Wyoming, Part 2

Coming home after being on vacation is never easy. I feel like it’s exceptionally more difficult when said vacation helps you realize that where you consider “home” is not exactly where you want to be anymore, and said vacation spot is more aligned with where you want to call “home”. This was definitely the case with me, as I think the mountains are my happy place. More on that later (maybe, possibly) if I can figure out my next life steps!

As I mentioned in my last post, the majority of my trip was spent driving around solo and taking photos. I absolutely love doing this, as I think one of the best ways to discover new places is to set out without an agenda or expectations. It also allowed me to get a lay of the land a bit, and figure out the best spots for epic photos. Although honestly, pretty much anywhere out there made for amazing photo opportunities.

This post will mostly be photos, as that’s pretty much all I did Saturday – Monday. I’ll try to make them in a somewhat chronological order, although I’m a little fuzzy on what I did on which day.

On Friday, I went to another awesome class at Rendezvous Crossfit. One of the members there suggested I visit Slide Lake over in Kelly, WY (a neighboring town about a 30 minute drive from Jackson). Honestly, I don’t even think I looked it up. I’ve learned if a local person raves about something, you go there because it’s probably gorgeous. The drive up was beautiful (duh), but the craziest part was one second you’re just driving through the hills then BAM! You turn the corner and see this:

This is what you see when you come around the corner.

This is what you see when you come around the corner.

Slide Lake

Slide Lake is actually huge…I wish the photos would convey how large this area is. What was even more amazing is that there was nobody there; I saw maybe two RVs camping, but I had the whole parking lot to myself. It was so amazingly peaceful.

Me at Slide Lake.

The drive back was just as pretty, because I saw the same view but from a different perspective. I love that there are random hiking trails just off the side of the road everywhere you go.

Old barn & hiking trails

On Friday, I honestly forget what I did during the day. I’m sure it included coffee and driving around and taking pictures…surprise, surprise. However, I decided to make another trip back to Mormon Row in the evening. The views are amazing and I knew they’d be even cooler at night when the sun went down…I was not disappointed. Clearly.

River at Mormon Row

Mormon Row sunset

Mormon Row Sunset

On Saturday I drove over to Idaho because, well…I could. Seriously, it takes about 40 minutes to drive over the pass. I don’t know why the prospect of driving to another state line excites me so much, but it does. Probably because in California you can drive for quite literally 12 hours and still be in California…it’s a big state that sometimes seems endless and vast, and I like crossing another state off of my “to visit” list. (I don’t actually have a list, but really…I just want to go everywhere.)

So, I drove to Idaho. Idaho decided to storm and dump rain on me. Idaho looked very grumpy, as I’m sure the drivers were when I was driving 15 MPH under the speed limit because rain is virtually none existent in California and I never have to drive in it.

Angry Idaho clouds

Angry Idaho rain clouds

I still drove around a bit in the Victor/Driggs area, but the crappy weather made me a little tentative to get out and do much exploring. I was slightly apprehensive about the drive back over, as I learned mountain weather changes very quickly. Luckily the drive back over the pass was dry and uneventful, and I was able to stop and get some shots of how truly beautiful the Jackson Hole area is, especially from higher elevation.

View of the valley. Drool.

View of the valley. Drool.

WY sign

On Teton Pass

On Teton Pass

On Sunday night, my mom and I took a scenic river float tour down Snake River through Barker Ewing Float Trips. They picked us up in the evening at the Grand Teton Park entrance, and we drove about 10 miles up the river where we launched the boat and floated back down the same 10 miles. Our guide was fantastic – incredibly nice, and he knew loads of information about the history of the park, points of interest, and just about anything you wanted to know about Jackson as a town. The whole trip took about 2.5 hours (my tiny bladder was not terribly pleased) and was just beautiful.

River trip down Snake River

Sunset on the river with the Tetons

Sunset on the river with the Tetons

Sadly I didn’t get too many great pictures, mainly because the sun goes down behind the mountains so everything looks pretty dark. Plus, I’m only working with an iPhone instead of some fancy camera, but I was still just as happy to be out there experiencing it.

Monday afternoon we headed home, which was extremely bittersweet. Mostly bitter, if I can be honest. Like I mentioned earlier, sometimes it takes visiting a place that feels more like home than home does. I love the mountains, and I love the vibe of the town. People are friendly, everyone is active, and I feel like people are incredibly appreciative for where they live and the views they see when they step outside their doorstep. The feeling of gratitude is insane, and I wish that I felt that where I live. Humans have a knack for destroying nature and anything we feel doesn’t suit our modern needs, and Wyoming is still relatively untouched. The natural beauty is appreciated, and the fact that there is wildlife running around, crossing the roads is wonderful to me.

Me outside

Consider this girl very appreciative for her time spent in the mountains of Jackson, WY. I’ll be back as soon as I can make it happen, and wouldn’t mind staying for a much longer time.

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