Wyoming and Back

The best trips happen spontaneously. No planning require. Get in the car and go. That, at least, is how we feel. Two weeks before heading west, I had an idea. I’ve never been to Utah and I needed to use some PTO. Yeah, let’s go to Utah. After some quick research, it would take too much time to drive all the way out there. What’s closer? Wyoming. Yeah. Let’s go to Wyoming. That’s about how it happened. Audra and I sent a few texts back and forth while I was in a meeting. We were on the road two weeks later.

The best trips have unforeseen issues. Ours? Closed campgrounds. Grand Teton National Park campgrounds have a summer season ending October 16, then a winter season starts December 1. Thus the issue. Solution? build a bed in the back of the Subaru and park/sleep anywhere. After a stop at the hardware store for some materials and my parents’ garage for plywood and an hour of work, we had a bed. A bartender at a pizza place in Jackson told us where to park for the night: a hillside campground above the valley that overlooked the Tetons. Pizza places are good for so many things.

The best trips have extra windshield time. It just didn’t make sense to fly to Jackson. Tickets were pushing $800 each and we would have to rent a car for a few days besides. That would have been close to $2,000 for travel only. By driving out there, we spent 16 hours in the car and learned a few things about South Dakota and Wyoming:

  1. South Dakota needs to cool it about Wall Drug.
  2. Wyoming has no roads and is perfect.
  3. South Dakota needs to cool it about Wall Drug.

The best trips have no concrete plans, only things to do. It was 50% hiking, 50% fly fishing, and 50% beer. Math wasn’t a concern. We hiked around Swing, Jenny, and Taggart lakes; fished the Snake River in a few spots and stopped for photos and moose sightings whenever we pleased. Oh, and we had fucking pastries and coffee/tea every day because our trip was too short to not visit Persephone Cafe every morning. When you don’t have a schedule, you never need to rush.

The best trips are uncomfortable. Traveling is all about experiencing new things. See a new town, fish a new river, hike a new trail, try a new beer/entire tap list, camp in a car at a new low temperature (17F), meet new people, be aware of new predators, eat new pastries, all that. If you’re comfortable on a trip, you probably didn’t drive to Wyoming and back, plan nothing, and live in your car for six days.