Sunday, July 15, 2007

vacation catch-up

More of the sunset at Jackson Lake

My trip to the Tetons and Yellowstone last week was really nice. The purpose of the trip was to visit Mary Ann, a friend from work, at the university's research station up at Jackson Lake. I hadn't ever been to NW Wyoming, but I've long heard it's gorgeous. I arrived on Thursday a couple of hours before the weekly barbecue and seminar. The speaker, Bob Smith, and his topic, the Yellowstone Caldera, are insanely popular, so tons of people showed up. It was fun to pitch in and help keep the food replenished and direct people to bathrooms and recycling bins. If there's one thing I know, it's hostessing.

The talk was really interesting, and I learned some cocktail party-worthy information about Yellowstone and the Tetons. After the guests were gone and everything was cleaned up, my hosts, Bob and his wife, and assorted friends gathered on the dock for wine. Some of the grad students and kids who work at the station came down soon after. The sunset was gorgeous. I couldn't stop taking pictures because the sky kept changing and getting prettier and prettier. Unreal. Sitting there at the water's edge made me homesick and happy at the same time.

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

On Friday, I went to Yellowstone with Mary Ann. It was pretty, and we saw lots of animals. Because it's summer, and it was the weekend following July 4, it was pretty crowded. When we were at Artists' Point, which is so amazingly beautiful, I noticed a woman talking on her cell phone and bitching about something. How can you go to Yellowstone and ignore the view in favor of your phone? The crush of people was annoying, but I had a really fun time chatting with Mary Ann and looking at everything. She took me to her favorite sights, which was really cool. I was surprised how much I liked the geysers and mineral pools, and by how many there were just at the couple of places we stopped.

River and Mountains
View of Grand Teton from our raft on the Snake

On Saturday, Mary Ann and Hank took me on a rafting trip down the Snake River. It was a scenic stretch and it was fun to see animals and have Hank talk about them. We stopped on a bank for lunch and I waded around a bit. The only thing that kind of sucked is that in addition to adding to my bug bite collection, I was dumb and only reapplied sunscreen to my (already burned) upper half, so my lower legs and feet got toasted. As somebody who grew up on the water and rowed in high school, I should know better. I think I burned a different part of myself every day for the past two weeks. Still, I really had fun going out on the water. Hank showed me how to row the raft, too, which is completely opposite everything I'm used to from crew. I just had to get used to going against my instincts and just think of it as rowing backward.

After brunch and some window shopping in Jackson with Mary Ann, I left for home on Sunday afternoon. The drive home was just as gorgeous as the drive up there, even though it got stormy. In fact, I was kind of glad for the drop in temperature. If you're really interested, you can see the whole set of pictures from my trip. No road photos this time; holiday traffic and mountain passes kept me from recklessly driving while snapping.

1 comment:

kingjumpsuit said...

WTF, pics have totally blown me away. Had no idea that Yellowstone was that cool. I always associated it with the Jellystone KOA I stayed at in South Dakota as a kid.