Prev: Day 5: Casper to Dubois, WY
Next: Day 7: Into Yellowstone, the hard way
10/05/2011: Day 6: Dubois to Jackson Hole in the rain
Day 6: Dubois, WY is a nice place, and we should come back. This morning I got up and "developed" some pix for Day 5 while Karen slept in. At about 8 I heard a people in the lobby discussing going up to the Old Faithful Inn for its last 3 days of the year. As this was also our plan, I went out to join them. So I sat under the moose in the log cabin lobby and chatted with like-minded travelers for a while. Karen meanwhile woke, came out for coffee, decided that we were too voluble a clutch for this early in the morning, and walked up and down the two steps over to our room to wake up and use the computer.

One thing I noticed when we entered this town last night was the sheer mass of antlers. There are arches over walkways, towers, and signs made up of antlers. I'd chatted with a hunter, and the limit this season is six does, a buck and two antelope.

The weather has changed. There was an early October heat wave this year. Two days ago I wore shorts, a t-shirt, and sunscreen. Today went from jeans and a light long sleeved shirt up to heavy sweater, gloves, wool hat, and ear warmers.

After I finished choosing pictures, we hit the road. Karen had meanwhile packed up everything and gassed up the car. I uploaded the pictures (but you still couldn't see them) and carried the heavy stuff to the car. It wasn't yet raining, but the low clouds made the scenery sort of gray and flat. There were occasional glimpses of mountains.

So we drank coffee and ate banana bread (thx Henry from Lincoln) as we drove up SU-287/US-26 across Togwotee Pass (elevation 9544 feet). There were several construction zones where we had to wait for a Pilot Car. At one stop, the taciturn flagger had to hide behind his stop sign from a bout of driving rain, and shake the water out of his walkie talkie occasionally. At another, a friendly flagger chatted with us about the roads, the weather, and things to see. I took a time lapse of the clouds hitting the mountain, and then our trip through the construction.
The rainy drive from Dubois, WY to Jackson Hole, WY involved crossing the under-construction road over the Togwotee Pass. Here we are waiting for a pilot car to take us over the first leg.
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I did collect time-lapse clips of low clouds on the mountain as we waited, and of our drive through the construction.
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The road building equipment seems quite large, up close. Note the truck tires taller than our pilot pickup truck.
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The second loop of construction was quite wearing, and we seriously needed a travel break as soon as we got out of it. Fortunately, the Buffalo Ranger District Bridger-Teton ranger station was open back down at 6,880 feet. Note how the periodic driving rain reduced the fire danger to "Moderate."
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When we finally got out of the longest construction zone, we stopped at the ranger station. The very friendly ranger was full of suggestions of where to stay and what to see in the Tetons/Yellowstone area. We waited out another heavy rain there, and then drove on into Teton National Park. One of Karen's main regrets on this trip is forgetting our parks pass. It is still good for the month, and would have saved us the entry fees in these parks. Oh, well. The money is for a good cause.

So we drove along the park "scenic" roads, looking at the dry scrub and clouds, when we saw a bunch of people standing around with cameras at a pull-out. We joined them. In good weather, this is one of the scenic postcard views celebrated for over a century. Today, it was a gray lake and clouds. The fall foliage was nice, though. But I decided to set up another time lapse, and watch the clouds scud where mountains should be. Eventually, they gave up a view of the mountains. I make an appearance in this dark-at-noontime video, so don't blink.
(45 minutes compressed to 1½, camera original, no sound)


There were a couple of Germans with big digital cameras in the group. I enjoy hearing a language that I can almost follow.
Here is the set up for the time-lapse video of our first real view of the Tetons that is embedded in the text description of the day (/2011OctTrip/trip.cgi?Date=10/05/2011).
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We had a nice hot lunch at the Signal Mountain Lodge, and then went to see the view from Signal Mountain.
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I do like the layered look in my landscapes. It is fun to watch rain off in the distance, and sit for long enough to see the clouds in motion.
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We then drove up to Signal Mountain Lodge for lunch. We sat at a window and I took another time lapse of the view while we ate. I had a simple chili-burger. Well, elk chili on a bison burger with sweet potato fries. Then a hot brownie sundae with a latte. Oomph.


After lunch, we drove on up to the top of Signal Mountain (7,720') and looked around. The clouds and fog and drizzle made for interesting, if not really photogenic, views. As we drove down the mountain, the rain began in earnest. We stopped at several pull outs for foggy glimpses of glaciers, and took a break at the Jenny Lake lodge. We assume there is a lake there.

Karen had long been telling me about how spectacular the Grand Tetons were. On this rainy day, my first time seeing them, I am less than impressed. But you can make out some glaciers from this scenic pull-out.
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Here is our view of scenic Jenny Lake. The sign says that we should be seeing a mountain and glacier reflected in a lake. Not today. We did stop at the Jenny Lake Lodge to use the facilities. But their rooms are out of our fiscal reach.
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We drove on down to Jackson through the rain, passing lookouts that themselves were barely visible. There was a big lighted sign saying, "Lots of moose crossing road!" near the Elk Refuge.

We easily found the Anvil Motel, recommended by the Buffalo Ranger. A place to stay a block from the center of Jackson, WY (popularly misnamed Jackson Hole) for under $70! We actually stayed in the El Rancho, an even ricketier building behind the Anvil but run by the same people.
Thin walls, creaky floors, and a tiny shower. But excellent WiFi and good beds.

So I spent an hour or two captioning and posting the Day 5 pix while Karen pored over maps.

The next morning as Karen packed up and checked maps and the rain poured down outside, I wrote this up. For time's sake, I chose to skip the time consuming pictures, but uploading the one raw video. Our next 3 days in Yellowstone promise no WiFi, but I can compose there and upload when we leave the park. Last time in Yellowstone (2001), I sent plain text email reports via dial-up and only added pictures after I got home.

Karen discovered that we are up high when she opened a bulging half'n'half for her coffee. Spurt! Some clean up required.

Some observations about being up here in the high and dry hills:
- Everyone has cloth shower curtains, they dry quickly.
- Coffee cannot be scalded (down in the valley of Jackson Hole (6,237ft) water boils at 93°C/200°F. Therefore few places have bad coffee and many have excellent.
- I need lip balm! Me?
Next: Day 7: Into Yellowstone, the hard way

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