Well, it's been another crazy couple of days. After our bad experience with lodging in Zion we tried to go into the park the following day. During the warmer months, the Park Service runs a propane powered bus into the park. This is the only way you are allowed in. Most of what I've read said that it was a great experience without crowds or traffic. For me, it was just the opposite. You walk up to the little entrance station with a big sign that says, "Welcome to Zion!" The man in the window asks you how many, you pay, and he gives you a little map with all the bus stops on it. Then, you walk through a crowd of tourists in bright colors with screaming little children to the busses. The busses are two part tram-like things which you can ride to one of six different stops in the park. As the bus started to move, an automated tour guide started giving a cheesy tour of the various features of the canyon. The whole effect was rather like Disney World. It was a National Park nightmare! Being in Disney World totally ruined the experience of this great wilderness and spectacular landscape. It made me angry. How dare they turn such a special place into a theme park! Granted, the traffic may have been bad before the bus system, but this is not a solution! By this point, we were so frustrated that we decided we needed to leave. Not just outside the park either. We were so fed up that we had to leave altogether.
We decided to hot foot it north. Way north. The desert had lost its charm. Trees, mountains, and rain beckoned us to come to their territory, so we answered the call. We're now in Jackson, WY. We arrived here yesterday and staked out a campsite on the Gros Ventre River in Grand Teton National Park and went to look for wildlife. Our first major sighting was three moose in the campground. They were browsing in the cottonwoods and minding their own business. After the moose, we found several herds of pronghorn grazing and running around on the flats. We were able to approach one group and get some good video. Past the pronghorn, bison with their calves lounged and ate, true to their character, and light rain fell from the high clouds which just obscured the tops of the Tetons. The mountains rise like a jagged set of teeth from the valley floor and seem to bite into the soft clouds with their snow-covered canines. Then we notice a coyote jogging through the green sage. He spots a lone pronghorn antelope and chases it. The antelope is too fast and agile at first, but the coyote makes a second attempt. This one is more unsuccessful than the first. The pronghorn turns on the coyote and chases it trying to stomp and kick. They eventually disengage and run about 100 yards apart. Several more rounds followed in the same manner, sometimes the coyote, sometimes the antelope gaining the upper hand. Then the coyote grabs hold of the neck of the pronghorn just where it attaches to the shoulder. The pronghorn shakes the coyote and runs off at full speed. The pronghorn antelope is the world's fastest land animal. It is capable of running at speeds of over 60 mph for close to an hour. The pronghorn escapes, but eventually continues the battle. After about 20 minutes of sporadic fighting, the pronghorn decides to rejoin the herd and quit. Everyone survived, so you can heave a sigh of relief. Greg has excellent action footage of this encounter. It really seems like something straight out of National Geographic.
We spent a cool, rainy night in the tent and woke up to go to breakfast at Bubba's. Many of you have probably heard me talk about Bubba's, but for those that haven't, they have the best breakfast you can find. It's a simple BBQ restaurant with stainless steel table tops. A biscuit is 6 in. in diameter and 3 in. thick. I can only eat one and a half. The pancakes are the size of a full dinner plate and an inch and a half thick. If you ever go, don't try to eat two. You will fail miserably. Though the biscuits and gravy and pancakes are excellent, the Mexican scramble takes the cake. It’s scrambled eggs with beans, cheese, sausage, a tortilla, and hot sauce. The flavor and portions are absolutely excellent.
That pretty much brings you up to date, so here some coordinates to have fun with.
Oh, and if you've posted comments, I've probably responded with another comment, so check back if you asked questions or want to see a response. I promise I'll have pictures next time.