Manifest Destiny 2015

Many Varieties of Nothing

We were up out and early from the Old Faithful Snow Lodge for our wonderful exciting day with a total of 9 hours of driving through Wyoming! Whoo! We planned on looking for animals while we still had some ways to go through Yellowstone. We saw one bison right near our hotel, but after that, nothing but the trees.

We had a few places we wanted to stop before we started trucking down the road. We knew our first stop needed to be breakfast, as we had not yet eaten. We were driving through Grand Teton National Park, which was directly south of Yellowstone. Grampa had also put on his itinerary that the Jackson Lake Lodge was a “must-do,” even though he had forgotten why. We parked the car there, and from the outside, it didn’t look like much. Then once we were inside, we knew that all the fuss is about. The inn was big and grand with floor to ceiling windows that opened up to a larger-than-life view of the Grand Teton Mountains. We ate a breakfast buffet in their dining room in the company of a snooty family that kept cutting Mom in the waffle line.

Immediately after breakfast, Auntie Stacey, Matthew, and Grampa went outside to look for animals and Mom, Memere, and I went to the bathroom and the gift shop. It turns out that we made the wrong decision, because the outside crew got to see three moose, a mom and two babies, running through the fields in front of the mountains! NOOO! I’ve never seen a moose, and I had said that I had wanted to see them! Curse my postcard collection, as it drew me away from the moose!

We left there and then made a quick stop at Jenny Lake, which had a pretty view of the mountains. We took a few pictures and then got back on the road. While still driving through the park, we saw another large woodland creature. Memere called it out as a moose, we all turned to see it, then there was some discrepancy about whether it was a moose or an elk. At first I yelled “YAY I SAW A MOOSE!” but after the argument, I’m still not sure. And even if it was a moose, I only saw its butt, so that’s not exactly the most exciting encounter.

Driving through Wyoming is interesting. The state is very empty. There are many more cows than there are people. In fact, it got to the point that we started asking where the cows were coming from, because they were gated in, but there were no houses or ranches anywhere nearby. Also we saw many pronghorn antelopes hanging out with the cows! After seeing pronghorn antelopes at the San Diego Zoo, and being surprised to see two in Yellowstone (they’re supposed to be rare,) they were all over the place in rural Wyoming.

The landscape changed multiple times driving through the country. Just outside of the Grand Tetons, the area was still a piney forest. I was still looking for moose about three hours into the ride (I wanted to see another one!) Then we found ourselves in a grassy meadowy area. Then there were dry cliffs and rocks. The longest stretch of the drive was wide open prairie. We started singing “Home on the Range” for a little while, until Matthew told us to stop singing. He was happy watching his iPad. Wherever the road took us, it was just open and empty and full of nothing. What’s in Wyoming? Yellowstone, then nothing.

We eventually reached our destination in Laramie, Wyoming, which is probably considered a city by Wyoming standards, and is probably about half the size of Durham, New Hampshire. Of course you can see the whole town from the highway, because the area is so flat. Once at the hotel, Matthew went swimming, everyone relaxed, and Mom, Auntie and I ended the evening watching Beach Flip. Nothing says summer like HGTV making home renovation seem dramatic.

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