Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Grand Teton, Jenny Lake, and Interesting Conversations

Sunday, September 25

The angels continue to be on the job. This morning Larry noticed that the ball on the trailer hitch was loose. (Thanks, angels for the alert! Losing the trailer hitch could be a real disaster putting all the weight on the two linklines.) Lacking a wrench large enough to fix it, Larry borrowed one from our neighbor, another blessing. If you don't have the right tools, pray that a human angel has one to loan you. After tightening it, we hooked up and went off to a service station to have the hitch looked at and further tightened.

We had a long talk with the mechanic who is a native of Wyoming and fiercely independent. He described how the government is destroying the work ethic and gave the example of a friend who had open heart surgery and went on disability temporarily. He wanted to go back to work but social services told him if he did, not only would he lose disability, but he would also have to pay back all the disability he had received. So, of course, he can't afford to go back to work. This is how the government creates a permanent welfare class. Penalize work. Talking to this gentleman was a real education in economics. He said the people of Wyoming (about half a million in the entire state) keep a close watch on their state legislature. He favors a flat tax, but a state senator told him that will never happen because it would put so many people out of business: IRS agents, CPAs, tax preparers, etc. He predicted a revolution is coming bigger than the Civil War. Interesting conversation.

Meeting people around the country is fascinating. We had a long conversation the night before with a gentleman at the Jackson Lodge as we sat by the fire. He was concerned about government as well although he was more shoulder-shrugging, what-can-anyone-do-about-it frustrated. The mood out here is definitely anti-government. These are people who love America and hate what the career politicians are doing to her.

But back to vacation.... We left the service station and headed south toward Jackson Hole. I booked a KOA on-line (Gosh I love that Ipad my daughter-in-law loaned me! Thanks, Jes.) That relieved the stress of trying to find a place later so we could stop and take our time enroute which was exactly what we did.

The views along the road of the towering Grand Tetons are glorious! They are so strange. There are no foothills. The land is flat up to the base of mountain that then appears to go almost straight up. I can imagine the pioneers seeing those moutains. "Great Jehosaphat! How will we ever get over those?" And then there's the Snake River which crossed the Oregon Trail over and over so that the people had to ford or float it numerous times. Here behind our campground the Snake isn't too wide -- only about 30 yards, but it's swift and looks deep. Imagine a wagon train trying to cross that!

Jenny Lake is one of the prettiest stops we've made. We took the boat across the lake. It was a speedboat ride with the wind whipping so much we had to take off our hats or risk losing them into the lake. It made me laugh and I loved feeling the spray! Once we landed we hiked out and back to a beautiful waterfall (Hidden Falls) and an overlook only a little further on with an expansive view of the lake and the mountains. The walk was a well-travelled path but rocky and steep. It was like climbing an endless staircase along a stream. The views were lovely with water tumbling in little falls and cascades beside us all along the way.

Hidden Falls is probably a hundred foot drop and lovely.  And only a little farther on was a rocky outcrop overlooking the lake. We didn't walk as far as Inspiration Point because I was worried about my knees holding out for the walk down which is very hard on them. But another angel had given me a hiking pole on the way up so I had that for support. Someone had passed it to him and, when we got about 200 yards from the boat landing, we met a group climbing up with a lady who clearly needed help. They commented on how smart I was to bring a pole and I said, "An angel gave it to me on the way up, and I'm passing it on to you. Have a wonderful walk." I hope she was able to make it to the falls.

We had a quick tailgate picnic in the parking lot and moved on to Jackson Hole where we found friendly KOA staff and set up for the next few nights. The bathrooms are spotless, the river is right below our campsite, and we are ready to explore Jackson Hole. My only regret is that the local parish showed no daily Mass. Churches out west have been fewer and farther between and have fewer priests. Pray for vocations.

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