Monday, April 05, 2010

2010 USA Tour : April 2nd, South Yellowstone WY

Wyomingwill we won’t we?

Claire was set for a Good Friday in bed, but as the heavy snow was fast melting due to a gorgeous warm sunny morning I was up early and ready for action.

About 2:00 pm Claire was up and fancied a drive out too, so we were on the road heading towards Wyoming.

how far?

We reached a rest area at a place called Helse, I think, which was the start of being into the wooded mountains and by the Snake River that would lead us towards Yellowstone. The sun was out, it was warm, though snow underfoot had drifted to a couple of feet, so we decided to go as far as Swan Valley and decide from there.

Swan Valley, a real cowboy like “change the horses” kind of place gave a choice of two directions. One said scenic route, also with flashing lights saying it was not passable. I suggested to Claire we take that one, and despite her face going white with a bit of fear of the idea, that was the way we went.

The road climbed and climbed through the mountain valley getting more beautiful as we travelled. No sign of blocked road. Indeed it was well cleared and gritted by snow ploughs. At the highest point, the Wyoming state line, we stopped for a very late lunch.

A snow plough appeared and the driver advised us to turn around and go back as a fierce storm was coming. I was not happy about being kept out of Wyoming so I asked Claire if it was alright for us to take a chance and keep going.

Over the Wyoming border the road descended into some warm sunshine and we saw the storm developing behind us. Our timing worked well.

After some beautiful touring around the Targhee and Teton national forests and parks, also known as South Yellowstone, time had run out, so we never made it to central Yellowstone Park.

We stopped off at Jackson Hole, the beautiful gateway town to Yellowstone. I say beautiful as it is one of the few USA towns I have visited where there was an extreme effort to match and merge the buildings into the landscape. We needed supplies so we visited the Albertson’s supermarket there which is the most beautiful supermarket I have ever seen. Beautiful and supermarket in the same sentence seems quite extraordinary.

The selection of foods, nutritious and healthy foods, was the most stunning I have seen in a supermarket, and great prices too. Add to that, the most amazing, helpful friendly staff I have ever met in a supermarket too.

return to camp

We returned to Idaho Springs from Jackson along Route 26, initially because it was the most straightforward and easiest route. Little did we know this was the best to come for the whole day.

The road follows the Snake River, along its most stunning of scenes, wild bubbling rapids, emerald and olive green waters, beautiful trees and grasses beside it and even icebergs floating along it. Beside this were some real wild west ranches, fully dressed up cowboys with the hats, long coats and twirling ropes moving around truly fat horned “steers”. We also saw mustang horses watering by the river, I assume tamed, but still looked wild and graceful with their long swishing manes.

Then Snake River moved into Jackson Lake, a surreal blanket mass of frozen lake covered with a foot or more of snow.

After passing the source of the lake it was almost dark, and now a time to see a lot of deer and antelope, often crossing the road in front of us. There were flashing signs warning of us of Moose ahead, but we saw none of those. We were also told there was a lot of buffalo around where we drove, but alas we saw non of those either.

Overall, it was a very satisfying and awesome tourist Good Friday day, a wonderful taste of South Yellowstone, a wee bit of Wyoming cowboyism, and finishing with a meal of wonderful tastes of foods from one of the most beautiful supermarkets in the world.

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