Day 12:

A long day of driving was made much easier by sharing it with Hippie.  Now that he had joined me for part of my trip, I was happy to have a co-pilot and get to put my feet up for part of the trip!

We left Denver and our ultra-clean Airbnb fairly early and headed north and west again, this time into Wyoming.  Finally, a state I hadn’t set foot in!

Wyoming in early summer is beautiful.  It’s a hard landscape, with wide open hills covered in coarse grass and flowers.  Antelope truly do play across the landscape, and cattle dot the valleys and ridges. In some places, there are glittering lakes with barren verges crusted in salt and mineral deposits.  In others, great, white sheets of salts and minerals shine in the sun.  Big Sky Country it is, indeed, even as you climb higher into the mountains.  It is beautiful, but unforgiving. It’s hard to imagine how settlers found their way safely across this land.IMG_2656

 

As we headed toward our camping destination in Grand Teton National Park, the sky grew dark and wind whipped my little car around on the road like a soap bubble in the breeze. We struggled against that hard, blowing wind for a couple of hours, stopping in the tiny hamlet of Jeffrey City (pop. 51) for a late lunch to take a break from the beating.

By the time we reached Dubois, about an hour down the mountain from the park, we started to have doubts.  The wind was a steady 20mph, with gusts even higher, the temperature was dropping, the clouds had started to drop a drizzle of rain and ice, and poor Hippie was starting to feel sick.  A quick consultation with a weather app showed us below freezing temps and a strong possibility of snow higher up.  We weren’t prepared to pitch a tent in that weather, and decided to stop in Dubois to spend the night in a hotel.  Very glad we did.  Hippie started running a fever in the night, and it was clear a stomach virus had taken hold. Plus, it was freezing cold and blowing hard all night and well into the next day.

Day 13

Hippie slept in while I puttered around the hotel room and the small village of Dubois.  He had run a fever all night, and the weather wasn’t going to clear for another 24 hours, so staying another night in the hotel seemed wise.  We spent the afternoon wandering around Dubois, first enjoying the truly interesting Dubois Museum, then popping into the surprising number of art galleries and shops in the two-block downtown area.

The museum gave a great overview of the area’s geology, flora and fauna, and history. From the Sheepeater Shoshone tribe of native Americans to the early settlers to the rail-road-tie hewing residents of the early 1900’s, everyone seemed to be represented and honored, and the small exhibits were interesting indeed.

Interesting or not, Dubois proper offered only about half a day’s worth of things to do, and by the end of the day I was ready to get on the road.

Day 14

With Hippie feeling better and a sky filled with sunshine (if not warm temperatures), we set off through the Teton range toward Grand Teton National Park… only to pass right through it’s beautiful scenery and on to Yellowstone.  We already had reservations at Yellowstone for the next day, and pitching a tent for one night without really having time to hike or see the park in Grand Teton seemed like a waste of effort.

As we drove, we both marveled at the deep snow in the mountain passes, made deeper by the previous two days. We oooh’d and ahhh’d over the white-blanketed fields and ice-crusted ponds.  We stopped and threw snowballs.  We shivered and ran back to the car. We drove from one end of Grand Teton to the other, amazed at the high mountains, sharp crags, green valleys, occasional elk, and bright flowers, then went straight into Yellowstone.  Where there were green valleys, occasional elk, bright flowers, and snow-pack still several feet deep beneath the trees and anywhere else shady. IMG_2714

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