Day 68

Monday, August 1, 2005Grand Teton NP, WY
Miles: 7325Heh, you said Teton.

Due to the cold and the cool zipping hood feature of our sleeping bags, the first thing Keath saw upon waking was a papoose, also known as his wife. After forcing ourselves out of the warmth, we quickly ate breakfast and got on the road. Grand Teton NP was our destination and Wyoming was our backdrop. We kept saying to each other, “Look dear, Wyoming.” It seemed appropriate, as there was nothing much else to comment on. Until we saw some pronghorn antelope. Quite a majestic animal, with white and brown stripes and massive black antlers shaped like, well, prongs. They leap well too, as one cleared the fence along the road side quite easily as he was trying to get away from our cameras. There was some construction that actually seemed to be necessary and while we were stopped, we admired the Fontenelle Reservoir.

After some more Wyoming, we got to Jackson. Urgh. Tourist trap junk that is necessary if one wishes to go to Grand Teton. We braved the information center, found out which campgrounds were most likely to have availability, which float trips did not start in Jackson (we did not want to come back) and then continued on our way.

We stopped in Moose, Wyoming to make reservations for an evening float trip down the Snake River and then headed for Calder Bay, the campground that we had decided on. It was already cold, so we merely stuck our camp chairs out to imply occupancy and then headed back out to view some sights.

The information woman had told us that Jenny Lake was a nice hike, and that we could get to Hidden Falls with only a half mile hike. We had several hours before our 4 pm float trip, so we decided to check it out. After fighting with what seemed like half the population of Minnesota, we made it to the trailhead, only to discover that the woman had lied. The trail was a half mile only if you took a boat ride first. We did not have time for this, and so just walked part of the trail and then continued on our scenic drive.

We arrived a little early for our float trip and wandered around the pseudo frontier buildings for awhile, then met up with our guide, Eric. We unfortunately also had to meet the New Orleans family that would be sharing our journey, including a mother who seemed to try really hard to always have the correct expression on her face and the grandmother who was clearly paying for everything and therefore had a right to be a complete controlling psycho in her designer rain gear. Oy. Luckily, we ended up in the back of the raft with the sane family from Casper, WY.

Once on the water, Eric broke out his sense of humor. He sang pseudo Italian love songs (in response to Keath’s comment about feeling like he was in Venice, with Eric rowing us around) and humorous commentary about the pompous nature of some Jacksonites. Eric, we learned, had spent the past two summers guiding raft trips, and therefore knew all about where the birds hung out (most of the wildlife we saw was avian in nature) and how to hold the oars when pointing things out. Alarmingly, this involved shoving them in his crotch or wedging them under a butt cheek. Yow. Everyone on the boat winced at least once at some of his oar placement, but he didn’t seem to care. A few things we learned from Eric:
  • Grand Teton (or “the Grand”) is the mountain in the Paramount logo, though from the West side.
  • Wyoming has great clouds that “totally trip him out”
  • Our personal favorite: Golden Eagles are off the hook. Seriously.

Along with our birdie friends, we also saw some marmots, a piece of metal Keath thought was a marmot, some river otters and big, smelly, dead elk. Yum. Eric also enlightened us about some humorous things his previous customers had asked, such as, did beavers build the gigantic stone levees? Yes, he answered, big, 23 foot wide beavers. We realized when we were done that Keath’s ‘marmot’ would probably be used to entertain future floaters.

Our fun and relaxing adventure ended around 7:30 and after thanking Eric profusely, we went off in search of dinner and the elusive showers, which you apparently have to pay for when you’re in a National Park whose services are administrated by a for profit entity. After having a run in with the bitchiest woman ever, who yelled at us for coming in to take a shower at 5 of 9 and charging us $7 for the privilege, we finally got clean, cooked dinner in the dark and went to bed in the rain. Luckily, Vantom was there to protect us, at least from the dampness. Short of vehicular homicide, he could have done little about the shower Nazi.