Monday, February 17, 2014

From balmy to blizzard...

I got visitors (my brother's girlfriend and two exchange students) over the weekend...and one of the places they wanted to visit was Jackson Hole.  There was NO WAY I was sending them on their own in their car over Togwotee Pass to Jackson.  The mountains have been getting a lot of snow lately, and who knows what the conditions might be at any given moment with snow and wind on the mountain.  So, I loaded them up in my Toyota Tundra pickup. 

It was sweatshirt weather.  We stopped at the Red Rocks for a picture of the two girls, exchange students from Germany and Japan, and it was almost balmy (for winter in WY, anyway).  However, once we got to Dubois, it was raining lightly.  The sky soon turned from delightful to dreary.  As we headed west out of Dubois, the weather and road conditions changed significantly.  We were soon riding on slick, snow-packed roads, with near white-out conditions as we topped the pass.   Man, that's hard on the eyes, trying to keep the delineation poles in sight and stay on the road when the light is so flat.  Should have brought my ski goggles along and slipped them over my glasses! (I've done that once; it's a great look.)  We stopped for another picture, but it was definitely coat weather here.

Slow and steady...we made our way to the Flats just east of Jackson, when we came upon a SUV with Texas plates that was stuck in a 5 foot snowbank.  Seriously, the roads were a bit slushy and icy, but I have no idea how this car got into this mess.  It looked like it was trying to jump the snowbank.  It was was high-centered on top of the bank!!  Two other vehicles had already stopped, and about 5 guys were there trying to dig them out with a shovel.  The weather conditions were nasty; wet snow and strong wind. The guys had made some good headway in getting snow out from under the front tires, but it was going to take a lot more work.  I knew I had a tow rope in the back and 4-wheel drive, so I turned around to stop and help them, quite sure I could pull them out in a couple minutes.  The guys were a little hesitant about accepting more help, but I insisted I could get them out quickly.  As I was getting out the tow rope, the guys managed to push the car down the slope a couple feet, so that the back tires were on the pavement, but the front tires were buried again.  I said, "Really, let's hook up this rope and let me pull you out."  In a minute they were pulled free and all four tires were back on the ground.  As this was all taking place, a policeman from Jackson showed up along side the road, but ended up just watching that everyone got on their way safely; he didn't even get out of his vehicle.  After I got my gear all packed away and got the truck turned around to head into Jackson, we passed the parked policeman; he just gave us a big smile.  You can usually count on WY folks to lend a hand.   (Sorry, no pictures.  I was in rescue mode.)

By the way, I wonder how the story from the Texans will sound...will they actually say that a truckload of girls stopped and pulled them out of the snowbank and got them on their way??? 


As soon as we got into Jackson, we got tickets to ride the horse-drawn sleighs into the National Elk Refuge.  It was COLD day to do this, especially because of the wind and blowing snow, but it was so interesting to get close to the elk and hear all the information about the refuge and the elk population (expecting 7,000) as the animals move in and out of this warm valley.  One thing that was especially interesting was that we saw several pairs of males "sparing" for fun. It's a macho thing.  But, their antlers can easily do some fatal damage.

Then of course, I had to get a picture of the gals under one of  the antler arches in the town square. 

We had lunch at the Sweetwater Deli -- fabulous! Then we looked around town a bit before heading back over the mountain. 

The ride home over the pass was even worse--more snow and wind.  I was glad to be following another vehicle so I could more easily follow the winding road; another vehicle was following close behind me, so we "caravaned" for about 2.5 hours, going only 35 mph at best.   We almost came to a stop twice because of lack of visibility.  The windshield wipers were getting caked with ice and making horrible noises.  After listening to that racket for countless miles, we ignored it by singing American folk and patriotic tunes.  We laughed--we sure have forgotten a lot of verses over the years.  But we could nail the words to the chorus. Maybe we need to do that a little more often.

Once we got back to Dubois, it was dry roads again.  Yippee!  We could relax again and finish the trip without the "white knuckles."

This was one of the rare trips I've made when I haven't been able to see the Grand Tetons...and that's a bit of a disappointment.  But, we saw moose and deer along side the road and elk and 2 coyotes in the Elk Refuge.  So that helped make up for the lack of visible mountain scenery.  It's always interesting when you make a winter trip to Jackson.


  1. You are one brave woman!!! And, yes, I would love to hear the TEXANS tell their tale. LOL

    Last week at the gym, the toilet was running and one of the male trainers said he would take care of it 'cause it's a MAN'S job. My trainer told him that was funny because I was the one that fixed it LAST week when it was running. (I did have an advantage dad was a plumber.) I guess I'm a "manly woman" ---- at least when it comes to plumbing. LOL

  2. Glad you got over the pass safely and that you insisted on taking the pickup. The girls have some good memories to share when they get home.

  3. What a great story ; the girls will remember it forever and tell it over and over. How brave and helpful you are! Glad you were rewarded with the beauty of wild creatures!

  4. Wow, what an adventure, and I'm sure one that will be told in different versions. Great photos! You are a brave one!

  5. Sounds like a hairraising journey...thank goodness you made it safely.


  6. Goggles in vehicle? Ok I think I have been there too! It worked well in flat light . Wyoming girls can pull out a stuck vehicle and then head to the theater in the same day . Mara said it best when she said."NJ is such a . . . Just another day in the life of a Wyoming girl!