Saturday, May 24, 2008
We left Flaming Gorge early on the 23rd and decided to take Matt’s advice to drive on 320 and then 189 to Jackson. Quite unexpectedly it ended up being one of the most beautiful drives we have ever taken.
The first part wasn’t new, as we followed the Green River northward, but as the Wind River Mountains became visible the view of them was the best we have ever seen. Of course we knew that Gannet Peak is the highest point in Wyoming but the view from other Wyoming roads is so far away that you don’t appreciate the majesty of the Winds. It rivals the Tetons and the Sawtooths of Idaho. The snow capped peaks and flanks reminded us that as we were heading into the mountains we were heading into winter and we were glad we rescued our long johns and winter coats from the bins in his garage.
Soon there was snow along the roadway, but the roads were clear of ice and dry. Signs frequently reminded us that the elk were migrating, although we didn’t see any. So it was with a bit of apprehension as we neared the Hoback and Hoback Canyon. It was needless worry. The roads were dry and we were treated to a spectacular mountain drive. We both had no idea that this drive would be so beautiful. The road itself was quite good and wide and we had no problem with our long rig.
The drive through the town of Jackson, Wyoming renewed my disgust with tourist towns,( I really think the true Wyoming spirit is in the small towns and the boom towns. Places were real people work hard for a living. We had friends who taught there and left, saying it was no place to raise a family as the clothes and their labels defined your status). We were also surprised at the number of tourists already flooding the roadways.
Another sign warned us that three moose and already died in vehicle collisions, yet we were the only ones who were driving the speed limit. Car after car rode our bumper and passed us. It was a far cry from my trips to the area during hunting season and our trips to the Teton Science school.
Finally reaching Moran Junction we turned into the park entrance gate only to be told that the rv park hadn’t opened because of today’s snow,(It turned out they had opened but the snow took down the phone lines so his information was outdated). Renita spotted a red fox cruising through the parking lot and we saw elk with the usual traffic jams. We stopped at the Colter Bay visitor center where we were told the rv park was open, but not the main campground so we checked in and parked in a nice spot surrounded by lodge pole pines.
The rest of the day was our typical moving day routine, with the exception that we had to bear proof our coolers and the truck bed by locking the collers up inside the truck. No bears were around the campsite yet but a mother bear and three cubs were reported to be two miles away,(the same mother bear attacked a hiker in Colter Bay last spring as he surprised the bears on their newly killed elk calf). After dinner we walked down to Jackson Lake, only a hundred yards away yet hidden by the dense black forest. A fine day. Clear skies.