Sad to find exactly zero bison in the picnic area in front of our cabin when we woke up. The bartender got us all worked up after telling us how they just hang out there all the time. She told us she sees grizzlies all the time on the ridgeline above the resort, too… of which we also saw none. We did, however, have a pretty decent breakfast at the on-site restaurant. Very important. And they had craft lattes. I ordered the “White Grizzly,” a combination of irish cream and hazelnut for the road. Yum yum, indeed.
So, off we went, back over the treacherous pass from the day before. Only this time it was eight o’clock in the morning and the prior evening’s frost hadn’t even had a chance to melt from the car windshield yet. I was beyond relieved to find that, while snowing lightly, there was no accumulation on the roads… until we got to Avalanche Peak. Packed snow was still on the road for short time, but they’d laid gravel over top of it and we were able to make it through slowly, but surely. Jeff later told me that we did actually lose traction twice. “What would we do if we were both stressed out messes like you?,” he asked. A cruel, but very fair point. Can’t argue with that kind of logic. Damn him.
Stopped at a couple of spots that we’d passed up the prior day—Sylvan Lake and Steamboat Point. Sylvan Lake was partially frozen and so serene with the snowfall. When we hit the Grand Loop, we headed south to make our way towards Jackson Hole. Jeff saw a coyote in a nearby field. I can’t even believe he spotted the little guy he’s so well-camouflaged, but he was pouncing on something or other in the ground and trotting happily through the grass. Took a quick detour onto Gull Point Drive, where we pulled over to photograph Yellowstone Lake. I’m outside the car clicking away when I hear Jeff laughing. Apparently, there was a sign right in front of the car that neither one of us saw labeling the area closed due to increased bear activity. Thanks for lookin’ out, hubby. Kept driving and saw a Mountain Bluebird—small, high-energy, and a bright cerulean color. Just beautiful.
Continued south to Grand Teton National Park. I’ve been so excited for Jeff to see them for himself because they are truly spectacular. Every five miles, he asked if those mountains were them, or these other mountains, or those ones. …You’ll know them when you see them, honey bunny. And, sure enough, they eventually arrived—the Cathedral Group of Grand Teton, the tallest peaks in the range. I was a little disappointed it was so cloudy out because you couldn’t see the jagged tops of the mountains immediately, but the clouds periodically cleared, and we were blessed with breathtaking views. Selfie stick time! (And more photography tomorrow.)
Once we got to Jackson Hole, we were able to check into the Hampton Inn early. So sad that a Hampton Inn feels classy after the joints we’ve stayed at the past two nights. It even has a television. And Neutrogena bathroom products… which I might steal later. Ventured into town where we had a late lunch at a local brewery and moved on to the famous Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. The barstools are all saddles and, between the craft beer percentages (which I don’t usually drink) and the altitude, it became more and more difficult to “dismount” my seat. Three beers and I was doing just fine.
Because I was slightly inebriated, it seemed like a good idea to stop by an ice cream shop and order ridiculous amounts of ice cream in several flavors that, of course, I couldn’t finish. One of the employees turned out to be Bulgarian, so Jeff and I told him of our recent trip to Sozopol. Turns out, he lived an hour up the Black Sea coast from there. I tried to say “blagodarya” for his service (“thank you” in Bulgarian), but he gave me a perplexed look, so I must not have done a very good job. I have a history of butchering foreign languages. I honestly try, but… they’re bludgeoned nonetheless. Most foreigners do genuinely appreciate the effort when they figure out what the hell it is you’re attempting to say. #NoShameInTheForeignLanguageGame Try, try again.
We actually have a full day in Grand Teton tomorrow with a more relaxed schedule than we’re typically used to. I think I’ll enjoy it and take it easy. The #AdventurePartnerForLife and I are easily bored, but we’ll see how this thing called “vacation” works out for us.
Your Next “Edition:” You’ll want to make sure and read this one, folks. A very scary, very up-close encounter with wildlife. Tomorrow. Don’t miss out.
Today’s featured photo: Morning snowfall on Sylvan Lake in Yellowstone’s Absaroka region.
© 2016 Jordan Campbell. All rights reserved.