.”

My mom, Stacy, knows exactly when to leave. Every attempt she has made at being the first has been successful. Though I can’t share our secret to winning, I will include this: if you want to be first, make sure you have a reliable, comfortable car, but don’t plan on beating us if we are also trying for first.

One thing we do before we leave is eat burgers. Yes, we get them from a “restaurant”, if you wanna call it that. And no, I will not be sharing the burger place as it could potentially reveal our secret. 

There’s a famous quote said by none other than Kanye West that I feel captures our “mood” for this year,  “Everyone wanted to know what I would do, if I didn’t win… I guess we’ll never know.”