Feb 8, 2009

Feb 8th 2009

(location of Logan Utah)

Sunday: Hated to leave the condo, so we left at 11:oo am toward Logan, Utah. I asked Chuck to take be directly back home since I had to get ready for work Monday. Jackson Hole is only 180 miles to Logan. Somehow the trip lasted 6 hours but we got to criss/cross the Grand Targhee National Forest.

We left Idaho and went back to Wyoming then drove thru the beautiful "Star Valley" , which is about 50 miles long and quite cold. We filtered back to Idaho and the Caribou National Forest (which is merely an extension of the Cache and Grand Targhee National Forests).

I could walk from Logan Utah to Jackson Hole up to the Grand Tetons and ultimately Yellowstone. All these mountains are connected. We have been cirumnavigating "Yellowstone Park" for the past 5 days. We even touched it once near the Tetons.

These are some of the most pristine and unspoiled places in the lower 48 states. These are places were wolves, grizzleys, moose, elk, buffalo, and mountain lions still run free. It's nice to have these places and they should be left alone as much as possible.

I, preferring the truck camper and dirt bike modes of transport, will not have much access to places like the Wind River Range. But I still have plenty of access to some of the other wilder places where most people never get to go. I am grateful for this.

We drove past the giant, "Bear Lake" on the Idaho/Utah border, and through the nice little towns of Paris, Fish Haven, and Garden city, before we thread our way across the Wasatch Range between Garden City, Utah, and Logan, Utah, via: the Magnicifient Logan Canyon.

Logan Canyon is one of the most beautiful 30 mile drives in the world as far as I'm concerned. Twisting and turning with high walls on both sides, finally snaking it's way 3000 feet downward to my town called: Logan, Utah.

Logan is as beautiful as ever and I'm happy to be home with my son and dog again.

Feb 7th 2009

We arrived Friday evening in Jackson Hole. We got a lucky deal at the "Snow King" resort, and only paid $100 per night for a nice condo with two bedrooms and bathrooms which was right next to the ski lift. We spent Saturday taking photographing the Grand Tetons and snowboarding. I haven't really tried snowboarding at a ski resort yet but after starting off on an "Expert Only" ski lift, I eventually came home beaten and broken.

Yet I plan to try it again in the near future.

This town is nice and beautiful, but lacks the genuine sincererity that was noticed in Red Lodge. Jackson Hole is a bit more serious about money and feels the huge pangs of being a world class resort. We enjoyed watching the crazy skiers and snowboarders that would park at Teton pass, hike four hours to get to the top of the nearby mountains, then ski down to the bottom of the pass then hitch hike back up to their cars: these people are tough son of a guns in my book ... kind of makes me wish I were 20 or 30 years younger. We also enjoyed dining and watching how the young Europeans with money mix with the Americans with money.

After my trys at snowboarding and tumbling down the mountain....I seemed to feel that I got punched by a thousand gorillas. With twisted knees and a general soreness all around, I dove into my giant bathtub which heated most of my injuries away. Chuck went "night snowboarding" over at the lift. Chucks energy is at least as relentless as my laziness!

Feb 6th 2009

Friday: We left Redlodge late morning. The Hotel we stayed in, the "Yodeler", was a pretty cool place to stay. The place was older but they saved all the retro things like "the steam shower" from the 50's. Just turn the switch, wait five minutes, and steam starts filling up your shower so you can take a steam bath! The rooms were clean and roomy enough, the owners were two outdoors people, and are eager to please their guests. They are loads of fun to hangout in the lobby with and talk about rock climbing, skiing, or anything else to do with mountains. Great conversations are to be had all over Redlodge. Gabbing with strangers is a pasttime there, and I had the impression that all were quite sincere. I will return to the town of Redlodge soon! The rest of the state impressed me immensly, Montana was the favorite state of Steinbeck as well.

We drove the 30 miles from Redlodge to Cody, Wyoming and felt like we were in another world.
Cody was a nice clean town. We had lunch in a very old restaurant called the "Irma", which sported a fancy buffet for 6.95. I had the goulash with fried pollack and shrimp. Chuck made a veggie burrito with lots of cheese and sour cream, and the tomato sauce and spaghetti.
The waitress was professional (and cute!), the decor was Buffalo Bill related (as is the entire town), and the moghogany paneling, tables, frames, ect.. combined with the old pictures of locals from yesteryear, made for an excellent lunch experience.

Leaving Cody, we headed South toward Thermopolis and beyond. As lonely and desolate Wyoming seems, the topography is fascinating. The rolling hills, half frozen rivers and lakes, the distant mountains, the wildlife, and the general lack of people, seem appealing to me. I hope Wyoming always keeps it's population small. We wound up skirting the "Wind River Range", which is a national Park and has little vehicle access. The Range gets less visitors than most of the other Parks in the system. Avid hikers who venture this wilderness, are the only ones who get to experience the Wind River Range. Anyone brave and tough enough to traverse the 70 or so miles to cross the Mountains, has my deepest respect. The place has most of North America's largest and most dangerous animals. It nice to know that such a large refuge exists for them in the lower 48.
After 6 hours or more in the rough looking lands, we started over the Northern end of the Wind River Range. We passed through the mountain town of Dubois, and continued toward Jackson Hole, which would be my hometown for a couple days.