August 6 and 7 Falls Campground on Highway 26 west of Dubois, breezy, in the low 70’s
It’s breezy at the moment, and the vertical mountain cliffs north of the campground are a bit clearer than they were when we woke this morning. Smoke from the fires in Montana and Idaho are finding their way toward us again and dimming the brilliance of the sunshine. I am sitting in the shade by the unlit campfire while Mo splits kindling for tonight. Tee shirt and shorts are the order of the day. The sun is warm but the breeze is just chilly enough that the shade feels wonderful.
When planning this trip, I hoped to find something along the way between Thermopolis and the tourist busy part of the highway around Jackson Hole. Streets and Trips led to this Shoshone FS campground and we took our chances without a reservation. Then I read RV Sue’s account of her time both here, and at the Brooks Lake campgrounds five miles north, and I knew the choice would be a good one.
It has been a peaceful stop, even with the daytime sound of traffic moving west toward Yellowstone and the Tetons. The rally at Sturgis is now in progress, so the roar of motorcycles has dimmed to just an occasional rumble. After our hot evening in Thermopolis, (yes, I still have to write about Thermopolis, the Bighorn Mountains, the Medicine Wheel, Buffalo, and the Little Bighorn Battleground!) even the A loop seems uncrowded to us. The plans were adjusted a bit yesterday so that we could stay here two nights and have a full day to enjoy the last of the Wyoming mountains.
Yesterday was a short trip, only 155 miles or so between Thermopolis and this park, with a Wal-Mart stop at Riverton in between. Some parts of Wyoming are simply breathtaking, but other parts seem like long stretches of a landscape only a geologist could love. When we reached Dubois, the mountains again lifted to the west. This part of the west gives full meaning to what John McPhee described so well in “Basin and Range”.
I thought of RV Sue in the laundromat, telling her great stories at the only place where you can get any kind of internet. We haven’t had a decent signal in several days now. We don’t even have a cell phone signal here and in the park in Thermopolis, the phones wouldn’t work at all and the MiFi struggled along with a single bar.
We decided that even though loop B was completely empty yesterday, we wanted electricity, and so entered loop A hoping for two sites together. Two sites appeared, and just in time, since the two rigs following us were hoping as well. I think this loop filled up last night, but when we went walking in loop B it was still empty.
Nancy and Roger and Mo and I are still enjoying or tandem travels. This is new for us, since we usually travel alone, but it has been working out just perfectly. Mo and I are somewhat the tour guides, with the responsibility of planning the routes, looking for gas, choosing the overnights, deciding how far we can go in a day. Whenever I ask Nancy or Roger if they have a preference, their answer is invariably, “Whatever you two want is fine with us”. Talk about easy!!
We have been sharing our evening meals, with most of them a joint effort, and now and then we do the big camp breakfast complete with hash browns and toast. Tonight is steak night, and I’ll bring the salad, Nancy does the Texas toast and we each cook our steaks. Roger even has a pair of titanium sticks for cooking marshmallows. They don’t get hot at all over the fire and I have some of those huge camp marshmallows left over from who knows when. I don’t even like marshmallows, but still love to do the campfire thing.
We walked around the campground last night, took pictures of the waterfall, and spent a lot of time laughing at the dogs while they played in the Wind River that winds through the campground. Jeremy really enjoyed this spot as well, since it was open and spacious enough that I could let him run around outside on his own. He is really so good about it, but every once in awhile he decides that he is NOT ready to go in and will go under the rig and laugh at me.
Today we decided to take a leisurely drive (five miles of very washboard road) up to Brooks Lake for some kayaking and hopefully to hear more stories about the mama grizzly and her two cubs that have been hanging out there. Mama is gone it seems, at least the camp host Richard hasn’t seen them in a couple of weeks. We also discovered to our dismay that in order to launch our kayaks in Wyoming, we are required to have a Wyoming boat sticker and an additional invasive species sticker for each boat. A bit too expensive for one afternoon of kayaking.
Instead we parked at the boat launch area and wandered off toward Jade Lakes and enjoyed the part of the trail that borders Brooks Lake. We thought better of hiking the four miles round trip to the top since we were in our kayak sandals with the dogs and had no bear spray and no water. It was a pretty walk, and at the time we didn’t know that mama bear wasn’t around, so we were a little nervous now and then as we approached buffalo berry thickets.
It feels great to slow down a bit, and this will be our last day in cool, timbered mountains. Mo built great campfires, surprising that they are allowed in this kind of fire season, but the fire circles at this campground are especially nice, with strong iron grates, and a space beneath the fire box to store kindling.
It has been wonderful to have enough space to let Jeremy outside to explore the campsite and play with Jackson, his new found best buddy. Jackson loves the kitty and will lick Jeremy’s ears and follow him everywhere he goes. Abby isn’t as affectionate with Jeremy, and since Jeremy grew up with dogs, he misses that interaction. He often snuggles up to Abby and she looks at us saying, “really?!”
Tomorrow we will again have internet access, television, and probably traffic. Twin Falls is next on the list.