So it’s been over a month now: I seriously need to finish up my narrative of Jared and my trip out west…
Day 8 was our last in Wyoming, but we made the most of it. After waking up to our final “Super Start” breakfast at Jared’s dreaded West Yellowstone Super-8-without-a-pool, we piled all our possessions back in the Corolla and drove into Yellowstone for the last time. Turning south at Madison Junction and again after Old Faithful, we stopped in for one last cascade, and then found ourselves crossing the Continental Divide at a quiet, peaceful little lake called Lake Isa. In wetter seasons, this lake drains in both directions, and ultimately feeds into both the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico!
This way to the Gulf of Mexico:
And this (currently dry) way to the Pacific Ocean:
Shortly past the Continental Divide, we found ourselves headed out of the park and into a National Forest of some variety between Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. The park itself didn’t hold our attention too long, other than a brief stop at some fancy lodge to try (unsuccessfully) to find an official map, but the view of what was coming next certainly grabbed our eyes:
Arriving at the park with no map, we made a few pitstops through ranger stations and such before we finally got our bearings, and then just made our way lazily down through the park, stopping wherever the view was awesome enough :) One great spot was on the shores of Jenny Lake, where we actually met a couple from UW-Madison who took a picture for us. This was the same spot that I had seen a picture from my friend Ben Broerman earlier, which convinced me to make the trip to the Grand Tetons in the first place. Pretty awesome view, plus they have a glacier!
We had lunch at an outdoor BBQ type place, with a grill and lots of picnic tables. It was a nice change to just be sitting outside eating off a paper plate instead of in a restaurant. Fit the location very well, though it would have sucked if it were raining…
After leaving the Grand Tetons through the southern entrance, Jared navigated me a scenic route (Wyoming Hwy 20) through the Wyoming countryside into Idaho, and over to I-15, which led us away to Montana in the north. Once again, taking the scenic route over the main highway really paid off in terms of awesome scenery, and frankly, the bug count was only going up in either case anyway:
Idaho was mostly sage… sage and sky and then there was a really cool rainstorm, which we could see coming for miles and miles. And possibly the highlight of the trip for Jared: We stopped at a rest stop in Montana to get a hotel reservation and, well, use the restroom of course. Except that Jared saw a portable toilet sitting out behind the main restroom, so he decided he had to use that instead. Turns out it was the cleanest, best-smelling portable outhouse he’s ever used… ask him about it sometime.
And after the excitement of the outhouse, it was straight on to Missoula, MT, where we walked a mile or two to supper and back, and then hung out around the outdoor swimming pool with our beers. Not sure whether that was kosher, but the college guy running the hotel for the night didn’t seem to have a problem with it, so there you go. We even got to lock up on our way out. Good show, Missoula.