2008 Summer Journey

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Re: 2008 Summer Journey

Postby GypsyRR » Mon Aug 18, 2008 12:05 am

Being sick (and weary) the last week took a lot out of me. I think I was dehydrated as a result of getting sick, and so it took a while to come back from that. I'm back to 100% now and although I am glad that part of the journey is over, it gave me back some time of contemplation that I had overlooked. I was falling into the trap of missing the important stuff while trying to get to the next thing or next place. I've done much thinking over the last 3-4 days and have come to some conclusions and some realizations as well as more quesetions. Maybe some of those will come out in the next reports that follow. I'm almost convinced that if a person can learn to survive and thrive in the wild (there is a huge difference, you know) on a solo adventure, that they can survive and thrive in the 'world'. I hope I'm right.


Let me start trying to catch up again.

Following my time at Flaming Gorge enjoying the hospitality of my campground hosts there, I headed toward Jackson, Wyoming. I did not plan to stay in Jackson, but I needed to get a room for the night so that I could do some work and pay bills (again. Sheeeeeesh!!!!). While in Jackson, I planned to think about the next stage of my trip - the Wyoming stage.


This is the route I took:

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Once I left the Flaming Gorge area, I headed north along 191 across into Wyoming toward Green River.

It was such a desolate area without much traffic at all, and rarely any signs of homes. Geologically, the landscape changed perceptively from one mile to the next in almost astounding dimensions at times. I've wondered about this over the past few weeks - the differences in the landscape geologically which I have seen. Maybe it is just a different stage in life that has me seeing landscapes differently than a few years earlier. I've been visiting Wyoming and Colorado for a few years now. However, I have never seen them as "a whole" before this journey. Seeing them 'whole' has either exaggerated or accentuated these changes in landscapes and geological formations for me. Whatever the reason, such curiosity has me looking for a quick study of geology so that I can understand better what I've been perceiving. As of yet, I am still at a loss as to how to describe such wonders.

The first few leg of the trip from Flaming Gorge to Green River looked like horse country to me. Vast open ranges as well as buttes and canyons. I believe there are wild mustangs still in this area, but I did not see any.

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Near Green River, Wyoming

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Once past Green River, Wyoming, I took 372 north past Fontenelle Dam, up through La Barge and on to Big Piney. Except for the surprise of the dam at Fontenelle, this was the longest lonely stretch of road I traveled since leaving Raton, NM. To add to the loneliness, storms were gathering over the desolation, preparing to break huddle and start their play. I was trying to time my travels perfectly so as to slip past them unnoticed. I was unsuccessful and near Fontenelle Dam, the rains came and engulfed me. Very heavy wind and rain. No pictures of the dam or the reservoir because of the showers.

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Coming through that desolation, I was glad to see the next town's name: Big Piney! Surely that meant trees! And eventually it did.

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From Big Piney to Jackson, things got better and better. My favorite area was the green rolling hills and mountains decorated with spring flowers around the Hoback Junction area. This area became the location of my first 'wilderness' camping experience once I finished my work in Jackson the next day. (next report) This is the Bridger-Teton Wilderness area - much more scenic than Yellowstone, in my opinion.


coming into the Hoback Junction area

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You follow the Hoback River for a while, crossing it at times.

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Just before Jackson, the scenes become more pastoral and then more populated.

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Passing from a campground in the Flaming Gorge area, on to scenes like the above, I arrived in Jackson to traffic and people again. Not quite as bad as Moab, because it is not quite as compact, I believe - but a tourist town nonetheless. I had to get a room, however, so I could do some work. So from the above scenes, I landed in this for $150/night. : :cry:


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Fighting the traffic of Jackson, working, paying bills, the cost of a motel, the rudeness of tourists - all those things made the lure of the wilderness more and more appealing to me. I had thought about wilderness camping before I ever left Texas and decided I am probably not cut out for that type of 'roughing it.' But now, this many weeks into my journey, having slept in parking lots, truck stops, campgrounds, and motels - I was ready to be truly alone and test myself further. It seems, now, that the wilderness experience ended up yielding the most clarity of thought for me and the greatest experiences so far. Perhaps, I'm using the term wilderness camping incorrectly. What I am referencing is the type of camping where there are is no charge, no water, no bathroom, no neighbors (known) - but still allowed as a designated camping area. There were people who came through the area camping as well, but not within view and not within several hundred feet of my campsite.


