Posted: August 29, 2005 in Uncategorized


Having spent as much time around Peyton as I have in the past, I’m unphased by opening my eyes in the morning to have an antelope staring me in the face. Peyton is a consummate hunter, and if you were to walk into his house, this fact would be made glaringly obvious. Heads, skulls, antlers, and fish adorn every wall, some to the point that you have to maneuver around them just to sit down. His dining room table is rendered virtually useless by an impressively large elk head materializing out of his garage wall as if it were trying to get to the kitchen and got stuck halfway, and now can only stare longingly at the fridge. Hunting is very much a part of who Peyton is, and he lives it with only the highest ethics. Everything he kills he uses to its fullest; friends actually shop at his freezer rather than the supermarket for BBQs.

Recharged from my stay and my visit, I say my goodbyes to Peyton and Breanne and point myself south to Yellowstone. This day has all the markings of a good one, since my route is a fairly short one, and my plan is to end up back around City of Rocks to spend the night, marking the last stop before home. Plus, almost the moment I leave Bozeman I leave the bare plains behind me and enter the far more familiar territory of forested river valleys. The smell alone relaxes me. Even the fact that the seemingly endless caravan of campers and trailers are oblivious to the significance of slow vehicle pullouts does little to phase me.

The moment I approach Yellowstone, I realize what a tourist trap it’s become. People are crawling all over West Yellowstone, one of the towns perched immediately outside the gates of the park to price-gouge vacationers. The buildings and shops are still clinging to the 50s heyday of Yellowstone, but the atomic families in Chevy woody station wagons are long gone, replaced by throngs of pasty, overweight families on cell phones. I barely stop as I drive through the park, as every park attraction is more akin to a line at Disneyland than majestic wilderness. However, a sense of obligation requires me to stop and watch Old Faithful go off, and it dutifully obliges right on schedule. That bit of historic significance under my belt, I beat it out the south end of the park.

At this point I’m running a bit behind schedule after wading through the crowds, so I don’t really have time for any exploration into the Tetons or Jackson Hole as I cruise by. The Tetons strike me as a beautiful but remarkably short mountain range, being used to the continental stretches of the Rockies and the Cascades. Jackson Hole seems to be suffering from the same excessive injection of seasonal residents with money as Sisters, or to a greater degree Steamboat Springs. However with ski chair lifts starting right on the edge of town, climbing and hiking in the Tetons, and undoubtably kayaking and fishing in the Snake nearby, I can see where its popularity comes from.

Once I cross the southern tail of the Tetons, I wind back down into the open stretches of Idaho and make tracks for the Sawtooths, home of City of Rocks and the closing point of my loop around the northwestern US. On a whim, I turn off at an off-season ski area and climb, looking for somewhere promising to park for the night, a now familiar pattern that has yet to disappoint. After passing a couple decent but unspectacular spots and official campgrounds, I follow a hunch on a rocky road around a small hill near the summit, and I’m rewarded with one of the best views yet. My campsite is perched on an outcropping at the edge of the mountain, with the entire south Idaho basin stretching away to the west out to the horizon, the Snake a thin filament of silver winding across it. Satisfied, I set up my chair, read until the sun starts to set, and watch the sun go down almost directly over home. I can almost touch the end of my journey.

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Comments
  1. Anonymous says:

    awesome photos

  2. muffster says:

    🙂 I was so excited to see you the next day i could hardly stand it *blushes*
    I am glad you have taken the time to realy tell about your trip. I think it made an impact on your life.

  3. Anonymous says:

    🙂 I was so excited to see you the next day i could hardly stand it *blushes*

    I am glad you have taken the time to realy tell about your trip. I think it made an impact on your life.

  4. “Being in Yellowstone can be like going to Disneyland, complete with crowds”
    Kind of like standing in the rain complaining that you’re wet.

    • Reuben says:

      Well, with Disneyland it’s like you saw the rain, heard the thunder, and went outside anyway while refusing an umbrella. Never having been to Yellowstone or anywhere near it, it was more like going ignoring the forecast because you couldn’t see the clouds coming, and just expecting maybe a drizzle.

  5. Anonymous says:

    “Being in Yellowstone can be like going to Disneyland, complete with crowds”

    Kind of like standing in the rain complaining that you’re wet.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, with Disneyland it’s like you saw the rain, heard the thunder, and went outside anyway while refusing an umbrella. Never having been to Yellowstone or anywhere near it, it was more like going ignoring the forecast because you couldn’t see the clouds coming, and just expecting maybe a drizzle.

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