August 26, 2013

Wild West Adventures

The most eye-catching photos from our trip into the Wild Wild West, that took us from Salt Lake City, through the City of Rocks, into the Grand Tetons, Bozeman, Yellowstone, Ten Sleep, the Devils Tower, Lander, and the Wind River Mountains...


We first arrived in Salt Lake City. The first day we drove up to Antelope Island, a nature preserve on the Great Salt Lake with lots of wildlife (and billions of flies on the beach! Those black patterns in the water are dead flies). Back near SLC, we stayed in a campsite in Big Cottonwood Canyon, where we also went climbing. One morning Rebekka got out of the tent and found a moose standing next to us! It was a pretty tough start to our climbing trip and after one frustrating morning we decided to relax by hiking up to a mountain lake. It was fairly hot that day, but it wasn't until we got back to the car that I realized it had been over 115F (46C). Good thing we had (just enough) water!

Salt Lake City / Antelope Island

After SLC we headed to the City of Rocks in Idaho. In stark contrast to the flat farmland terrain, the City is like some strange alien world with huge rock formation rising from the ground. A climber's paradise. Try to spot the chameleon and elephant in the rocks. We had a wonderful camping spot with a fantastic view out to Elephant Rock, home of the "coolest flake in the known Universe." We were lucky enough to meet a few guys there that lent us some of their large cams so we could climb it. Amazing!

We left the City of Rocks and arrived in Jackson, WY on the foothills of the Grand Tetons on the 4th of July. If you like the outdoors then this is your area. We went kayaking, hiking, climbing, mountain biking, and swimming. Our characters were built and our souls destroyed. We met an amazing bunch of people working in the national park who invited us to camp out in their backyard and we sampled some amazing cocktails care of Meagan at The Rose. We had only planned to spend a few days there, but we ended up staying a week!

This week also included two super epic climbing trips (beside the sport climbing for one day). The first was a two day climbing trip up a peak close to the Grant Teton. On the first day we hiked up to our camp spot with all our climbing and camping gear. The second day started early at 5am, continued with our multipitch climb and ended at 8pm when we finished rappelling and hiking down the mountain. I was never this exhausted before! The second trip included us canoeing to the mountain and then hiking up to the campsite on the first day. On the second day we started even earlier at 4am which didn't help us as a thunderstorm rolled in exactly at a difficult stop of the climb. It was nevertheless worth the effort!

The Grand Tetons

In my haste I forgot to upload an album. Before Yellowstone we spent almost a week visiting Antoine in Bozeman, MT. We really needed this break after a strenuous week in the Tetons. We just enjoyed relaxing and hanging out. Our first night there we went for an incredible Bison streak. Absolutely perfectly cooked. During the day we would walk around the city and sit in coffee shops. We also visited the dinosaur museum, which was cool because it is organized by the paleontologists that work in the University and have made many of the fossil discoveries on display. We also went "floating" with Antoine and his friends, which basically consisted of floating down the river in a rubber tube with a case of beer. We did nothing and it was everything I hoped it could be. For my birthday Rebekka took me horse back riding! I really enjoyed in and we didn't get just the normal trail ride, but the wrangler gave us some basic lessons too! Danke Schatz! 

Bozeman, MT

Yellowstone National Park. This place is like no other I've seen. The whole area was once the site of a huge volcanic explosion and much of the park still sits above magma that super heats the ground water. Just driving around one comes upon unmarked hot pots and steaming holes. The colors in the water are actually thermophile bacteria. Of course, though, it was incredibly touristy. So many huge RVs everywhere. We didn't even both to see the Old Faithful geyser because of the huge crowds, but we were told that the geyser we did see was better because it's rarer, bigger, less crowded, and the board walk goes very close. To escape the crowds we headed off into the back country for two days, camping at a beautiful site along the Yellowstone River. You may notice I'm eating our dinner with chopsticks. When we went to prepare the food we realized we had forgotten our sporks in the car, so we had to fashion a solution :)


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