September 28, 2014 – Journal
From the tourist town of West Yellowstone, I headed south until I reached Driggs, Idaho, in the Teton Valley. I liked the small town of Driggs. Obviously, it was geared towards tourism, but it also had a sense of community and was surrounded by working ranches. It had a nice mix of age groups, and a lovely little health food store and more. This, or a town near it, is another place I would consider getting a summer job.
The ultra-modern, interactive visitor center, had a volunteer who was very helpful, and she told me where I could camp for the night for free in dispersed camping.
Teton Canyon was beautiful and offered quite a bit of hiking into the Teton Mountains (some trails had regular grizzly bear activity) and I found a lovely spot amid aspen trees. I would have liked to get further off the gravel road, but everything was so muddy, and I worried about getting stuck. I set up a tarp over my door, so I could sit and read but still have plenty of air flow inside. It rained and rained. I heated food, and tea under Mitzi’s rear end, and still, it rained.
I’d thought to have a fire… go for a hike in Grizzly country just to feel the danger of it… but it just kept raining.
Finally, it grew dark, and I snuggled into my sleeping bag to read some more. I was pretty sure I had this entire valley all to myself, and then someone else came along and parked just a short distance away from me in some trees.
It wasn’t too bad at first. I couldn’t see them at least, but then they started building a big fire, and turned on some music. The music had a bass boost that thumped and thumped so hard, I couldn’t think. My vehicle vibrated with each super boom.
Just my luck. This entire valley was available to camp in, and they park right next to me! The thump, thump, was too much… I got up, climbed into the front seat, slamming all the doors hard, then revved my engine as loud as I could and peeled out of there like a child having a nasty temper tantrum. It didn’t do any good, but it felt good for a moment.
It was pitch black and raining, and I’m driving up the gravel road looking for a pull off, with a spot to camp again. I’d been so settled and relaxed, and even dozing off the sleep in camp, but now I was on a muddy two-track, slipping sideways in the mud. Not able to go forward, and nowhere to turn around, I had to back down the two track, in the dark, in 4WD, sliding all over the place.
Back on the gravel road, I kept driving deeper into the canyon. Washboard threw my disorganized belongings around in the back, and a black bear dashed across the road in front of me. Finally, I came to a big campground with not a soul in it. I parked in the host’s spot, and settled down again, allowing my eyes to grow used to the dark surroundings, and tuning my ears to the sounds of the night outside.
Finally, I slept, with one ear always tuned for unwelcome visitors, be it beast or human…
Until another day…
Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature (Originally posted on my (then) blog A Free-Spirited Woman