Since I want to be a park ranger when I grow up, I accepted an internship for the summer in Wisdom, Montana at Big Hole Battlefield National Monument. I left behind my life in LA and headed north with my bestie, Colleen. Everything went into storage except for what I could fit in my car and my precious, beloved bunnies went to their summer home in Redondo. The plan was to glamp in Capitol Reef and lodge in Jackson Hole, prior to arriving in Wisdom. We decided to lodge for the entire 5 day journey, since the weather was too cold for the gear I have. It was very hard to leave LA and she had her claws in me deeper than I thought. Adriana and Colleen secretly planned a going away party for me and it turns out I can cry, a lot. Then, Time Warner delayed our departure by 3 hours in ways that I have to leave behind me because it still pisses me off.
We stayed at the Red Sands Hotel in Torrey, UT on the border of Capitol Reef National Park and had a full day to explore the trails. Capitol Gorge, The Goosenecks and The Grand Wash filled our day up with gorgeous views of the park.
Next stop was Jackson Hole, Wyoming but we first had to make our way through a few cow parades. We arrived at the Elk Country Inn and got some magical upgrade into our own private cabin. We hot tubbed and wandered around the town…
The next day we drove miles and miles around the Grand Tetons looking in vain for wildlife. We saw a red fox at their state of the art visitor center and were told that animals are just hanging out waiting for their photo op off the sides of the road. That, at early afternoon, was a lie but we drove on and on and on. We stopped by my lake, Jenny Lake and tried to find some trails that weren’t snowed over, but couldn’t. It was a gorgeous drive but we finally surrendered to no hiking and no wildlife and did a walk down the Snake River instead where we watched fishermen, saw a bunch of dogs and a bald eagle in the distance. After all that we checked out the local brewery, Snake River Brewing, got some deliciously expensively fancy cocktails at The Rose and FINALLY went to the Cowboy Bar!!! There was a live band and lots of people in cowboy boots dancing really intimidatedly well but I still managed to be dragged out there and thrown around the dance floor by an Australian, no less.
Colleen left for SF the next morning and I got to see the wildlife that is in the Tetons on the way from the airport, since it was so early. Elk AND Bison!!! After much indecision, I finally decided to stall another day in Jackson, before I headed into Wisdom – 6 hours away. I spent the day riding my bike 16 miles along the Tetons, blissfully with the wind and agonizingly against the wind on the way back. I thrifted and found this AMAZING tipi lamp, napped and went out with a local for dinner and drinks. I got to learn all the ins and outs of the city and the rhythm of the seasons in a small town. It was fascinating and I admit that I was a little in love with Jackson.
I finally quit my stalling and headed out early to Wisdom. I swear the sky got bigger the second I crossed the Wyoming/Montana border. It was a beautiful drive and I adore my friends for making me mix CDs that went along perfectly with my surroundings and state of mind. I was so excited to get into town and go to the bar that I accidently went into the Bar and Grill, which was okay because I met two of the nicest local ladies and chatted with them about the town and the Rainbow Festival and everything else. The actual town bar, The Antler, was right across the street so I had to give a little love to them as well. I met the 5 or so patrons and the pretty bartender, Janine that looks just like my friend Ji. They welcomed me to town and I had my second Montana beer and then finally headed 10 miles down the road to my new home and work.
My roommate was already there and after I unpacked we met the other seasonal employee, Kelly and went BACK into town for dinner at, you guessed it, the Bar and Grill.
Almost a week later and I can say that I might be finally acclimated to the elevation. The time moves slower in Montana. I am surrounded by 355 degrees of mountains. There are antelope (prong horns) in my backyard, maybe aliens too. The place is over-ridden with gophers (ground squirrels) and I adore them. I have my binoculars at the ready every day and creep out over the antelopes. It was cold and snowing hard this morning. I could love it here but it is too soon to tell.