Curses, foiled again!

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April 23rd 2016
Published: April 23rd 2016
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Backtracking again

Day: 6 & 7

Miles: 2187

After leaving Kemmerer, I took US 30 north, and ever so briefly went into Utah (really, like 1 mile). I took SR 61 at the border which dumped me onto US 89 on the inside border of Wyoming. My goal was to get to Yellowstone and camp for the night at one of their campgrounds before I hightailed it for Montana. The drive on 89 all he way to Jackson was scenic. I was making great time and was really thinking I would camp on the norther side of Yellowstone after taking the eastern loop (I've never done that).

After a brief pit stop in Jackson, I headed north on US 191/89. The Tetons off to the west were very beautiful and I remembered nostalgically the time Emily and Luci got a cabin there and rented a boot at Jenny Lake at the foot of the Grand Tetons. They just reminded me that on the eastern side of the lake it was hot and sweltering but when we got across the lake, the cold wind blowing down from the mountains was frigid as all get out. I hadn't forgotten. Really.

I continued north on 191 to the road split where one road goes to the south entrance and the other goes south east to Dubois. Guess what I found at the split? You got it one. The damn road to the south entrance was closed about 26 miles in (thank God I saw that before I drove there). So I pulled on over hoping this was some sick joke and pulled up the official website for Yellowstone and found out that while the park is open 365 days a year, the south entrance was seasonal and wasn't due to open for another work or so. Arrrrgggggggg!!!

I looked for a short cut to get around Yellowstone. There ain't no such thing. So basically I went north just to turn around and go back to Jackson. What is it with Wyoming? Here I was about to blog about how much I love traveling in Wyoming, with the roads so easy to travel and speed limits which are really suggested lower limit (EXCEPT in towns and cities) and the state goes and, not once but twice, forces me to backtrack.

Back in Jackson, I took SR 20 to Victor in Idaho and from there went north on State Roads 33 & 32 respectively to Ashton. I gotta tell you, that drive through the rolling hills with the plowed fields as far as they eye could see was beautiful in it's own austere way. You can imagine how green and verdant these hills are going to be during the growing season. The mountains in the background only adds to the beauty. In retrospect, coming this way instead of through Yellowstone had a reward all it's own. I had no idea that Idaho was this beautiful.

From Ashton I went north looking for campsites with the vague idea that I would enter Yellowstone from the western entrance (which was open) and proceed to camp in the northern section of Yellowstone. However, near the Idaho, Montana, Wyoming border I found the perfect spot: Henry's Lake State Park. It was a nearly empty campsite. I think th campsite was mostly for people traveling with campers. I setup camp right before the mostly ice covered Henry's Lake. Enchanting, especially with the setting sun off to the west.

After some Kimchi instant soup and noodles (which was WAY hotter than I was expecting), I just sat by the fire and contemplated the scenery with the aid of my dad's hooch (I'm trying to get rid of it Patty!). Very Relaxing.

I went to bed and promptly woke up around 2 or 3 o'clock AM with what must have been an entire herd of elk, deer, moose and the occasional buffalo tromping through my camp. Literally, I could here them walk right next to my head (inches on the other side of the tent) as they explored my camp. I was tired and just wanted to go back to sleep but I was a little afraid they would accidentally step on the tent (and me by default). So, I cleared my throat rather loudly hoping they would leave. I had a vague hope that they wouldn't panic and stampede. Did they leave? Noooooooo, they just kept doing whatever animals do in someone's camp when they are not meat eaters. So I loudly scrapped the inside of my tent hoping that would send them on their way. No such luck. Finally my tiredness won out and I just went back to sleep still hoping they wouldn't step on me. I woke up in the morning with tracks all over the ground (some literally inches from my head!) and the camp no worse for wear.

After a scrumptious breakfast of macaroni and cheese (with microwave instructions only!) and Krispix cereal, I headed north on 87 into Montana, which became US 287, all the way to Helena where I found a Starbucks to have my Latte and write this blog entry. Life's hard. On the way, I unintentionally go up close and personal with a herd of Buffalo and Big Horn Sheep on the side of the road!

The plan is to head north and around Glacier National Park find a camp. Tomorrow I plan to enter Canada from US 93.

Additional photos below
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23rd April 2016

Maybe you were meant to travel that way! 😉
23rd April 2016

Idaho is beautiful
In January 2011, we (me, Kristy, Alex, Dan and Norene) left our initial hotel in Jackson for our road trip into Yellowstone. We didn't plan the easy route to the south entrance. We planned to drive through Idaho and Montana to the north entrance. Idaho's rolling hills were an unexpected beauty to behold. We crossed the continental divide into Montana for our bed and breakfast in Bozeman. We have no guilt about avoiding camping. Bozeman has a much better nightlife than I expected so you can find it there if you are in the mood for that. From Bozeman we dodged deer southbound on the way to Gardiner, Montana and on to the majestic Mammoth Springs Hotel. We knew the roads would be closed in Yellowstone because we planned a 150 mile snowmobile trip over the roads that we knew would be unpaved for the winter season. It was awesome!
24th April 2016

Sounds like you have the requisite skills I need. I'll pick you up at Fairbanks.🙂

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