Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Into the Mountains

Grand Teton Range over Jenny Lake, Wyoming
Clocking off three more states in the leg of the trip, we nipped into Idaho and Montana and really got amongst Wyoming. Really feeling the effects of moving north and getting back into the action of the mountains, this is where our lack of sleeping equipment really became noticeable. Also now starting to get really confused, we have moved from the coast through valleys to mountains to deserts and more deserts and now more mountains. Along with its expanse, comes an immense vastness in this county, and we were becoming very impressed!

Our drive north was really manageable, quite long but the way we planned it we had no destination so we just sort of kept thinking its not so far until we had managed 6+ hours and made it to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Not letting a flat tyre or the police car tailing me or beautiful surroundings distract us too much. This drive was a bit like there welcome sign says, "Forever West" with rolling green pastures, tall snow caped mountains and sleepy towns to pass by, very similar to NZ in many ways. Unfortunately that night by poor judgment we chose our campsite on a late arrival right by the ice cold river deep in the valley with several thousand meter high peaks surrounding us. What I learnt in my Environmental Science degree at university slipped my mind that evening: mountains are cold, cold air sinks and mountains funnel cold air and did it ever!

After a bitterly cold night we visited the adventure town of Jackson, a home for climbing, kayaking, mountaineering, snow-sports and all sorts of fantastic things. We didn't get to play though, maybe another time. Right on the door step of the Grand Tetons National Park we headed that way and made inquires at a ranger station as to what to do in the park. Taken back a bit by the ranger that essentially assured us we were going to get attacked by bears, and should arm ourselves with bear 'pepper' spray (which we never bought), we cautiously headed in the proverbial bears den.

Thomas in Jenny Lake
Now living in terror, we made camp at the beautiful Jenny Lake Campground and tested our luck and went for a little walk along the lakeside. Startled by a deer, then thinking about the potential food source for some friendly bears, I was far too scared to be out so we headed back to the semi-safty at the campsite. To calm myself down I took an afternoon swim in the lake which was fantastically freezing. 

With the increased coldness I was able to improve my beer cooling system using some snow. We made our first campfire that night taking advantage of the firepit which every campsite we stayed at had. We also made friends with a Canadian couple and had some campfire drinks and stories! That night a terrified Amy was certain a deep breathing bear was lurking right at the tent, more likely it was me snoring! Off to Yellowstone the next day!!!

Thomas & Amy keeping safe from bears on the lake edge!

1 comment:

  1. I think you should have bought the anti-bear spray!