A couple of photos from the next report

Granite Creek Camping


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Re: 2008 Summer Journey

Postby chris » Mon Aug 18, 2008 3:54 am

Fantastic as ever!
I love the shots of the old cars and Paul. We had a couple of weeks camping here but it's been raining on the UK more or less continuously for two months now
:-(

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Re: 2008 Summer Journey

Postby DJ Downunder » Mon Aug 18, 2008 4:34 am

Thanks...Beautiful pictures.. =D>

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Re: 2008 Summer Journey

Postby MJB » Mon Aug 18, 2008 8:30 pm

So I am going to ask a silly question to some, but I'm trying to figure it out.
I cannot seem to be able to post maps.
I can see some people know how, but for me, I can’t get the computer to work.

So your maps...
How do you post them?

I am guessing here, but do you print the map, take a picture of it and then post it??
Because it looks like all your photos, same border and all.

I can post pictures.

Also, what posting system do you use?
I don't think its Photobucket
Is it smug mug?

Anyway your tip is fabulous, great pictures, and even better, a Great Adventure.

Michael
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Re: 2008 Summer Journey

Postby GypsyRR » Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:14 pm

Michael:

I use a Mac computer and am not familiar with PC's and their applications. On my Mac, I have an application called "Grab". It allows me to select part of a picture or page from my browser and save it as a JPEG. So I make a map in Google Maps first. For instance, in that last map, I just told Google Maps to give me directions from Flaming Gorge to Jackson, Wyoming. Once that was done, I moved the beginning and ending markers a bit closer to my actual location that I wanted as my beginning and ending points. Then I used the Grab application to select that portion of the map and saved it to my desktop as a JPEG file.

I use Photobucket as my hosting site. So I uploaded the map to Photobucket and then can post the photo or just link to the image directly from there.

Another mapping program that I'm using to map all my routes onto one map (not done with that yet - it's a long process since I've covered over 6000 miles) is called www.communitywalk.com You'd have to play with that program (free internet program) to see if it would serve your purposes. I like it. It allows you to draw routes and also upload photos that represent different parts of a trip or place.

I hope this helps. Good luck. Please ask if you have any more questions.
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Re: 2008 Summer Journey

Postby 1MPH » Tue Aug 19, 2008 1:20 am

GypsyRR wrote:
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Beautiful, where are the marshmellows. :)
Thanks for taking the time to post. Very enjoyable. =D> =D> =D>
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Re: 2008 Summer Journey

Postby MJB » Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:13 am

Gypsy

Thanks for the info.
I too use a MAC
Went to Spotlight, and it seems I have the application Grab.
So I will give it ago.

I hope to post a trip soon, and I hope it will be half as interesting as yours..

Michael

P.S.. Quick follow up

Trided the Grab Application.
Did a test post
It works

Thanks Again

Did a test post
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Re: 2008 Summer Journey

Postby GypsyRR » Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:34 pm

After finishing up some work in Jackson on the following Monday, I headed for the wilderness. I'm assuming I'm using the correct term when I call it wilderness camping. There was no designated campground, but there were designated areas where you could just put down a tent and stay.


(my camping spot along Granite Creek)
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There was no potable water, but there was a river. There were no toilets, but there was …………… a bush to hide behind. There was no one around me............ so I'm not sure from whom I was hiding. hahahaha. So - no comforts of even the crudest campground, but it was more comfortable than any campground. That's what I'm calling wilderness camping.


(Looking left from my camping spot)
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(Looking right from my camping spot)
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Going into the wilderness, was like ‘splitting from the pack’ it seemed. Not that I have ever run with any pack, but in my day to day life away from the journey, I do find myself surrounded by the conventional and the formal who do not subscribe to women taking an extended journey by truck/trailer/motorcycles and heading into the woods by herself. It’s not a ‘proper’ vacation. I remind them (and myself from time to time) that I’m not on vacation. I'm on a journey. That's blows most conventional anything out of the water!

