Morning brought with it a chilly surprise. Deffy had NO HOT WATER!!! And the cold water was freezing! So we spit bathed and were out by 7:30am. Stopped for ice and eggs (in anticipation of a great wilderness breakfast tomorrow) then hit the road to the hinterlands. South on 93 and at Lost Trail Pass we switch to 43 toward Wisdom. Lost Trail Pass is purported to be the route of Lewis and Clark, as well as 10,000 years of native peoples. Lewis and Clark had a hard time of it, even losing horses off the edge of rocky cliffs. Rt. 43 is also known as Chief Joseph Pass with an elevation of 7,264′. It is also on the Continental Divide.
We stopped in Wisdom for breakfast at a brand new spot in a really old building – latte and home made egg and cheese bagels, coffee cake, cinnamon rolls. Two ladies a bit younger that us were the proprietors and said they just opened on Saturday. We complimented them on their seeming success and they both beamed with pride.
Through the town of Jackson (not Hole). Much of the “old” town remains. There is a hotel, next to it is The Cowgirl Palace(!) which is right across from the LDS chapel. The elevation here is 6,000′ with a very “big” sky, mountains, rolling hills, huge prairie in the middle.
Continued on and stopped in the old mining town of Bannack. Well preserved buildings and, again, interesting history. The town was pretty wild and one of the wildest, Henry Plummer, won the hearts of the town, making him the Sherrif (he also won over the folks in Virginia City and served both towns). Once installed Sherrif Plummer and his crew went about robbing, thieving, and many other horrifications pushing the townsfolks to follow in the footsteps of a group in California in a similar situation. They formed the Citizens Vigilante Committee, an ultra secret society, and took matters into their own hands eventually “leaving Plummer hanging into the inky depths.”
Gas in Dillon ($2.77!) and on to Black Tail Road in the Bitterroot Mountains. Beautiful, velvet, green-gold hills with a back drop of the Snocrest Mountains and Beaverhead National Forest. Continuing into the Blacktail Range over Lyon’s Bridge into Red Rock Lake National Wildlife Reserve. It is not an exaggeration to say that both of us were in awe with the beauty of this area. Truly.
We were planning to camp, but as thunder storms began to surround us yet again, and hearing from the ranger that she had to close the camping a week or so ago because of two aggresive Grizzly bears, we heading to civilization and the town of Ashton. Lovely little cabins, good Mexican food, and torrential rain. Super day.
Critter Count: Several bald eagles, golden eagles, kestrals, assorted hawks, vultures, Wimbrel, Sand Hill Cranes, ground squirrels, Prong Horn Antelope, Magpies…but no bears.