Summer Road Trip – Day 4

The breakfast room at the Branding Iron was bigger, but the volumes of people still make it difficult to get to the food and have a seat. I grabbed a few items and went outside to a picnic table where a couple was finishing up. I asked to join them and we chatted for a bit before they left. Yes, I can be one of those annoying people that strikes up a conversation with random strangers. It brightened my day, I hope it did theirs as well.

With a solid few days of driving and sight seeing under my belt I was feeling pretty ready to leave Yellowstone. It certainly deserved more time but that will have to wait for another day. I had my sights set on kayaking!

I had hoped there was an option to get down to the Grand Tetons without having to drive through Yellowstone but it would have been way more effort than it was worth. Fortunately I was up fairly early and we feeling confident traffic wouldn’t be too bad.

I made a straight shot from the West Gate to the South Gate, not taking time to stop for pictures until I happened upon Lewis Falls. On the way north days before I’d totally missed it, but honestly I’d missed most everything because the fog was so thick I could barely see 10 feet in front of me. The south end of the park is beautiful and not nearly as packed with people. Probably because I didn’t notice many opportunities to pull off for the views. Here is a brief video of Lewis Falls.

I made it to Coulter Bay in the Grand Teton National Park. At first it wasn’t clear to me where to find the boat rentals. Not sure why the “marina” wasn’t an obvious place for me to start but I went to the swim beach instead. Great view of the lake and mountains. No regrets.

I made my way back around to the marina and visitors center. Got a nice parking spot in the shade. It was my lucky day, despite it being nearly 11am there were still several kayaks available to rent. And as odd as it may sound, I had my own kayak gear with me (it never got taken out of the car after the move). I made a quick comfort stop, grabbed my things, then went to the water to claim my craft.

A nice young man showed me to my kayak, waited for me to get settled, the gave me a good shove into the water. Whee! I was beyond excited. The weather was great, the view was stunning. It was bliss. I paddled around the bay for a couple hours then made my way back to the marina. Here is a little panoramic video for you.

Back on land I made myself a little picnic out of the left over ribs from the night before. They were still delicious! I was thankful I wasn’t going to have to think about what to do for lunch.

I fueled up before leaving the bay with Casper Wyoming in my sites. I was hoping to meet up with a friend there but knew they had an event that might keep them busy into the evening.

Cell reception was spotty at best as I crossed Wyoming, turning from one rural route to another. Even if I didn’t have intentions of going to Casper Google assured me this was the fastest route home. It took me through some surprisingly lush farmland, and through Wyoming Beef Country. Still pretty boring but not nearly as bad as I-80.

I wasn’t going to be able to connect with my friends so I just made a quick fuel stop in Casper then hit the road for the remaining 3 or so hours home. It was surprising how few people were on the road but I certainly wasn’t complaining. I even got home in time to see my adult children briefly before they headed to bed. Another successful journey in the books.

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