Friday, October 23, 2009
What I Did on My October Vacation
Viewer discretion advised: Today's knitting portion of the show has been pre-empted by travel pictures.
It's been three weeks ago, already, this little getaway. I can only blame [insert all the usual reasons here] for not posting before now -- I'd rather think that I've been in one of those post-vacation time warps. You know, where it seems like forever ago, but really it was just last weekend and there just hasn't been time to post. I don't buy it, either, but I'm trying.
Not being able to go on our yearly trip to Fort Robinson, Neb., we were invited to visit by some friends we've made over the years at the park, and instead go to Wyoming, where one of them is a cattle rancher. Heck ya. And ride, too? Double-heck ya.
There are a few advantages about Wyoming that are, at the same time, disadvantages, such as the four-hour drive from Salt Lake to Daniel –– it allows one to settle in. There are a few advantages to being tall that are, at the same time, disadvantages, such as height. Especially when wedging into a rental car and wondering whether you will be able to get out. Hunkering over the steering wheel did, however, allow me to point and shoot through the windshield. It's OK. I was steering with my belly button. This is near Kemmering along Hwy. 189:
There's a lot of sky in western Wyoming. This is the view from my bedroom at the ranch. Those black dots are cattle; the horizon is Kara's property line:
The first day's ride was at a place called New Fork. When we saddled up, it was 10 degrees, I assume above zero. The weather rallied nicely, and it was nearly 40 by the time we clamored up on a snowy rock for lunch. There aren't many people in these pictures because a) there weren't that many of us and b) I got tired of taking pictures of the backs of heads.
Nothing arty here, just blurry. But it's clear how narrow the trail was at times. That chestnut ear was attached to a very smart mountain horse named Herbie. He was my boyfriend for the weekend.
Copper in the water is behind this loveliness:
The next day's ride was just as fabulous! And we had a larger group, so I had a larger audience when my horse jumped and I had a spectacular crash. After playing it over in my mind a zillion times, it was probably for the best that I came off right away instead of trying to manhandle him back on the path. It would've been a long way down and he already knew what to do to regain his footing. Look at that smart boy – that's him on the right in both photos, carrying the load:
Look! It's the native species! Yes, they really wear chaps.
We're almost done, I promise. On Sunday, given that I was "stove up" –– to use the lingo –– and that it was snowing, we drove up to Jackson for the afternoon. We ate well here and dined like fancy folks here. Trout filled with mushroom and crab stuffing. O. My.
Between meals, we strolled round town and hit some of the shops –– when a stranger walks up and says you look great in a suede jacket, you buy it –– and took a short drive north, past the Elk Refuge. It's where they gather the shed antlers to keep all four of these astounding structures in top form. There's one at each corner of the park in the middle of town.
I would like to think that it was Mother Nature encouraging us to stay another day, but it was merely a fall snowstorm overnight. Come Monday morning, the most difficult part of the drive back to Salt Lake, and our real lives, was the 50 feet of driveway out to the gravel road. Before squeezing in and hunkering around the steering wheel, this was my parting shot:
With luck, and another invitation, it won't be my last one. Thanks to Kara and her family –– and to J.B., keeper of the Advil, to Melanie, keeper of the camera and to Michelle, keeper of good humor and gossip. It was a grand weekend. And now, I know where you live.