Ligonier native spends summers in Yellowstone National Park
Leslie Giesey doesn’t remember when she first traveled to Yellowstone National Park with her family, but she knows she was young, and knows she went fishing for wild trout that fill the streams.
Now, decades later, she returns each summer to work as a nurse and spend her free time fly fishing and hiking the mountains and valleys that the park is known for.
Growing up in Ligonier, Giesey, 30, spent most of her youth outdoors.
“I think my dad got me a little purple spinning rod as a toddler, but by 4 years old he had a fly rod in my hand,” said Giesey, talking about her father, John.
That fly rod has now become a part of who she is.
Her first memories of the park are spotting wildlife out of the car window.
“It must have been sometime after the fires of ’88. Everything was black. There were areas that were just ash — no trees,” Giesey said. “Being in those places teaches me to conserve, because I don’t want them to go away. But there is a big misconception between the east and the west, that it’s just pristine out there.
”But we have the same opportunities in Western Pennsylvania, we just have to commit to taking care of it.”
Giesey will be spending her fourth summer working around the park. The first season was spent just outside of it. Now she is working inside the park at a clinic, living in park housing.
But as much fun as she has had, this may be her last summer away from home.
“I love Yellowstone, it’s one of the most beautiful places on the planet, but now I want to be home because my family is in Ligonier,” Giesey said. “And a place is just a place if you don’t share the memories with the people you love. That’s what has made the memories of Yellowstone extra special.
“As special as Yellowstone is, I want to be able to fish with my nephews, and hike and fish around Pennsylvania. The most beautiful trout live in the most beautiful places, and we have those places at home.”
Dan Speicher is a Tribune-Review photographer. You can contact Dan by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .