adventure, Camping, changing times, courage, learning, making memories, perseverance, photography, road trip, travel

Mean and Menor…

This interest in photography has led me to take a closer-up view of the natural world, and to face the facts that life for the birds and animals that I photograph is a day to day struggle to stay alive.  As opposed to the Disney-like view of how pretty all the creatures out there are, which is about as deeply as I thought about it in the past.  But this rugged Wyoming landscape has given me a new appreciation for what it must have taken for people to come and settle in such a beautiful but harsh climate.  To have had to go out and gather food, or not eat.  To have to build shelters for themselves that would keep them alive through harsher, and longer, winters than I would have imagined.  And to  discover ways to provide services to your neighbors that would allow you make a living.

These are the things that crossed my mind as I visited Menor’s Ferry.  In a non-Covid year there would be displays in the general store, and opportunities to ride the ferry across the river, and a bit more information about life in those days than just taking a self guided tour and trying to use your imagination to fill in the gaps.

07-28-20menorssign

The replica of the ferry itself…07-30-20theferry

The general store…07-30-20generalstore

The home in which a meeting took place which led to the eventual founding of The Grand Teton National Park.07-28-20menorshouse

07-30-20oldwestview

I love this sign…07-30-20menorsign

And the Chapel of the Transfiguration.  It’s altar window frames the highest mountain peak, but I didn’t get to see it since it’s not open this year.07-28-20chapel.jpg

I looked this information up this morning to be sure to be more accurate.

Historical Timeline of Menor’s Ferry

Menor’s Ferry
Menor’s Ferry once belonged to William D. Menor who came to Jackson Hole in 1894, taking up a homestead beside the Snake River. Here he constructed a ferryboat that became a vital crossing for the early settlers of Jackson Hole Valley.

Jackson Hole was isolated by its surrounding mountains and had such a harsh climate that it was one of the last areas of the lower 48 states to be settled. Homesteaders came here, mainly from Idaho, beginning in the late 1880s. Most early settlement in the valley took place in the south, or on a few scattered areas with fertile soil on the east side of the Snake River. Menor was alone on the west side of the Snake for more than ten years.

Rivers are often important transportation corridors. However, the Snake River was a natural barrier that divided the valley. In dry months the river could be forded safely in several locations, but during periods of high water even the most reliable fords were impassable. After 1894, Menor’s Ferry became the main crossing in the central part of Jackson Hole. Residents crossed on the ferry to hunt, gather berries and mushrooms, and cut timber at the foot of the mountains.

Bill Menor built the original ferryboat and cableworks. Today’s ferry and cableworks are replicas. The ferry is a simple platform set on two pontoons. The cable system across the river keeps the ferry from going downstream, while allowing it to move sideways. By turning the pilot wheel, the rope attaching the boat to the cable is tightened and points the pontoons toward the opposite bank. The pressure of the current against the pontoons pushes the ferryboat across the river in the direction the pontoons point. This type of ferry existed in ancient times and was used elsewhere in the United States.

Menor charged 50c for a wagon and team and 25c for a rider and horse. Pedestrians rode free if a wagon was crossing. When the water was too low for the ferry, Menor suspended a platform from the cable and three to four passengers could ride a primitive cablecar across the river. In later years, Menor and his neighbors built a bridge for winter use, dismantling it each spring.

Menor sold out to Maude Noble in 1918. She doubled the fares, hoping to earn a living from the growing number of tourists in the valley. Noble charged $1 for automobiles with local license plates, or $2 for out-of-state plates. In 1927, a steel truss bridge was built just south of the ferry, making it obsolete. Maude Noble sold the property to the Snake River Land Company in 1929.

Bill Menor and his neighbors homesteaded here thinking of the local natural resources as commodities for survival, but many of them grew to treasure the beauty and uniqueness of Jackson Hole. In 35 short years, from Bill Menor’s arrival until the establishment of the original park in 1929, this land passed from homestead to national treasure.

 

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A bump in the road…

Two places I wanted to go to while I’m here in the Grand Teton National Park were Jackson and Idaho Falls.  I had been to Jackson 28 years ago when Charley and I came to Yellowstone.  Charley said that he had gotten ‘wilderness’ out of his system after that trip due to the lack of TV stations available at the motel we stayed at.  In all of Yellowstone also.  And I’ve found that the situation hasn’t changed all that much.

But yesterday I decided to go to Idaho Falls, and I let the GPS choose the route, and I believe that I may have used up a couple of my nine lives on the trip.  A narrow, windy road, which became a narrow, windy, rutted road, and just when you thought it couldn’t get worse it did.  A 2 1/2 hour drive turned into a 4 1/2 hour drive.  Part of which I had to do in reverse and uphill when I chose the wrong fork in the road.  It was mind boggling to drive through a forest of burned trees on such a tiny road.  For some reason I really felt the horror of what a fire like that must be like.  But then that landscape gave way to a forest of Christmas trees on both sides of the road.  And that eventually gave way to what I thought were Birch trees, but I was corrected by my cousin that they would have been Aspens.  As upset over the road as I was I couldn’t help but enjoy the scenery.07-13-20dandilion07-13-20aspens07-13-20oldhouse07-13-20lupine

Idaho Falls probably had more to see than just the Riverwalk with it’s statues, but that’s all I did.  A two mile walk around a lake where you see the falls along the Snake River, and a view of the Mormon Temple across the way.  It was a lovely walk, but I rushed it to get back to my little home on wheels.07-13-20riverwalkwolfes07-13-20riverwalkwolf07-13-20riverwalkram07-13-20riverwalkfalls207-13-20riverwalkfalls07-13-20riverwalkdoeandfawn07-13-20riverwalkbears07-13-20riverwalkantlers07-13-20riverwalktemple

