if the bears and the snake don’t get you, the tumble weeds will

Nine of us packed our bags and headed out west.  Within the first 24 hours,  the local head-lines read something along the lines of – Man mauled and killed by bear, while in Yellowstone Park. (Our destination)  Not exactly the news you want to read on your first day of vacation, but wait – there’s more, A day later the head lines read about a man who died while white water rafting with his family on the Snake River.  We had a rafting trip planned for later in the week.

Our ever alert and always prepared traveling companion, Mark, headed to the local K-Mart and purchased bear spray.  I laughed at him, to which he calmly replied, that I would be thanking him when he saved my sorry ass from a bear.

Mark demonstrates proper bear spraying technique.

This was my first trip out west.  Out west – that sounds so specific.  For me, saying those words always meant something very specific, another place – as in a different world and time than where I live. I always conjured up an image straight from Gunsmoke, or an old John Wayne movie when I would utter those words.  A world that was sepia toned and dry as dust .

I just knew I would see John Wayne.

Before we arrived, I had images in my mind of dry, dusty, smoky, tumble weed landscapes, where cowboys rode on the horizon,  and grizzly bears stand upright and shake their mighty paws in the air.  Coyote’s howling in the night

and covered wagons lurching on trails and Indians lurking behind trees.

I wasn’t too wrong about the covered wagons or the indians or the coyote, (actually my photo is of a wolf).

Our first leg of the trip was in Jackson hole, Wyoming.

Not dry, not dusty.

Reality – snow still covered the mountain tops and what wasn’t white was bright green and fresh, or blue and clear.

And yes, tumble weeds – but not dry, they were lush and green.  Sage brush, a beautiful blue-green bush with a wonderful scent that covered the land as far as the eye could see.  And to be correct, sage brush is not the sage we associate with cooking and it isn’t technically the tumble weeds we see and think of in movies.

Not fair, getting horribly sick with a sinus infection that skipped go and went straight into bronchitis, shortly after my arrival on this foreign landscape.  Out there, spring had just arrived.  All the beautiful plants, grasses and trees, were just blooming.  It sent my allergies into overdrive and perhaps that was mother natures way of telling me she would show me and my preconceived notions about dry and dusty.

The town of Jackson Hole, had incredible hanging baskets, window boxes and gardens full of bloom every where.  The surrounding land was covered in fields of wild flowers.  Each more picturesque than the last.

Beautiful flowers everywhere

Not only were the window boxes full of beautiful blooms, but hand painted too.

Jackson Hole, takes so much pride in their town,  not a piece of trash anywhere, even the dumpsters are hand painted.

We took one of those chuckwagon train rides and bar-b-q excursions. Our tour took us to Cache Creek Canyon for an evening wagon ride, dinner and musical entertainment.  I’ll leave you with a little snippet from the night.  The gentleman on the far left of the stage plays with Willie Nelson, when he isn’t performing with the BarT5 group, and the young man on the fiddle is only 16 years old and plays quite impressively.

Until next time, – The grand Teton’s

Cheers,

Kim

BarT5 Group performs

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