Goodbye Tetons, we’re southbound!

Ranger Ann and the newest crop of Jr. Rangers at Grant Village, Yellowstone

Desmond and Gretchen said their daddy is a big ol’ bear, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Bunnery, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

The twins at the Bunnery, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Southern Wyoming forever

June 28, 2017
The storm raged on through the night, and stopped around 3am. When we got up it was clear, bright, and warm… but also dripping wet. Gretchen and I tidied up the car and hung a few items out to dry in the thin slivers of sun that made it through the trees while Lynne and Desmond slept in.

It was so wet we decided to skip campsite breakfast. Instead we Let the tent dry for a bit while we all went out to eat breakfast near the lake. As we ate we saw more clouds rolling in, so we decided to get some trash bags and wrap up the whole wet mess and take it to Utah to dry out.

The drive south of Yellowstone wanders through alpine forests and luscious grassy valleys. We saw elk and bison, and several folks in rain garb bicycling up the steady grade to Yellowstone, loaded down with panniers filled with camping gear. The road twisted past clear lakes and we arrived at the Tetons after an hour or so. One remarkable thing I pointed out to the kids: this is one of the few places where you can look out over a landscape or lake and not see any human development or building anywhere. It’s as pristine a view as you’ll get in the lower 48, and it’s all thanks to the visionaries who preserved this place over 100 years ago. These views make me really thankful for the National Park Service.

We stopped in Jackson Hole, for a late lunch. The town reminds us of Santa Fe. There is a central plaza (about the same size) ringed with pricey shops: Pendleton blankets, silver jewelry, western art. JH leans more Wild West/cowboy/skier less Native American/Southwest than SF but very similar in feel. Substitute deer antlers for cow skulls. We ate at “The Bunnery”, an excellent bakery/diner just off the plaza. The food was amazing and we were glad to finally have access to wifi for the first time in days. We had just enough time to post to the blog and clean up our inboxes before we hit the road again.

More rain as we headed south over mountain passes and through thick forests, slowly winding our way to more arid land, and just as we hit the flat dry land of southern Wyoming the skies cleared. On one lonely 20 mile stretch we saw a minivan on the side of the road, with a family watching the dad fix a tire. I stopped to offer to help, and found out they were from Knoxville, Tennessee. A boy, about 8 said “I just lost a tooth!” And I told him I hoped the Tooth Fairy brings him a new tire tonight. They were just about finished anyway, so we left them on the windy 2-lane highway and headed to Vernal, Utah. We followed several rivers and crept down dry, twisty canyons until we crossed into Utah and Flaming Gorge.
Tired and twitchy from the road, we let the kiddos hop into the pool just before it closed at 11pm. While kids swam we took over the guest laundry at the hotel and washed all the wet, smokey, camp clothing we had accumulated. We cleaned up, had some bowls of cereal and then went to bed, exhausted.