In starting to write this post I heave a deep sigh. Describing joy and reliving the experience as I write makes me feel inadequate. And I want to do it justice, evoke the right flavors, touch the right nerve, because it was another pinnacle experience of the trip. Seeing the Grand Teton National Park and experiencing the little town of Jackson, Wyoming and meeting Forest were all breathtaking. So hold on, here we go, I’ll do my best to take you along.
I rolled into Jackson in the late afternoon and checked out the charming, old, western downtown. John Wayne would fit right in if he could avoid the tourist shops. There were stuffed wildlife animals in picture windows, a cute movie theater, a very interesting town square with huge arches made out of antlers at its four corners, coffee shops and cowboy bars. Works for me!
After checking into my B&B and freshening up, I went to the Stagecoach Bar, a place where locals hang out, off the tourist track, and where the same lead guitar/singer has been entertaining on Sunday nights for 43 years! No, that’s not a typo, 43 years of Sunday nights, pretty incredible. They were a very good band and there was a small dance floor and couples doing country two-step and various other renditions of swing. I went to dance. It is my thing, it’s such great exercise and I get lost in the music and movement and forget everything when I’m dancing. It’s like a drug, and takes the place of alcohol any day! But I had a hard time breaking into the dance clique and had to throw myself at some poor guy. It’s always the same, they don’t ask me to dance, but once they realize I can dance and follow, I am kept busy with partners.
The next day I was off to see the Grand Teton National Park. The Teton Mountains have held a fascination for me for a long time. I have seen pictures and heard travel stories that evoke mysticism so I approached them like a shrine. Seeing the mountains looming over the valley for the first time was breathtaking. I stopped at every turnout and gawked and snapped my iphone and let the majestic beauty have it’s way with me.
I was told not to hike alone as the bears were prevalent and active, but what’s a single gal gonna do? I hadn’t come all this way to stay in the car. I had bear spray strapped to my backpack like a gun in a holster and an attitude to match…”watch out grizzlies, I’m armed and dangerous.”
I parked at the trailheads to the hikes the ranger recommended for me and as I looked up the trail it was like seeing those spawning salmon leaping their way upstream that I wrote about a few posts ago. There was NO WAY that I was going to go hiking with a million other people. I was already sick of aggressive drivers in the park that tailgate and speed in wildlife zones, so I was looking to get away from humanity for a while. At this point I was ready to face a bear rather than another crabby parent with a sulky teenager.
There was a trail further north above Jackson Lake Lodge that was less populated supposedly. I hit road construction on the way there so decided to find my own path to the trailhead through the lodge grounds. Trudging inside the lodge to take a look I was astonished by the wall of windows looking out on an incredible uninterrupted view of the Trois Tetons range (three breasts-though how there are only three is a mystery- looked more like 16 breasts to me!).
I followed the dirt road below the lodge heading north. It was just flat, marshy land but I was happy to be alone. The Tetons would move in and out of view, it was like playing peek-a-boo with a toddler. They would peek through a grove of trees, disappear then I’d see them again down a river bed. We played this game all afternoon. It was easy flat-level walking but I only saw 2 small groups of people all day, I sang songs to my heart’s content and to the bears so they knew I was coming (my fav of the day being “What a day for a daydream…”).
That evening I went up a winding road to the Amangani Resort to enjoy the sunset. My friend, Robert, (Two Gems In Two and a Half Days) told me I mustn’t miss the view. It is a very exclusive place, they valet parked my car and I felt a bit out-of-place as I strolled in alone in my wacky fringe boots. I sat on the deck, had a glass of wine that was served with a dish of amazing sweet and salty cashews. But I was conflicted by this whole experience. The wealth that surrounded me, the amazing architecture, the pool with the clouds reflecting in it, $1000 a night accommodations, the extravagant dining room, I just couldn’t come to terms with the idea of people who can spend this on themselves. There is a part of me that would love to be swept off my feet by this kind of extravagance and part of me appalled by it.
The sunset was GORGEOUS but as the valet attendant scurried off for my car I was looking forward to getting back to my own reality and heading to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar in town and out of the pretentiousness that wealth can create. There was a subservience by the wait staff and attendants that made me uncomfortable. I’m such a conundrum…I love being treated like a princess, but not at the cost of debasing someone else. Having someone bow over my hand in worship does not work for me, but take my hand and walk beside me while treating me royally and I’m simply happy.
What a day for a daydream
What a day for a daydreamin’ gal
And I’m lost in a daydream
Dreamin ‘bout my bundle of joy
And even if time ain’t really on my side
It’s one of those days for takin’ a walk outside
I’m blowin’ the day to take a walk in the sun
And fall on my face on somebody’s new mowed lawn…
(To be continued…)