Greetings from Cody, WY home of the daily summer rodeo. We were here two years ago and at the rodeo Henna rooted for the animals and we went home early. This time Henna was much mor interested than I, especially in some of the trick riders who were her own age. Henna also participated in the all kid calf run where dozens of kids chased three scared calfs around the ring hoping to snatch a ribbon stuck into the cow tail. Henna did not win, but had a lot of fun trying. I do not know the whole history of Cody (maybe next time I am here I will go to the Cody museum). But my understanding of the town is that Bill Cody set up this town as a sort of living museum/ circus of his western vision. And he wanted to make money, a lot of money. Cody still has that kind of feel, but in a gentle, not in your face kind of way. The 52 miles from Yellowstone to Cody are also some of the most dramatic miles I have driven this summer (In case you are wondering we have driven 5,000+ miles this summer; the Cowboy Trail in Alberta may have been the prettiest miles and the Manitoba/ Saskatechwan the harderst).
Since last I have blogged we spent two nights camping in the Grand Tetons. The campground (Colter Bay) was not our favorite. A lot of mosquitoes, a lot of campers (we were site 350 in a 350 site campground), and a lot of generators. RV sites in the Tetons are $60 so what a lot of RVers do is set up in the tent campground ($20) and then run their generators until 8 PM (which is the time they are allowed to do so). As a whole the campground had a very impersonal and cold kind of feel. I did meet an interesting worker there. She was a recently retired teacher who, along with her retired husband, sold 99% of their belongings including their house and took off in an RV. She now works with her husband at the Colter Bay campground where the concessionair (the entity that runs all the giftshops, resteraunts and some of the campgrounds) allows employees to camp in an employee RV park for $6 a night. They also have dormitories. If day to day operations in Canada are turned over to teenagers, in the US it is retirees and college students running the show. And they do a good job; they are all so happy living in paradise that they do not mind working at a grocery store, etc.
Two nights ago while camping, Corey and I were sitting by the fire and Henna was sound asleap in the tent. We heard a banging noise behind the tent and were somewhat concerned (there were many, many tents behind ours so a sudden loud noise was not to much of a concern). But then we heard definite steps in the forest and this scared us good. I made loud noises and shone my flashlight on…. a doe munching on leaves a few feet from our tent. The doe ignored me and walked past the tent, the hoofs almost touching the rain flap.
We also revisited a hike. 13 years ago Corey and I took our first big summer road trip. In the Tetons we backpacked (also for the first time) to Lake Solitude. With Henna in tow we decided to redo this hike. We knew we were not going to make that same lake. We did take the boat across Jenny Lake (as we did 13 seasons ago) and smiled at the backpackers who were going to that lake. It was a great hike. Even the crazy amount of people who shared the first leg of the hike to Inspiration Point with us felt good. It made me better appreciate all the hiking we have done this season where a chance meeting on the trail often resulted in a quick or long conversation. As a rule, the more tired I was, the more lengthy the conversations I pursued. To get to Inspiration Point, one must endure several switchbacks. And then most people go back to the boat dock. After Inspiration Point, the trail levels out and offers stunning views of distant mountains. Moose also hang out there (the first time on the trail we saw one, yesterday we did not) and you walk through meadows filled with alpine flowers. We hiked until we reached a good wading point, took off our shoes, and waved at backpackers and serious hikers as they went by. A better time could not have been had. At the Tetons, Henna and I also swam in Jackson Lake which was maybe a little colder than the little lakes in the UP. Many tourists thought us crazy, but Henna and I had a blast. Even Corey joined us for a quick bath.
Today we drove through Yellowstone. We had a picknick in Hayden Valley, saw some bison, met a nice family from Long Island, and hiked past bubbling mud and scalding water. No swimming there. I have lots of pictures to share. Tomorrow, maybe Devils Tower. Maybe not. We are probably going to stop by Mount Rushmore and then come home. The tilt toward home is in full swing and I am already missing this trip.