(Truck/Trailer/Three bikes/Tent - looking from the creek/river)
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In reality, my split from the pack came much earlier than May of this year. I suppose this split from the pack came pretty early in life. Maybe the defining moment was when my parents found me at age four sitting crossed legged at the highest point of the roof of my home. Maybe it was then, in a defiant four-year-old sort of way, that I announced to them and the rest of the world that I would not conform to the status quo. Age four is probably too young to make that kind of declaration. Maybe it was later.


(first evening in the wilderness)
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I admit, the dash to the wilds did seem unconventional even to me. Setting up camp in the most remote place I could drag a trailer and three bikes, picking a place with as much privacy and seclusion as I could find, choosing to sleep in the wild without the comforting thought that a ranger would drive by in the morning to see how I fared through the night, spending my days where only SPOT had contact with the outside world, lugging water from a river in my collapsible (and indispensable bucket!!!), and using the same river for my entertainment, sustenance, and cleansing – well it does seem unconventional for the stereotypical ‘me’. But then again, I’ve never fit in my world. It needs a better stereotype than what I can give.

(the road in)
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(along the way)
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(path to the river and my water bucket)
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(Fishin' Bike)
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(playin' in dirt)
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So, as minor as it may seem to some, the day I drove my truck and trailer with the three bikes along Granite Creek in to the Bridger-Teton National Forest, it was a huge break from the norm for me; even more so then packing up and starting this adventure in the first place. It was my ‘line in the sand,” “point of no return,” “you can’t go back,” “do or die” moment.

(near campsite)
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It was the logical next step for me and it was huge. In reality, it was maybe the 30th step of this progression in which I find myself, but it was the most obvious one and it loomed mountainous in front of me, carrying with it a real sense of breaking and finality.

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I knew the next weeks would either make me or they would shatter me, along with the hopes and dreams I’ve been carrying for several years now.

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As momentous as that decision was, it did NOT come with struggles and doubts, nor discussions and reasoning. It just came. The place was decided the day before when riding the 1200 GS and ‘stumbling’ upon Granite Creek Road, but not the purpose.

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The purpose was known inside me without discussion. Some things in life don’t need a lot of discussion. The door is open and you either walk through it, or you don’t.


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For me, it was the type of decision you make instinctively, like saving your life or the life of your child. So I pulled out of The Virginian Parking lot in Jackson, Wyoming, and instinctively turned south on 191/26 and took the south (left) fork at Hoback Junction, to save the life of a dream, or perhaps my own.

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I have more photos from this area which I will post in a day or so. Thanks for reading.

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Re: 2008 Summer Journey

Postby abglenn » Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:37 pm

Canon "L" series lens are the best. I find the 24-70 and the 24-105 IS my favorites. If I could hit the road like you been doing, I'd also would have left the 400 white whale at home. I carry a 5D most of the time and a P/S Sony CiberShot. I just know if I we're in your shoes and would be burning up I lot of compact flash cards. BTW, did you consider an F800GS before getting the 1200 Monster Hummer? Boy loading and riding that 1200 must give you a work-out. I have enough weight problems with just the RR. Well anyways, sleep tight and don't cha let that big bad bike bite you on your backside.

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Re: 2008 Summer Journey

Postby mrbreeze » Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:45 pm

"I do find myself surrounded by the conventional and the formal who do not subscribe to women taking an extended journey by truck/trailer/motorcycles and heading into the woods by herself. It’s not a ‘proper’ vacation." - GypsyRR

Yeah, you're supposed to be on a beach somewhere.

I hate the beach. I would much rather be camping in the wilderness. Good for you!

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Re: 2008 Summer Journey

Postby GypsyRR » Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:52 pm

abglenn wrote: I just know if I we're in your shoes and would be burning up I lot of compact flash cards. BTW, did you consider an F800GS before getting the 1200 Monster Hummer? Boy loading and riding that 1200 must give you a work-out. I have enough weight problems with just the RR. Well anyways, sleep tight and don't cha let that big bad bike bite you on your backside.


I'm burning up the cards, but I'm burning to a portable external hard drive every day too. But, yes, without the hard drive, I'd be in trouble. I think I have close to 10,000 photos from this trip.

