Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.

Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.
Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A Little Rain/Snow Must Fall - Tues., June 13, 2017

Who is so lucky that their vacation doesn't have any rain or snow days? So far that has been us. Yesterday, the weather caught up to us in Yellowstone. Our day was not ruined. Planning an early morning walk and Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone before the weather came in, worked well for us. 

This morning, we woke up to light snow falling in the Old Faithful geyser basin. With travel over the Continental Divide three times looming before us, we had no idea what to expect as far as snow on the roadways. The temperature was hovering around 34 degrees.

Light snow falling as I look out my cabin door.
This is our cabin area
We pack up the van as it continues to lightly snow. Our drive south past Lake Yellowstone and over the three passes goes smoothly, with only slush on the roads.Trees laden with new-fallen snow show how much Yellowstone can change overnight. It adds a new level of beauty, and silence. (Photos were taken while driving by, so they're a little blurry.)

Darren stopped for this one photo (no one around)

Today's plan was to do a 10k Volksmarch at Two Ocean Lake in Grand Teton National Park. Susan M. wanted to go; Darren and I said no, it was too cold and rainy.

We made a pit stop at Flagg Ranch on the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. Bob and I had camped at Flagg Ranch on our 2012 visit to the area. We loved the RV park and had a spacious site in the trees. (In 2012, the RV site was $85/night. Location, location, location...plus, we didn't have reservations and it was the only RV site the Jackson Visitor Center could find for us.)

When we drove through today, the area all around Flagg Ranch was blackened from the Berry Fire in August/September 2016. Last year, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Parkway (the main south entrance to Yellowstone National Park) and Flagg Ranch were closed while firefighters battled to save the lodge, cabin, and RV park. You can see where the flames were stopped right at the edge of the cabins by the outside edge of the RV park. I was happy to see this area was not wiped off the map by the fire. We continued south.

Jackson Lake, which is usually bright blue with the Grand Teton Mountain Range directly behind it, was a turbid, roiling brown mess. Waves were crashing up onto the shore as if it were an ocean. No sign of the Grand Tetons could be seen; a wall of gray clouds hugged the far shore of the lake obscuring any sign of the beauty behind them.

Alas, this was our only view of the Tetons today.
We diligently looked for these animals. Nada.
Rainy day. What to do? Museum, laundry, movie. Simple. 

On our drive south through Grand Teton National Park, we stopped at Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center. Here, we learned the history of the area, all about the people who made this park what it is today, the types of activities supported by the park and saw an awesome 25-minute movie. At the end of the movie, curtains open up to show the Grand Tetons in all their glory. Not today, though. All we saw when they opened the curtains were rain, and fog hanging in the trees. Better luck next time.

We loved the detailed sculptures in the Visitor Center.

Mountain main and trapper
Washakie woman
Life-size moose
The following information reminded of a T-shirt I saw a guy wearing: The T-shirt had the colors of Mountain Dew®™, but the wording was Mountain Dude.

Tukuduka (Sheepeater) Indians
Manifest Destiny
While we were at the Visitor Center, I spoke to a park ranger about the Cascade Canyon Trail, lamenting that it was closed. I had read that, due to construction, the Jenny Lake Boat Ride dock, Hidden Falls, and Cascade Canyon Trails were closed. We would have to hike around Jenny Lake rather than do Cascade Canyon. It's a good thing I asked. He provided new information. The Jenny Lake Loop Trail was closed at Hidden Falls and the boat dock area. We could, however, hike the Cascade Canyon Trail, but we would need to park at the first String Lake parking lot and take the equestrian trail to hook up with Cascade Canyon Trail. This would add a couple of miles onto our hike. It was such good news I didn't care how much it added onto our hike. I also asked him how much snow was on the trail. He said as of two days ago, before the recent storm, the trail was about 5% snow covered. Good enough! We continued on to Jackson.

Upon our arrival in Jackson at 11:15 a.m., we went to the Antler Inn to see if our rooms were ready. Unfortunately, people were still in the rooms but packing up their cars according to the front staff. They told us to have lunch and come back after noon. 

We headed to Dairy Queen just in time to see a tour bus group of about 30 Chinese stepping off the bus to eat at Dairy Queen. They were slow. We dashed in, grabbed a table, and got in line to order. They immediately sat down, taking almost all the tables. Apparently, their order had been called in ahead of time. We ordered normally and received our food quickly. There were local newspapers so we read the paper and took our time eating.

When we returned to the motel, our rooms were ready. It was nice of Antler Inn to make up our rooms first. Their head housekeeper had gone into the office as soon as we left. The front desk staff notified housekeeping we were in town and they cleaned our rooms first. That gave us the opportunity to check in and do our laundry. 

The laundry room was inhabited by two young ladies who had been camping in Grand Teton National Park the two previous nights. What an experience they had. 

The day before, they went kayaking on Jackson Lake. The wind came up and kept dumping people in their group from their kayaks into the lake. They said their tour guides had to rescue people in their group a number of times and get them back in their kayaks. The water in that lake is COLD, as in glacier- and snow- melt. It's very easy to get hypothermia!

They went back to their tents after kayaking where it was rainy and windy. They couldn't get dry and they were very cold. Today, their group made a decision to spend two nights in a motel to do their laundry, get warm and feel civilized. They paid $280 per night for their motel rooms!!

If you haven't been to Jackson, Wyoming, you need to know that it is very upscale and expensive. Dairy Queen didn't have the usual specials, the movies were more expensive, Thai food was about $5 more per plate than what we pay in San Antonio, hotels were the most expensive on our trip (except for Cody, Wyoming, which we opted out of and chose Meeteetse 30 miles to the south instead). We made our reservations for Jackson in August of 2016 and paid $155 + tax. Thank goodness we made reservations way ahead!

Laundry done, Susan and I went to see "Wonder Woman." Both of us enjoyed the movie. Bob had seen the movie in San Antonio before we did. He didn't care for it, but then he's not into superhero/mythological/fantasy/sci-fi genres, so it wasn't surprising.

After the movie, we walked from our motel to Bon Appe Thai Restaurant three blocks from our motel. The restaurant was small and crowded. There was also outdoor seating, but it was cold and raining. We decided to sit inside at the bar. Pad Thai was our choice for dinner, which was good, but different and more expensive than our local (San Antonio) Thai restaurants.

I hoped for a hot tub in our motel. I had walked past a window by the office and saw a swimming pool, but didn't see a hot tub. It wasn't until we had checked out and I read their brochure that I found out they didn't have a pool. What I saw through the window was a 25-person hot tub. Sigh. Never assume anything.

And that is how you fill up a rainy day, my friends. Tomorrow, our plan is to hike Cascade Canyon in Grand Teton National Park.

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