“Yellow” From the Other Side…

“Yellow” From the Other Side…

 

 

“Soon it got dusk, a grapy dusk, a purple dusk over tangerine groves and long melon fields; the sun the color of pressed grapes, slashed with burgandy red, the fields the color of love and Spanish mysteries.”

  

 

After grabbing an early bougie breakfast (and probably one of the best meals so far on the trip) in Jackson at Persephone Bakery, we headed north 2 hours into Yellowstone.

If you’re heading from Jackson Hole towards Yellowstone, you’ll eventually have to pass by the famous Old Faithful, always erupting right on schedule.

 

 

There’s posted schedules of the next eruption online or at the visitor’s center, but you can assume it’s always somewhere between every 60-90 minutes.

 

 

After dodging the crowds and keeping to our group, we then drove a few minutes north from from Old Faithful to the colorful geothermic pools at Biscuit Basin.

 

 

From the basin you can then take a 1.4 mile hike to Mystic Falls.

 

 

After an hour’s worth of hiking and returning to our RV, we then drove for hour northeast from Old Faithful for the many viewpoints dotting the path along Yellowstone Great Canyon and the Brink of the Lower Falls:

 

 

Then it was 2 hours of beeline traffic (didn’t see any accidents, but let’s just assume it’s due to tourism jumping up 40% here due to COVID-19 lockdowns preventing international tourism) westwards just to get out of Yellowstone and to our campsites at the West Gate KOA.

Once we settled in, we then had a few more drinks, came to terms with the poor internet connection all day today (which is a GOOD thing for us!), watched Noeleen’s Day 6 Vlog recap (which is currently uploading right now), and laid on the RV roof stargazing into the night.

 

 

- At time of posting in Yellowstone, it was 21 °C - Humidity: 36% | Wind Speed: 8km/hr | Cloud Cover: clear

 

Falling Into Jackson Hole

Falling Into Jackson Hole

 

“I was having a wonderful time and the whole world opened up before me because I had no dreams”

 

I’ve long associated the term “Jackson Hole” with the longtime local burger joint my dad used to take me to in NYC. I never knew it was named after an actual real place I’d ever set foot in. But after a long 10 hour drive from South Dakota yesterday, I finally woke up to a beautiful morning in the original Jackson Hole, WY.

 

 

As per the recommendations of my post college-era friend Tim Geoffrion, we decided to finally slow down and spend 2 full days here exploring.

 

 

We started with the quaint town of Jackson itself and preordered breakfast at Pearl Street Bagels:

 

 

Then from Jackson we headed up a few miles north to see Grand Teton National Park:

 

 

We started with a 3 hour round trip hike at part of the Amphitheater trail towards Lake Taggart.

If you’re stuck with an RV like we were and nearby parking is full, you can park instead at the overflow lot about a mile away and take an extra 30 minute hike over to the trailhead.

 

 

Choose any lake to visit and you’re rewarded with a background worthy of a Windows XP desktop on factory settings:

 

 

After 30min at Lake Taggart and 3 hours on the hike, we returned for a quick 15 minute drive north for a photo at Snake River Overlook:

 

 

…before having a late lunch at Dornan’s Pizza Pasta Company for the views:

 

 

We then sauntered over to the famously photographed Jackson Town Square:

 

 

Sadly places like Moo’s Gourmet Ice Cream was closed due to COVID-19, and places like Local Restaurant & Bar & Snake River Grill were fully booked. Apparently the pandemic has caused tourism in this area to actually ironically jump by 30-40%.

The town is still nice though, although much smaller than I had expected.

 

 

After an impromptu al fresco first come, first served dinner at Jackson Drug, we returned back to our lodgings at Jackson Hole Campgrounds. Tomorrow we reach Yellowstone!

 

 

 

- At time of posting in Jackson, WY, it was 22 °C - Humidity: 39% | Wind Speed: 8km/hr | Cloud Cover: clear

 

From SD to WY: Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead

From SD to WY: Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead

 

“We fumed and screamed in our mountain nook, mad drunken Americans in the mighty land. We were on the roof of America and all we could do was yell, I guess — across the night, eastward over the Plains, where somewhere an old man with white hair was probably walking toward us with the Word, and would arrive any minute and make us silent.”

 

 

This morning as I woke up to a new sunrise, I wrote —

The many of us, especially those in medical — ER doctor, cytologist, 2 Critical Care nurses, pharmacist — are traveling for the first time right now in nearly half a year after enduring both pandemics and lockdowns like the many of you. 

And I’m not sure if you can see it in our faces in Raubern’s photos, but I know at least for myself there’s a lot of pent up and conflicting emotions to unpackage after months of throttling ourselves to hell and back.

 

 

We’re that certain type of human that mainly recharges through travel — aka physically removing oneself from everything home (let alone a 6 month lockdown) — so a type of unfettered and pent-up liberty we had longed for has finally arrived. 

And now that we have a certain kind of freedom, we’re also feeling conflicted about feeling free; whether if it’s because this reprieve is ephemeral and might be taken away from us at any moment, or a learned helplessness that we’re not doing more or suffering enough.

 

 

Like Stockholm Syndrome, the captivity has changed us forever and not necessarily for the better; the recovery will be complicated and long, and so far it’s only been 3 days for us.


“And then there is the most dangerous risk of all — the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.”

 

 

After breakfast at our campgrounds in Palmer Gulch KOA, we briefly drove out on a last-minute planned morning trip at 8am to see the still yet uncompleted but otherwise the world’s largest rock carving: the Crazy Horse Monument.

 

 

Tickets can be bought online beforehand or at site ($30 per vehicle, and $4 per person for the mandatory school buses that take you there).

 

 

Buses were physically distanced and about 80% of the folks inside plus our guide were wearing face coverings.

 

Our group is on the right. Everyone else to the left.

 

The whole tour took about 25 minutes.

 

 

We then set off through the town of Custer and into the rest of Black Hills National Forest.

 

 

Taking a detour north, we drove 2 hours for the enigmatic shot of Devils Tower, a natural formation and monolith made famous as the location of where extraterrestrials made their landing in Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

 

 

We’re not exactly as interesting as extraterrestrials, but we made our mark.

 

 

Signs of the annual Sturgis rally was everywhere.

 

 

After about 10-15 minutes taking photos here we then set back onto the original route for a long uninterrupted 8 hour drive to Jackson Hole, WY.

 

 

But unlike long drives in the past, this one was a rewarding stretch that kept us oohing and aahing all day:

 

 

We finally settled in at Fireside Resort/Jackson Campgrounds.

 

 

And this just happened:

 

 

For 5 months we’ve yearned to unleash a primal scream into the void of twilight — 5 months of suppressed rage, disappointment, loss, anger, dismay, bargaining, shock, grief, depression, confusion, and everything in between. 

Tonight as the very mighty lands on the roof of America finally liberate us to howl infinitely eastward over the Plains, our catharsis has been deafening; it instead has stunned us into silence.

 

 

- At time of posting in Devils Tower, it was 23 °C - Humidity: 47% | Wind Speed: 14km/hr | Cloud Cover: clear