Actually the beast weighs less than the RR. It's just tall. But it is not as fun as the RR (disappointment). I never considered a 800GS because I didn't want to give up HP. That is where my first love is - quick and speedy (legal speed). So the RR will stay with me till I find something faster that I like better which I have not found in 2 years of looking. The other two may be finding new homes soon. I'll pick up a 225 or 250 or smaller if they do (and if I don't win one within a couple of weeks). [-o< [-o<
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Re: 2008 Summer Journey

Postby Airshaft » Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:18 pm

Gypsy, what a great on going adventure you're having...absolutely fantastic.

By the way there's a better bike to replace your RR.....R1200R :lol:

You should try the new 800 gs if you get an opportunity.....It may be less power on paper but with horspower to weight ratio, should be as fast as the 1150 if not quicker. Also it might be a bit lower than your GS1200 or you should be able to order it with lower seat. The motor (rotex parallel twin) is also pretty close in torque to the 1150 but it will feel verry diferent from the Boxer. I should say Boxer is different than anything else.
Have a safe and adventurious journey.

V
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Re: 2008 Summer Journey

Postby abglenn » Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:52 am

Wilber, or Olins lowering shock sets for Xmas for the GS, may get you down to a inseam of maybe 30". Great bike the 1200GS and your's looks in great shape. I figured already that you must be storing to a portable CF hard drive. Are you shooting RAW and fixing the photos afterwards? A lot of work. Could be worse though, how would you like to be in Beijing about now with a camera hanging from your neck. Remember, it's the ride that counts. not the pictures.

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Re: 2008 Summer Journey

Postby sweatmark » Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:08 am

Gypsy - thanks for sharing the view, from mountains to valleys to 4 year old on the roof.

Was this quest intended as a journey towards discovery, or much-needed escape, or both? Outward adventure or inward exploration? Regardless, you honor us with sights and insights.

The bikes at campsite look like horses grazing.

Feels like I need some Iron Butt solitude myself soon!

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Re: 2008 Summer Journey

Postby GypsyRR » Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:49 am

sweatmark wrote:Gypsy - thanks for sharing the view, from mountains to valleys to 4 year old on the roof.

Was this quest intended as a journey towards discovery, or much-needed escape, or both? Outward adventure or inward exploration? Regardless, you honor us with sights and insights.


I'd love to proclaim it had lofty intentions from it's inception. That would sound so much more noble than the truth. But the truth is that the trip sort of evolved. First, I was just going to take my daughter to Colorado for the summer with her bicycle, longboard (long skateboard), and copious amounts of clothes, where she would live with some family friends for 2 months and work a summer job. I was to return to pick her up in August. But I was concerned that she may not adjust at first, so I was going to just camp/ride for a week or two up there until I was certain I was not going to be called back before August. But, as things developed through the spring, I saw that I could stay on the road until it was time to bring her back to Texas. I couldn't take my coupe anyway, since I was taking her things with us, so I swapped my coupe for a truck for the trip only. Gradually, things evolved and I realized that this was really doable if I could get things taken care of before I left. Once the logistics were squared away, I started thinking the lofty "what could this mean?" type thoughts. That's when I started focusing on the journey aspect and realized this was an opportunity to finally have some prolonged time to just think and formulate my ideas and dreams in a more cohesive and concrete manner, as well as spend some time trying to figure out how I got to this point in my life anyway. It's complex. What life isn't? A door swung open and I took a chance and walked through it. It has cost me more than I intended to spend and has kept me longer than I intended to stay and taken me places I never knew existed - and oh, what a ride - physically and metaphysically!!! I'll never be the same.

I feel like I've gained maybe 10-15 years of life experience over the summer. Experiences that give you wisdom without scars. The best kind. I've been pretty much secluded from outside influences. No news. No books. No internet much of the time - and when I do have it, it is merely to check emails, send in some work, write, and post to this thread - but not surfing. No shopping, other than the one spree with my daughter on our way out of Texas. No socializing other than a short visit to Westfest with the ADVrider group. I was there less than 12 hours before I started getting sick and had to eventually leave when I could. Much of the time, there has not even been cell service for phone calls. Alone with myself and my thoughts. It ended up being the best company I could keep. :D Seriously - that was a good thing to discover. I can be alone with my thoughts and memories and decisions, and am at complete peace with that. In fact, I began to fear that maybe I was becoming to detached from people. I have not felt loneliness, nor regret, nor the need to talk to anybody. I have been perfectly content on my own.

