28.07.2010 - 28.07.2010 30 °C
I left Colorado today (although I will be back in a few weeks time to fly to Vegas). The drive to the Wyoming border took longer than I expected and once at the border you really wouldn't have none. The first border town I passed through was a microcosm of my first day in Wyoming - deserted. Today's drive to the Grand Teton's was no longer than any other day-drive I've done, but somehow it felt much longer. Wyoming's southwester and western areas are vast deserted expanses. I should I expected this as the Lonely Planet warned that the winds can gust so fast that the police shut down the roads. Were it not for the fact that I'm confident in my own company I can imagine this place to be intimidating in its isolation and potential for lonliness.
Speaking of company I should mention my car, which of course will be my principal company in my three weeks through the National Parks. So it's much larger than my Punto (it has five doors for a start and the boot isn't a hatchback). I've taken the back seat arm rest down and where it was once stowed are now a collection of guidebooks and other reading material. The front passenger seat is pulled forwards as far as it will go. This makes as much space in the seat behind as possible, which is where I tend to put myself for lunch or just a break from driving if there's no where else around me to sit. The boot is full of things for the next three weeks; tent, sleeping bag, food, gas burner, etc. So, yep I'm basically living out of my car, which is why you should get to know it as well.
I knew I was getting near to the Grand Teton National Park in north western Wyoming when I rolled through Jackson, a large town that thrives off tourism to the National Parks. I continued north and eventually made it up to the National Park entrance. I presented my pass and made my way in. Then they hit me - the Tetons. They are incredible snow capped granite spires that tower majestically over the Park. To be frank they are a driving hazard. It is very difficult to concentrate on the road because the eyes are constantly drawn to them. I knew I would be camping tonight, but I really didn't know where. The most popular campsites in the Park are often full by 8am and arriving at 8.30pm didn't help my cause. I knew that there was one less popular site in the Park, because of its distance from the main trails and shops, so went there. On my way a passed herds of hundreds of bison and their calves and got to the campsite. They had space, although I wouldn't have been too fussed about staying in the car. I was warned to be 'Bear Aware', a warning that I took seriously as on my way up the radio reported one man dead and two seriously injured in a bear attack in Yellow Stone National Park.
It took less than three minutes to set the tent up, an unnearving rather than gratifying period of time. Would this tent hold up? I certainly hoped so. As I drove into the Park the Tetons were silhouetted by an advancing thunder and lightening storm. It was certain to head this way so it was a case of fingers crossed. I was right. It wasn't too long before the immense crack of thunder was overhead and the lightening illuminated my orange tent. Then the heavens opened. The adage that you get what you pay for is accurate, as a small leak began around the zip. It was nothing serious and bearing in mind how big this storm was, I thought the tent held up well.
It was mission accomplished - Wyoming crossed.