“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” John Muir
This journey – so much more than a road trip – did exactly as the great John Muir said: it washed my spirit clean. We get so bogged down by the little things in life, by the things we can’t control, and by the daily grind. We fall into a pattern of our own making when we don’t push away from the BS that lead us to feelings of frustration, discombobulation, and an overall desire to flee our lives. Luckily, we are responsible for our own happiness. Cliché though it may be, it doesn’t make it any less true.
For me, that happiness, the realignment of my “universe”, can always be found in the woods, up a mountain, or sitting alongside a body of water. Wyoming offered me all three… and then some!
I’ll start with the photos because my “highlights” aren’t exactly short, haha! If you’re interested, just check them out after the pictures.
- It’s so pretty!
- I camped at Signal Mountain Campground, and managed a spot less than 20 seconds walk to a cliff’s edge overlooking beautiful Lake Jackson which is perfectly situated to watch the sun set right between two of the peaks.
- Woke up to a cold, damp, and foggy morning which made it impossible to watch the sunrise. Got incredibly lucky as by the time I hit the parking lot for Lupine Meadows Trailhead (elev. 6,732 ft / 2,052 m), the fog was burning off and the clouds were lifting.
- Even luckier? I met someone in the parking lot who was traveling and hiking solo as well so we decided to hike toether! We’ll just call him “HP” for Huey Pilot (Marine).
- HP received the recommendation to hike up to Delta Lake (elev. 9,016 ft / 2,748 m) from a bartender in Jackson Hole. There’s not a marked trail on the map for it, but you can find the trailhead if you know what you’re looking for.
- The Universe was screaming and waving a big red flag saying that we were fated to meet on this trip. I mean:
- He’s a Marine (prior service) who was traveling the country after he got out.
- I’m a Marine brat who was traveling the country on my way to a new home.
- He had a gun and I had a gun, and we had both fretted a bit over what the other would think of it until it was brought up.
- There are these animals, I’m not sure if you’ve heard of them or not, but they’re called bears. They’re big and furry, come in the colors of brown and black, they’re kind of cute, but they do have a tendency – more so if they are of the brown colored nature – to be just a wee territorial, aggressive, and have been known to fly into a fit of murderous rage; which is especially true when cubs are involved.
- There are also moose and buffalo. They, too, can be rather aggressive and territorial. Shocking, I know.
- And then the topper: He said something along the lines of, “So, about the fox…”. I look over and see that he has the exact same stuffed fox for his nephew as I had for my niece! We were BOTH hiking with stuffed animal travel companions for our favorite humans! What the hell are the chances of that!?
- That crud in my chest that I got in Colorado and made mention of in Mighty Moab? Yeah… this hike… Ouch.
- Suffice it to say that between the sickness and maybe the elevation? (we topped out in the low 9,000 ft range) I was left feeling like a smoker with a wicked case of emphysema, when the hike wasn’t even that difficult.
- It was switchbacks for the most part, until we hopped off the marked trail.
- FYI – this trail is scrambling up (and I mean, up), over and around granite boulders.
- Worth it. Beyond worth it. Abso-freaking-lutely worth it. All I needed to make it perfect was a blanket, a book, and hot cocoa.
- We climbed up onto a big boulder that sits a bit out into the lake just to take it all in.
- Oh, but yeah, I didn’t get up and onto the boulder until after my cellphone tumbled out of my pack and into the beautiful, turquoise-y blue, cold, glacial lake. Yup. Right into the water. A solid 18+ inches into the pretty lake.
- I sighed, threw my pack up to Huey Pilot and retrieved the phone. Threw that up on the boulder and then followed.
- Assumed phone died a cold, wet death.
- Was WRONG!
- My phone lives! Not only does my phone live, but it works just as well as it did before its little swim lesson.
- Thank you, HTC One (M8)!
- Met some pretty great people on the descent, munched on a snack, and followed HP back into town for some pizza and talk.
I love Wyoming.