So the evolution of a trip into a journey has confirmed to me that I did the right thing when I took the risk and loaded up truck/trailer/bikes and set out on this odyssey. Knowing it was evolving, I purposed to spend much time in contemplation. It's paid off in huge dividends personally. Now I just have to exchange that currency for one that works in the real world. I'm working on that as well.
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Re: 2008 Summer Journey

Postby GypsyRR » Wed Aug 20, 2008 1:51 pm

Since this was my first wilderness camping experience, it seemed I spent a lot of time 'doing things' at camp. I'm cursed with that 'everything has a place and everything in it's place' complex, so even my campsite had to stay organized. I've tried to be a little less compulsive about it, but man, if you aren't organized when it comes to camping, you've just created more work for yourself. And more work means less 'free time'. So this was the time I spent trying to become more efficient at camping. It worked. By the next place, I had this down to an art!!!!! But along Granite Creek, I had less time to play while I was working out the kinks, so less play time means less photos.

I'll group the next ones from this area in categories rather than sequentially.


The flowers in Wyoming in late July were dynamic! Texas boasts about her wildflowers, but Wyoming won this year in my mind. The variety was stunning. Here are some just from the Granite Creek area. I tried to find the names, but I'd have to buy a book and wait for it to arrive before I could list what these are. But I will probably do so eventually. I'll edit then.


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Not a 'wildflower' as such, but still was pretty to my eye:

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oooooooooh, a bug!!! yuck

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And all the flowers were right around me!

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And in a category by itself: Wildlife

The only photo I got of wildlife along Granite Creek and it's not so good, but if you look carefully, you can see a doe standing in the creek. It was much more grand than this photo displays.

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Re: 2008 Summer Journey

Postby GypsyRR » Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:30 am

This has been the trip of a lifetime. Here are some left over photos from Granite Creek. I'm trying to hurry on to Gros Ventre where the scenes and photos are some of my favorites. Where I learned to ride outside the rut! hahaha. True - I learned that it's easier to make your own way than travel in someone else's rut! That's a life lesson, too!

More from my Granite Creek wilderness stay.


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the yellow flowers looked like spilled paint on the mountains.
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Bikes:

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This is the first time I've seen wood that had been 'carved' by wood worms. I was amazed at the patterns they carved. I saved the piece for a while until someone told me the worms were probably still in there. Ugh. But, I believe it is larvae making the patterns, and then the beetle emerges and moves on. Anyone know? Kind of pretty in a 'infested sort of way'. :lol3

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One evening - in a sort of sad mood, I took a lot of photos of the fire. At the time, it looked like the flames were dancing together, but that may have been one the days I didn't drink enough water to stay hydrated??? Or I was just way too melancholy to make sense of anything. :cry

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The next day I took off on a nice day of riding and fishing and the melancholy was burned in the dancing flames. Fires are good for that.

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Next: Gros Ventre just south of Moose and Kelly, Wyoming.

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Re: 2008 Summer Journey

Postby GypsyRR » Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:32 am

I've been waiting to get to the part of the ride where I could post about this place: Gros Ventre Wilderness. It was the best place I camped. But it also ended up being the only place I left, angry and frustrated.

Mr. Fisherman told me about this area, and with a name like Mr. Fisherman, who wouldn't listen to him on a recommendation for camping and fishing?? But actually, the tip he gave me about this area was about a warm/hot water spring in the area that the locals enjoy. I was looking for THAT! The Kelly Warm Springs is what the sign said, but it gave no arrows, and there was only one sign - along a long stretch of road running out of Kelly, Wyoming. Maybe I just came from the wrong direction. I never found the hot or warm springs. But I did find this:

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That's looking back over my shoulder by Goosewing Ranch, at the Grand Tetons. What a view.

And this view is from a fishing spot near the bridge that crosses the Gros Ventre river before the ranch.

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If you never roam far from the pavement, the only view you get of the Tetons is this one:

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Not bad, but there is so much more to see when off the pavement.

This is where I was:

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If you go to this site: http://www.communitywalk.com/GrosVentreWilderness then you can click on those numbers on the map and it will show a photograph of the area. It's a pretty cool mapping program too and free. Eventually, I'll map my whole journey there.


