Redfish Lake, Yellowstone, the Tetons and Devil’s Tower

We needed a few repairs and decided the best place to do this was in Boise, Idaho where our Airstream dealer had a partner, so we could take care of business.  They would have it for a few days, so we went to stay up at a hotel in the town of Stanley.  Stanley is something special, nestled into the Sawtooth Mountains.  The first day we got there the smoke from the fires out west was really bad.  We couldn’t see anything.  We thought there were fires nearby, but it turned out the smoke was coming in from the Columbia Gorge.  We went over to Redfish Lake to have dinner, and a canoe ride.  You couldn’t even see the mountain the first day.  The second day they were like a thin outline.  Then the third day, hall-aye-lou-ya, they came out!  They were so beautiful, and they do look a bit like sawed teeth.  We decided since the smoke was clearing we wanted to come back up and camp at the lake with the Airstream.  We went and picked it up, all things good to go again.

We found a spectacular spot on the lake, and decided to stay a while.  Redfish Lake had a lodge, and it was fun to go and sit outside and people watch.  We ate there a few times, once at the bar, once at the outside lunch gazebo, and once in the lodge.  The food was really good here.  We were actually surprised that most of Stanley had really tasty food.  Sometimes in the mountains you get the same standbys, but not here.

Brian spent one day kayaking across the 5 mile lake.  One day we canoed it together with Bianca over to the lodge from our campsite.  Our last day at Redfish we took a motor boat across the lake and went hiking on the other side to a waterfall.  The sunsets here were amazing, and the sunrises were as well, Bianca woke me up a few times to see them.  On our way out we had breakfast at the bakery in Stanley and saw one of our favorite singer, Nicki Blumn.  She and some other band members were on the way to play music and float down the river, a little something called “Pickin’ on the Middle Fork”.  We just admired that she was there, didn’t go fandom crazy.  We wished we could have seen her play this summer, but this was a private trip, 6 days on the river camping and listening to their music.  Super cool, maybe next year.

From there we headed to Yellowstone, a truly a magical place.  We spent three days meandering around the geysers, and all the magic that is the park.  We saw buffalo, moose, elk, pronghorns, bears and even an eagle.  My favorite geyser was called the heart geyser, and was shaped like the human heart.  Brian’s favorite was one that looked prehistoric and was shaped like a Flintstones house.  We got all kinds of weather, rain, snow, thunder, winds, cumulus clouds, swirly clouds, a little of everything magical.  We got the first snow of the year, and drove into the park early.  It was like being a kid at Christmas!  We camped outside the park in the Tetons, at a boon docking spot up on a cliff overlooking the valley and the Tetons.  You could even see horses in the valley below, there were lots of them.  This was some of the best and free camping we have had so far.  Every morning the view seemed more and more spectacular, especially the morning there was snow.  It was pretty special.

The Tetons are magical, just popping with their jagged peaks practically from the prairies, and driving by them you are so close up into the base of all their glory.  We stayed at our campsite for about a week, and got to drive into them and around them everyday.  Jackson Hole is the close town to where we were camping, and we ate here and shopped here.  We bought ourselves our first trip souvenir, besides hats, t-shirts and stickers.  We got a Pendelton blanket with the Tetons on them, one side is winter and one side is summer.  Our ten year anniversary is coming up so we decided that was a good gift to us!  We liked the restaurants in Jackson Hole, they had a lot of tasty places.  One place was called Local, and had a restaurant and a butcher shop, both delicious spots.  They even had elk meat which was something Brian took on as a recipe creation.

Yellowstone got snowed out and closed on our final day there, so we didn’t end up driving through it on our way out.  Instead we crossed east and drove over a different mountain range, that was covered in snow.  It was incredible!  While in the area we crossed the continental divide 20 or more times.  On one road in Yellowstone you cross it 3 times in a 10 mile stretch of winding roads.  Since we drove along this road so much the crossing of it added up. We also crossed the continental divide in Colorado, and Canada while traveling. Yellowstone and the Tetons are definitely among the favorites on the trip so far!

We headed east to Devil’s Tower, and on the way there we stopped at a Dinosaur Museum in Wyoming.  There are lots of dig sites in Wyoming where people find bones, and fossils.  There were lots of ancient 300 million year rocks and formations all along our drive.  Wyoming is a pretty amazing state.  You get a little of everything, snow, geysers, mountains, dinosaurs, red layered cliffs, rivers, wildlife, lakes, ranches, cowboys, even hunters walking across fields with bows and arrows and their catches in the backs of their trucks.

We camped in the National Park at Devil’s Tower.  Before going I only knew of it from alien movies, but it turns out it is a very spiritual place for the native cultures.  There was a statue at the base of it made by a Japanese man gifted to the U.S. as a Symbol of world peace.  Turns out he made 7 of these and they are all over the world, like where Budda was born, and at the Vatican.  The first night was cloudy, the second night was clear, and we saw the stars.  The big dipper was right over the top of the Devil’s Tower.  Turns out there is a story about a boy who transformed into a bear and chased his seven sisters up a tree trunk which told them to climb up.  The tree trunk rose up and up and up just out of reach of the bear who scratched and clawed at the tree trunk trying to get them.  Then the seven sisters rose up and became stars.  You can see this constellation above the Devil’s Tower in the winter time, and the tree trunk in the story is Devil’s Tower.

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