Sorry No Pics on this trip as I forgot my camera
Once again it’s time for a post that has nothing to do with insurance and EVERYTHING to do with quality of life, peace of mind, a calming vibe – just a really nice morning! For those of you parents that have children in college, this is also the time of year when they are finishing their finals and getting ready to come home for the summer. For us this week was our time. Our daughter finished out the week and her sophomore year at CU Boulder.
Now for those of you who don’t look at maps, Boulder Colorado sits almost exactly 500 miles south of Jackson Hole, Wyoming only on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains. This post is just a snippet of my trip and it takes you from my home in Jackson Hole over the Absaroka Mountain range up to the point I reached Dubois, Wyoming.
I left on Thursday morning a bit later than I normally do. I was so excited to get my little (19-year-old) girl and bring her home for the summer. Not so sure she was as excited as I but I would like to think so. From Jackson Hole to Dubois is about 90 miles or just under two hours of casual driving. I grabbed my morning coffee and I headed out-of-town.
Now for those of us that live in this valley we have basically two options for this drive. You can travel south out of Jackson down through Bondurant, Pinedale and ending up on Hwy 80 in Rock Springs or you can head North for a short distance and pop over the mountain range which takes you through Dubois, across the Wind River Reservation and then Lander and beyond. I chose to go North this morning.
It was about 9:15 am when I left and as I left town I drove past the National Elk Refuge, past the Grand Tetons on my way to Moran Junction (Gateway to Yellowstone Park). From Moran Junction you head directly east over what is called Togwotee Pass (pronounced toe-go-tee) which was named after a subchief under Chief Washakie of the Sheepeater tribe, a branch of the Shoshone Indians. Togwotee lead a U.S. government exploratory expedition over this pass in 1873 – but that is another story.
Before I reached Moran Junction which is about 35 miles north of town I saw many different animals. I saw large numbers of elk that were starting to move slightly north as the snow packs in the valley are finally starting to diminish. I saw 6 moose, many deer, buffalo, fox, and 4 or 5 eagles watching over me as I traveled. Just short of Moran Junction a lone wolf jumped right in front of my vehicle and looked at me as though I was out of line or something. This was a real treat as we see quite a few large coyotes here and many fox but to see a real wolf in the wild is soo cool. So I pulled over and stopped and watched him disappear into the distance.
Moran Junction is simply a beautiful area because you have the Snake River right next to the road and the Buffalo Fork river which is one of Wyoming’s finest locations for fishing, and clear waters that drain the Teton Wilderness. Over 80% of the Buffalo Fork river is in a wilderness setting, and is the highest drainage in the Jackson Hole area and drains much of the area around Togwotee Pass.
As I headed up the pass I realized that I had the road just about to myself. As I climbed the snow pack continued to deepen and in places was still over 10+ feet deep. There was an eerie calm this morning and the sun was out and it was simply beautiful. I pulled over towards the top of the divide and got out for a few minutes to simply take in the unbelievable vistas. I was looking to the northeast at huge cliffs that line the drive. The drive from Moran Junction to Dubois is simply 56 mile of heaven or in this case Just South of Heaven. In the summer this stretch of road would be a motorcyclist dream. In the winter this area is one of the best areas in the world for snowmobiles.
Once you cross over the Continental Divide you make your way down into the small town of Dubois, Wyoming. A charming little town with great Wyoming character. Almost the whole part of this trip you will travel along rivers and streams which bring great opportunities for wildlife. Be careful though if you travel this in the summer as this is bear habitat and Grizzlies are spotted all the time in this area. One of the things you will pass as you come into Dubois is the turn off for Union Pass (Google it). Union pass has tremedous history for those of you who are interested. I plan to take a trip this summer over Union Pass and I will post this day sometime later this summer.
At risk of blogging too much and boring you I will stop here. But I need to tell you that there are times and places that you will find in your life where I believe God speaks to your heart. 90 miles from Jackson Hole to Dubois on your way to Boulder Colorado may be just the time and place for you as it was for me this morning. Seek this stretch of road and I challenge you not to be inspired. This truly is a road worth traveling that in my eyes is just south of heaven!