Eastern Utah
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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Craters of the Moon, Tetons, Yosemite

I left the motel in Burns, Oregon and traveled to Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho.  Eastern Oregon is beautiful although stark, and I have a couple of photos that typify the scenery.

Why is it that when the most beautiful scenes are present there is no place to pull over to take a picture, and by the time there is a place the perspective changes and it just isn't the same picture.  I really wanted to get the Malheur River which runs along the highway, as well as some more spectacular views, but it just wasn't possible.

I arrived at Craters of the Moon National Monument in good time and got an excellent site.  The employees of the National Parks are so enthusiastic, helpful, friendly, and I just can't say enough good things about them.  The ranger at the gate was the sweetest guy with the most wonderful handlebar mustache I've ever seen.  My ex had one for a while in the 1970's, but he let it get too long.  This guy had the perfect mustache!  Sadly I didn't get a picture of him!

I drove the crater loop but the sky was dark with clouds.  I thought it might rain, but lucky for me, it didn't.

 I don't know why the scenery looks dark but the skies do not, as the reverse was true in reality.  I love taking pictures but I'm getting tired of not getting them the way I want.  I think I did better with the old film cameras, and have two of them with me - one with color film and one with b&w - but I hate waiting for the pics.  And then, even if I get them on a disc, the disc doesn't usually work with the Mac.  

I left Craters of the Moon early Thursday hoping to get to the Grand Tetons in time to get a decent campsite.  Everything went well until I got to Jackson.  I know many of you love Jackson but I can't say much about it right now.  The traffic was horrendous and it got worse when I finally reached the entrance station.  The Ranger told me I would reach my planned destination in plenty of time as it was only 30 miles.  It took an hour an a half to travel 30 miles, and when I got there the campsites left a lot to be desired.  The campers were another issue.  

I found myself at the end of a road and was turning around in a very tight space.  When I straightened out and was pointed in the direction I wanted to travel another SUV was coming toward me in the middle of the road.  They just stopped dead in the middle!  I thought we might jockey around each other, but they weren't giving up the middle.

I backed into an apron in front of a campsite to give them room to pass me, but they still sat.  I backed up some more.  They sat.  I backed as far as I could and they finally proceeded past me.  When I pulled out into the road there was an SUV pulling a Casita, and they stopped in the middle of the road!  I really didn't want to get into a pissing contest over this road and wondered why we couldn't share it, so I backed up a bit and got myself to the far right side and just waited.  Finally the SUV and Casita proceeded to hug their right side of the road and we safely and easily passed each other.  What is wrong with people who demand you give in, when I've found most people usually meet you halfway.  

To say I wasn't pleased with this place would be an understatement.  I drove on to Yellowstone but didn't find a campground that was suitable, and again the traffic was awful.  I think the Tetons and Yellowstone are exceptionally beautiful places, but I won't go back unless it is at a time of year when there is less traffic!

Maybe the "biggies" in the National Park and National Forest Systems are just too big - Crater Lake, Tetons, Yellowstone, Yosemite, etc.   The smaller ones are absolutely outstanding, and those are the ones I will concentrate on from now on.  I may try the Smokies since it would be in late September, however.

Right now I have good Mifi reception at the Big Bear Motel in Cody Wyoming!  I set up my tent at Buffalo Bill State Park campground, but it started raining and the wind blew the tent over twice.  I didn't stick around for the third time, but packed the wet tent and rainfly into the car, and hope they dry out by tomorrow. 

Shadowmoss commented on my little stove - I couldn't find the butane cannisters until several readers suggested Asian Markets.  The Korean mall near me had 8 cannisters for $5.  So far I've only boiled water for coffee but I think the fuel seems to last as well as propane.  It is a lot easier to use than propane - at least I find that hooking it up is simpler.  The only thing I've heard is that they take longer to boil at high elevations.  That is true with most small stoves - it was with the Whisperlite I carried while backpacking.  So I waited an extra minute or two to boil water, but it wasn't really an issue.  I think I am going to get a lot of good use from this stove.



  1. I think this may be the saddest blog I have ever read - to be in the midst of such splendor and never really SEE it - how very sad. Miss Jane in a nursing home in Kentucky.

  2. So sorry the crowds ruined the Tetons and Yellowstone for you. August is the very worst month so see either of them. Actually August is the worst month almost anywhere - here in Acadia too.
    BUT I'm glad to see you on the road and think the Smokies in September will be fine. Nearly anywhere in September is better. Can you catch Teton and Yellowstone on your way back? The hiking there is fantastic.

    As for the middle of the road huggers, you can't cure stupid.

  3. I agree about being able to pull over at the most beautiful sites. I find that far to often.

    I don't understand why some people are so rude. If the road is wide enough for two to pass why take up the entire road. Oh well such is life.
    You pictures are great.

  4. We found those roads with no shoulders while crossing BC in 2005. Splendid scenery, but nowhere to pull over, especially in a motorhome towing a toad!

  5. Being that close to the Tetons and Yellowstone, I don't think I could have passed them by. Crowds or no crowds. Too bad.

  6. You might want to rethink the smokies if you go late Sept. The leaves start to change and the traffic gets terrible. The views are out of this world if you don't mind bumper to bumper. Also check road closings they have had a lot of slides this year.

  7. I got here, Gypsy! Thanks. Yellowstone was such an anti-climax for me after seeing so many beautiful "uncrowded" places. Rich and I always wanted to go back to all the places we loved in each season.

    Some people who would ordinarily be polite turn into monsters in cars. I'm not about to fight over a parking space in a super market parking lot, but you would think it was going to kill some people to give you room to back out so they can get in.

    Thanks for sending the URL.

  8. We spent just one day at Craters of the Moon, but it was sure an interesting place. I have never been to Yellowstone without the crowds. It is just something you have to endure to explore the park.