July 9 – Milky Way Delight

During the night, lightning struck the main Ashton transformer and the entire town went dark. Cute place with little cabins, in business since 1924, Rankin Motel has history, and really nice owners.

Left town early stopping at the ranger station to check out the road conditions, what with so many storms and road made of gravel and dirt. Ranger says “good to go” so off we go, heading first on Ashton Flag Ranch Road. This then turns into Grassey Lake Road in Wyoming. We see mountains in the distance, pass Grassy Lake and Dam and Pole Cat Creek. We pass Flagg Ranch, WY and hit Jackson Hole at elevation 6,200′.

Jackson is a zoo. Those who know us won’t be surprised that we kept going through – seemed like it took forever! We loved the Tetons. They are majestic and inspiring just as we expected. The region is absolutely breathtaking, lush, varied. We hit 26/89 to Alpine then Grey’s River Road. We happened to see an officer in his SUV seemingly in trouble, but when we gave him a closer look he was a real dummy! Now on Grey’s River Road following Grey’s River south, about 100 miles due north of Kemmerer, we cross over Grey’s Bridge. Grey’s Bridge takes you over the Little Grey’s River and some gorgeous grass land, just right for sheep! Just over the bridge is the chuck wagon, sleeping trailers, sheep herding dogs running everywhere, and six (6) semi trailers full of sheep. When we arrived, the herders were just letting them out and were they ever happy. Summer camp before “the fall.”

Continued on following the river and about an hour after seeing the sheep we found a lovely clearing slightly above the river and a beautiful meadow. We set up camp but after the tent was up the wind took it and blew it across the meadow! Steve ran and after a couple of attempts he mastered the wind and brought it back. Then we headed to play in the river. Anytime there’s natural water! The river was running much faster that either of us realized, so we settled to have just our feet dangling in. Later, Steve fixed dinner of fried potatoes in sesame oil and stroganoff (right?). Cleaned up and locked all the food in the car (bear country, you know) and in the tent we had placed necessary supplies for the night – bug spray, bear spray, human spray. Sat and enjoyed the sounds, sights, solitude.

The night was pretty cold and in fact the tent was icy in the morning. I can say that my sleeping bag is NOT good to 15 degrees F! Cold and clear gave us the most amazing night sky. Everything seemed closer and brighter. I guess 9,000+ feet in elevation will do that. There was no ambient light for maybe 50 miles in any direction and we had a wonderful Milky Way dance about 3am.

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