Here we go again. Imperfection. We woke up early. The drive from West Yellowstone, Montana to Steamboat Springs, CO is a long one so Rich wanted to get on the road ASAP. There was only time for the free breakfast at the hotel and a quick cup of joe. No walking.
Our original plan was to drive through Yellowstone but when we got to the entrance, the cars were already backed up to get in. It was Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. The tourists had arrived in droves. If you’ve ever driven through Yellowstone you know how slow the traffic can sometimes be. Buffalo sightings are common and each time one happens everyone pulls over to the side of the road. Sometimes not even the side of the road, they just stop in the middle of the road, hop out of the car, and start snapping pictures. We were lucky the past two days, the park wasn’t that crowded, but this did not look good. Rich made an executive decision. “We’re going back the way we came, through Idaho then into the Tetons.” He wheeled the car around and headed west.
I was hoping once we got into the park I could cajole him into a scenic walk at another beautiful spot along the route. Oh well, marriage is made up of compromises, right? I’d figure this walking thing out later. In the back of my mind I knew I had banked a second walk the day before.
Coming out of Montana on Route 20, we headed south through Targhee National Forest, eventually connecting with Route 33 and correcting our course due East. The rolling, undulating hills through the potato farms of Idaho are beautiful countryside. We had passed by here just a few short days ago when we visited the Mesa Falls, but this time we made the turn east, headed straight for the Tetons. Photographs cannot do it justice.
We arrived in Jackson around lunchtime. The town was crowded but we found a place to park near the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. Now this could have been a time for me to take a quick walk around the town but before we got married, bought an old house, had two kids, and faced all kinds of financial difficulties and calamities in our old house, we traveled cross-country for six weeks and stopped at this very bar. My husband wanted to go in and have a beer. Marriage is also made of rituals, the little things you do together that become traditions. The memories of fun times and falling in love. The walk could wait, it was only lunchtime. We saddled up to the bar and I have to tell you, those seats were far more comfortable twenty six years ago.
The rest of the drive was uneventul. We were eventually headed to Route 80 but the road we took to get there was beautiful. For miles we drove with the Tetons to our left, then the landscape changed significantly.
Green mountains with snow-capped peaks turned to red rocks reminiscent of the Grand Canyon or Sedona, Arizona.
We eventually entered the Wind River Indian Reservation which was bleak and dry, patches of sagebrush here and there. My husband and I made snide remarks about how the government gave the worst land to the Native Americans. “Here you go, you guys can have this. Good luck growing anything.” My husband was coincidentally wearing his favorite T-shirt, the one with a picture of Geronimo and three of his buddies. Below the photo it says, “Homeland Security. Fighting Terrorism since 1492.”
We arrived in Steamboat Springs, Colarado at 8 p.m., tired and hungry. We checked into the hotel, ordered a pizza delivery, watched TV and fell asleep. I made a withdrawal from my walking account.
Up early, we finished another free breakfast by eight and went to meet our older daughter. First stop was a hike to Fish Creek Falls, a short but steep hike. I was proud of myself for making it all the way to the top of the falls. I could have stopped at the bridge, taken a few photos and called it a walk but I knew I had to make up for yesterday. As I hiked further up along the falls, I was rewarded with the bonus of a breeze generated from the crashing water that felt like air conditioning, a cool relief.
Next stop, the Yampa River Botantical Garden in Steamboat. We walked around for about an hour, snapping dozens of photos of the beautiful flowers. Another lovely public park for the free enjoyment of all.
We ended the day with some soccer and lax. I actually sat at a picnic table reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children on my Kindle. Just being honest here. I’d already taken a hike and a walk for the bank. I felt entitled to a little relaxation. There was not a lot of down time on this vacation and I love to read. Reading is not slacking.
Later in the evening, we had dinner at an Italian restaurant with outdoor seating along the Yampa River. All and all, it was an wonderful day with my oldest daughter. It helped lighten the blues I was feeling after leaving our youngest in Yellowstone. It helped to know that although we are no longer all together, both my girls are happy and thriving.
It was also good to know I had another walk in the bank as tomorrow was an airport day and you know how that can go.
We met my daughter for breakfast then hit the road, headed for the Denver airport. I am happy to report that I did get a walk in. My husband dropped me off to check the luggage while he returned the weary rental car so I took the opportunity to circle the terminal numerous times. I probably only got in a mile, but maybe a bit more because I was looking for inspiration. The Denver airport is full of inspiration. Quotes are posted throughout the terminal, including the restrooms. Here’s what I found: