Coming out of Crystal Creek was
better. I did see a boulder, that had it been three feet further in the middle
of the road, there would have been no way to get around it or move it. So it
wasn’t just the actual things that happened that stressed me out, it was the
hypothetical things that might happen that stressed me out too.
Along the way just off the dirt road
was the Red Hill Ranch which had a stock of like fifty horses and colts grazing
in lush green pastures. Both the horses and the setting were quite beautiful.
It was hard to get any good pictures but a Google search revealed this was a
working ranch that raises horses for purchase. Just beautiful.
Shadow Mountain wasn’t far down the
smooth pavement of Antelope Flatts Road but my thinking was it was Labor Day
and people would be traveling today and we have no trouble finding a spot. But
I was overridden—anybody seeing a pattern here?
At the entrance to Shadow Mountain
was another dirt road. Hoping to avoid it I flagged down a couple of guys with
Massachusetts plates exiting. They told us the mountain was empty and they had
just left a site with a great view of the Tetons. We thanked them and said “Go
Bills,” to which they responded, “Good luck with that!”
Though I didn’t want to drive down
another dirt road and up a mountain, we did. I was getting really mad at Donna
but when we got to the site the Massachusetts guys had just left it was so
worth it. As advertised it had a stunning view of the Tetons.
I made a breakfast of egg whites
with onions, peppers and sausage while Donna laid claim to this spot by setting
down our 6x9 plastic road carpet and a collapsible chair—not our deluxe lawn
chairs. Of course, she then went looking for rocks. It was superb call to come
up the mountain to not only get the spot, but to have breakfast with those
three great peaks staring us down.
After a quick trip to the Visitor
Center where Donna bought a monocular—like binoculars without the
bi, we went on a 10K hike to Taggert Lake. At the head of the trail we met a
lovely Asian woman named V who asked if she could walk with us. Her husband had
a bad back and wasn’t up for the hike. During the beautiful uphill rocky walk
we shared a little bit of who we were with V and she with us. Donna told her
about this blog and V told us about her son who was thinking about giving up on
medical school because of Covid—he was shocked and depressed that so many
bought the disinformation rather than the science.
V also snapped a bunch of selfies
while I sat on a log taking it all in and Donna looked for rocks. The trip back
down was better for Donna and V than the way up. It was worse for me because of
my creaky knees and ankles, but behind us was a group of college girls and I
could hear their conversation about some dorm room drama. I love hearing
people’s random conversations whether it be a loud guy on the phone in a
restaurant or a group of girls on a hike.
In all the hike had taken a couple
of hours. We needed to get dinner supplies, so we went to the Colter Bay Center
which had a grocery store and a gift shop. It was almost forty minutes from where
we were at Taggert Lake so round trip was going to be almost two hours and we
needed to hustle. In addition to driving mistakes costing you twenty-thirty
minutes, everyplace you wanted to go was a haul too, even when you knew where
you were going.
But it turned out great. I fried up some burgers while Donna made a fire and we listened some Outlaw Country—Linda, Ronstadt, Kathleen Edwards, Drive By Truckers—watching the sun fall sublimely behind the Tetons.