Continuing ..............
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Re: 2008 Summer Journey

Postby GypsyRR » Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:35 am

Here is some more from the Gros Ventre area.


Gros Ventre is from the French word for "big belly." The Indians of that region were using hand signals to convey the idea that they were always hungry, and the French misunderstood and thought that was the a reference to the name of their tribe.

I think this area may be one of my favorite areas in this region of Wyoming. The diversity, again, is stunning. Watch it change through the photos


Entering the wilderness from Kelly, you are sure to meet up with a herd of buffalo. You get tired of buffalo blocking your way, or worse - pedestrians walking out in front of you to get a photo of them. I took my photo as I passed a car that had stopped in the middle of the road.

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Leaving the Tetons behind:


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you follow Crystal Creek for a while. But it was not crystal clear the day I passed by. A lot of rain in the mountains had it pretty chalky and stirred up. No good for fishing, I would need to go further in.

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There are a few aspen groves along the way that break up the scenery nicely with stately white trunks as pillars lining the drive or against the vibrant rust colored mountains.

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As you drive deeper into the Gros Ventre Wilderness you begin to notice a large scar on the mountain often referred to as the Sleeping Indian (because from Jackson, the mountain looks like a Chief sleeping on his back). As you get closer to the scar you realize the magnitude of it's size. That is the Gros Ventre Slide, responsible for Lower Slide Lake. Here you can see it in the photo - the bald area on the mountain in the background.


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In 1925 a major slump broke off and plummeted down the mountain side forming a 225 foot dam across the Gros Ventre River. Sandstone, limestone, shale, mud, dirt - about one mile long and almost 1/2 mile wide and several hundred feet deep was strewn across the valley floor and across the river. It created what is now called Lower Slide Lake by damming up the river. But two years later, the natural dam broke after heavy rains, and
a wall of water destroying everything in it's path, wiped out the little town of Kelly, Wyoming three and a half miles downstream. Six people died in that flood.


Lower Slide Lake

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continuing
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Re: 2008 Summer Journey

Postby GypsyRR » Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:37 am

Once you move past Lower Slide Lake, the pavement ends, the dirt begins and the mountains become almost psychedelic in color. I've never seen anything like this before! For some reason it reminded me of dessert - like a sorbet or something. Maybe I was just hungry!

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Incredible, isn't it? And the wildflowers were in bloom everywhere! It was truly beautiful. But -- I kept going and the further I went the more changes I saw.

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The Gros Ventre River is snaking alongside the road and I kept looking for a camping spot near it - so I kept going.

Past a ranch or two

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and now the road gets a bit more rough but still passable for truck/trailer/three bikes. But I can't wait to get a bike off and ride some of those roads I see shooting off this main one!!

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Ahhhhh - shade. That would be nice for a place to camp - but not close enough to the river.

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Once I'm out of the Aspens, I see the mountains have turned from dessert colors to vegetable colors. More changes yet to come. But look at this view coming up!!!

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AND it looks like there might be a nice spot to camp down there, right by the water, so I turn the huge rig down this rutted slope and grin to myself, 'yeah, this is going to be fun' and head down.

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A little rocky - but not too bad. I was moving that barge pretty slowly with the trailer and bikes, and it still was like being tossed on the sea going over those ruts and rocks and bumps. The photos don't do justice to how torn up the path down really was - and how steep.

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Looking back:

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And sure enough - a prime camping spot all alone.

Various pictures of the campsite:

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And a nice touch - fresh (native and wild) pink roses at the tent door!!

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And ample parking:

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The view across the river from my site

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The view back to the main road

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I even had a visitor. This is Dave and his dog, Cast. Dave was dredging for gold in the area and saw me pull in. (yes, he does find gold) He told me about his work and how he got to the area. He left New York on vacation one day, and just kept going and never went back. That was several years ago. Cast was a sweet dog. He rode on that "too small for a big dog" pad on the front of Dave's ATV. He has the saddest eyes. What a sight to see him hanging on and hanging off that pad as they go over the bumps and ruts. The back end of Cast is as pitiful as his eyes. All the hair on his tail is burned off. Dave said he thinks it is because he sleeps with his hind end up against the heater. Looked like a rat tail to me! Ugh.

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Coming up later - frustration, fishing, and flies.
Kristi
05 Granite Grey


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