I woke up on this morning with my mouth practically sticking shut. We'd broken into a bit of a bottle of whiskey the night before, as we huddled around the campfire and looked for ways to keep warm. I was paying for it this morning, and we were extremely low on water.
But I knew there was a long walk ahead of us. Lela and I were up well before Joey and Sarah, so we walked around the nearby grassland and took some pictures. Our site was right next to Grebe Lake, which offered us plenty of nice views - but was a little too wide for us to attempt a walk all the way around.
Okay, so backcountry camping was a bad idea. We simply weren't equipped for the task. We were all terribly weighed down by dangling balls of gear, and our water supply was bordering on dangerously low. Joey went as far as to collect some water from the lake and bring it to a boil over the fire, and drank it down to Sarah and Lela's chagrin. Thankfully he didn't get sick.
The walk back was terrible, even worse than the day before because this time the sun was beating down on us from directly overhead. Once again, Lela and I got way ahead of Joey and Sarah, and once we reached the car we dropped our stuff and turned around to meet them with some water we got from the car. The whole endeavor was something that I was glad to have done, but would think very hard before trying again.
We drove to the South entrance on our way out of the park, which of course leads directly into Grand Teton National Park
, also in Wyoming. This might have been the wrong way to go about things, because after two days in majestic Yellowstone, there wasn't much about the Grand Tetons that was so spectacular. The place was beautiful, don't get me wrong - but especially given how exhausted we all felt from our backcountry experience, we made our visit to the park a short one.
From here we drove through Jackson, Wyo. and the small part of the state that remained before Idaho. Wyoming is such a strange place - the state is about a five hour drive from one side to the other, and has a lower population than any other state in the nation, even lower than Washington, D.C. I don't doubt that the people out here prefer it that way, but I wonder what it is that keeps so many people away from Wyoming. I'd go back in a heartbeat.
The notion of being in Idaho was just completely ridiculous to me. All that this place has ever been, to me, is a place very far away where they make potatoes and kids like Napoleon Dynamite. I knew we could find one of those two, hopefully without much trouble - and as we drove into Idaho Falls, we did a quick sweep on Yelp
for a good place to eat a hot meal and a hot potato.
We found one with the word "brewery" in the name, the Brownstone Restaurant and Brewery
, and merrily galloped in the door. I know this is a predominantly Mormon town, so the notion of finding good local beer was one I certainly hadn't considered.
The beer was decent, nothing to write to Grandma about. For me, the main course was the potato, with a cheeseburger on the side. But aside from the zig-zag cut, there was really nothing special about this potato. It was good, but it was a potato. I get the feeling that if they had shipped this potato across the country and eaten it a month from now, it would have tasted pretty much the same. Still, it was one of the better meals I'd had for a few days and it was welcome in my stomach.
After dinner we ran around and snapped a few photos of the nearby scenery, which included this Mormon temple across the Snake River. I thought for a moment that, based on his pose, the statue on top might have been another Vulcan
, like the one we saw way back in Birmingham, Ala. Upon further research, I discovered it's actually Moroni, one of the many ridiculous characters in the Mormon
faith. It takes some crazy people to make Alabamans look like the sensible ones, but leave it to those Mormons.
Better hold my tongue, though - Lela's flight was the next morning out of none other than Salt Lake City, Utah. We conquered the drive south at night, to avoid hurrying in the morning. More on the next day's adventures coming soon.