Grand Teton 2 – River Rafting

Day 3

Up the River With Roslyn, Down the River With Dave

Thankfully our exile in Rexburg was over so we started east on Hwy 33 towards the img_5143-1Tetons. When we were half way to the mountains we saw rain in the distance. While pretty, it could make a miserable day on the water. Luckily, it passed as we ascended Teton Gap.

We arrived at the park visitor center early, of course, and toured their  small museum. We saw a similar display of an old wagon, the kind Pa used to hitch Patches, our farm horse to, and img_2406go into town for supplies. Again the courage of the pioneers struck us.

A few minutes early, of course, we went to the float trip pick up parking lot.

”Sorry, Rose. No dogs allowed on the raft. Be a good girl and stay with Roslyn after we board .”

img_5152-1Roslyn is the driver for the Triangle X Ranch in Moose. It’s a dude ranch that runs the float tours and wilderness vacations in the summer.

“It’s not fair,” Rosie cried. “I can swim, probably better than you and my toenails were cut so I won’t punch holes in the raft. It’s just not fair.”

”You are right. It’s not fair, but it is the way it is. Don’t you see that sign there?” pointing to a sign at the pick up site. The sign actually said “Float Trip Loading Area” but I knew Rosie couldn’t read.img_5153-1

“Ok. Ok. I will wait, but you will owe me. Big time,” she snarled as she went and lay down next to Roslyn as we loaded the shuttle to take us up to the starting point of our float trip down the Snake River. Rosie was asleep on the front seat before the van doors closed. I didn’t feel too bad at all.

Roslyn drove the 8 of us, along with Dave, our guide, his float and of course Rosie upriver about 10 miles. We were to float back down the Snake to where we parked our cars. Needless to say, the scenery was magnificent, a word we used a lot the last couple of days, along with g-damn, as in “G-damn would you look at that!”

Dave told us that this time of the day and this time of year he more often than not sees moose along this stretch of river. That really means there is about a 50:50 chance. Well luckily, we were on the right side of the bell curve. We saw a small cow walking along the river and swimming downstream (left photo, above the log.) She was about 100 yards away so the photos aren’t great but it was extremely cool. We also saw a bald eagle (center photo 2/3rds the way up the tree on the right hand side) and its nest. Dave said there was a fledgling in the nest. I was lucky to be able to see the nest.

img_5183When we were about a half mile upstream from our landing we saw a bull moose lazing in the water staying cool. (Right picture, right in the middle.)  There was also a large crane walking through the brush. I don’t remember what species it was. It is on the shore, very difficult to see, even with the naked eye.

Our plan for after the float trip was to drive up through Yellowstone (I can’t help calling it Jellystone) on Rt. 191 then turn right (East) on 14 and exit the park by the Smith Mansion and Wapiti.

Not long after entering Yellowstone we saw a herd of bison next to the road. Fran and I jumped our of the car to take pictures while Rosie cowered in the back seat.

img_5207”Those are BIG cows, Dad,” she whispered. “They wouldn’t even know they stepped on me. I will just stay here while you take your pictures.”

”They are bison, you chicken,” I said quietly, then chuckled. “Our dog is a chicken. Heh, heh-heh, heh.”

When we saw the turn to Wapiti and the park exit, the sign also said Old Faithful was only about 30 minutes west. We turned left towards the geyser. When we arrived, we parked and walked towards the geyser.

“Too bad, Rose,” I told her. “Take a look at the sign. You wait here. We will be back within the hour.”img_5208

”Oh, great,” whined Rosie. “This is just a great vacation.”

When we were about 100 yards away I could see that the geyser was steaming. Not knowing if that is normal I urged Fran to hurry. She had seen a sign saying Old Faithful was expected to erupt in 10 or 15 minutes. We moved up to the back of the crowd and as we did, the steam increased. We were there for less than a minute before the steam started really shooting into the sky. Very cool. On second thought maybe not.

We went back to Rosie and left.  As we were leaving Yellowstone Park there was a slowdown in the road. When we were close enough we saw a huge elk grazing alongside the road, apparently oblivious to the cars stopping, windows being rolled down and people taking its picture. We did the same and I suggested Fran start taking pictures as soon as she could see the elk. Rose hid under a blanket in the back.img_5253

We decided to stop in Cody, WY for the night. Cody is a true western town. The place we chose for dinner was Irma’s. It was owned by Buffalo Bill’s daughter. Good steak, excellent prime rib and the best beer I had since
leaving California.