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.
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)
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.
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?