Lucky for me I ended the day at my cousin’s house where I could enjoy a beer and her beautiful garden before I closed the book on another chapter of this adventure.07-13-20Jacksonpath07-13-20oldcar2feature

Oh, did I mention that when I was finally in the home stretch to get to my cousin’s house I found myself driving over Teton Pass?  It was probably magnificent view-wise, but I wouldn’t know because I was clutching the steering wheel and trying not to drive off a cliff the whole time.  Yup, two lives at least.07-13-20tetonsunset

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Westward Ho, day two…

Did this day really start in Florida?  That seems like so long ago.  I had never driven through the Florida panhandle before, and knowing that I was passing all those wonderful Gulf beaches just to the south of the highway was distressing.  I felt like there ought to be a view, or something.  I expected to be dying to stop for photos at Mobile, AL also, but maybe it was the dreary skies that stopped that from looking so enticing.  I loved the fabulous Alabama welcome center with it’s beautiful setting of rolling hills, but it turned out that I only dipped my toe in Alabama because I was in Mississippi in no time flat.

Aside from seeing signs for Laurel, MS, which made me want to go drive through the town and look for the houses I’ve seen on Home Town (love that show), there wasn’t much to see.  I was on smaller roads at this point, going through towns, and seeing little old houses looking weather worn and a bit tipsy.  I wished I dared to take a picture of that little slice of Americana, but it would have been rude.  I did see what I thought was a sign on the side of a barn, it announced, in big letters, Shelton Fireworks.  And in only slightly smaller letters underneath were the words, ‘No Smoking.”  I heard Charley say, plain as day, ‘No Shit Sherlock’.  That had me laughing for 20 miles at least.  My other take-away from driving through MS was that every time it was time to pay attention and look for my exit the skies would open and a downpour would totally blot out the view.  I began to take it personally.

My choice of the Southern of the two routes the GPS suggested was the right choice for me.  I had the cruise control on for at least 75% of the time, with a nice chunk of highway to myself.  Not much to see but an easy drive, and eventually a sign said that the Mississippi Welcome Center and rest area was a mile ahead.  I took the exit and panicked a little because the building was right there on the road and the parking lot was small and I was afraid I’d get trapped and have to back up.  But it was deceiving, there were pull through spaces for trucks, and the modest looking building I saw from the road belied the spectacular veranda and view of the Mississippi River and the two bridges, one of which I would find myself traveling over when I got back on the road.  I would have kicked myself if I hadn’t stopped.  And the bridge to the right was a railroad bridge I noticed.  It’s a shame I didn’t stick around a few more minutes because as I drove over the bridge I saw a train coming towards me heading for the other bridge.  It seemed miles long, I wish I’d gotten that picture.  When I landed on the other side of the bridge it was to the announcement that I was entering Louisiana. Three new states to me, and a lot of miles in one day, and as I drove I thought about how nice it would be to fall into comfy hotel bed, with wifi, and all the coffee I want in the morning.  So here I am, tired but happy, so I’ll just say goodnight from Shreveport LA.06-27-20BwelcometoMS07-01-20BMSbridge07-01-20BMSbridge207-01-20BMSbridge307-01-20MSveranda07-01-20crepemyrtle07-01-20MSsign

 

Camping, coping, courage, facing facts, Just do it, live and learn, losing it, perseverance, photography, road trip, technology, travel

Cookies…

‘This website uses cookies’, we’ve all gotten that message a time or two I imagine.  I know I do, from WordPress, whenever I’m putting a post together.  But it has occurred to me that that’s my problem.  Cookies are my problem.  Getting ready to leave on this trip has my brain on overdrive.  What to pack?  Which route to take?  Wait, I need to spray the weeds growing up in the cracks in the driveway, and I wanted another folding chair, and a haircut, and what food should I bring with me?  I should clean the house, but it will only get dirty while I’m gone.  What about closing this place up, I didn’t do such a hot job of it last time.  My uncle came behind me and took care of it.  I need to do better.  Make lists I tell myself.  I tell myself a lot of things.  And then I saw something on my quilting group about taking a cartoon photo, so I forgot about all that for a few minutes and off I went to do that last night.  I wanted to shoot bicycles for a photo challenge, that could make a good cartoon photo, but no one at all was out.  And then I realized that no matter what I did I had to take a selfie, the photo process kept turning the camera around for a selfie.  Disappointing.  Went home and made yogurt bark to use up the last of the yogurt because, yes, dealing with emptying the refrigerator is nagging at me also.  I have too many programs running in my head.  I need to clear my cache…

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Recalculating…

I sat down here at the computer a while ago, determined to look up the route for my potential trip this summer.  I had also been looking at it last week and the week before, trying to imagine myself traveling along that blue line on the computer screen, my car a little blinking light inching along toward the goal.  The computer offered me two routes for the beginning of the trip, both of which wound up merging eventually, and the last of the route passed right past my sister-in-law’s house where I would love to stop and visit.  Yay!  But the two early routes caused me stress of a sort.  Should I try to camp along the way?  If so where, and for how long?  And what wonderful sights might I miss, just a little way off of that blue line?  Or should I keep on moving, enjoy the one visit, but get to my destination first and figure out where else I might like to go from there?  

I do realize how lucky I am that these are the things causing me stress in my old age.  Not really problems, just my overactive brain.  So today I saw some mention of up-tics in the number of COVID-19 cases and I decided that the smart thing to do would be to check the quarantine rules for the states I’d be traveling through.  A heads-up for myself seemed like a good idea.  Paper and pen at the ready I started up the computer and asked for the route for probably the 10th time, and this time it gave me an entirely different route.  And one route only.  No options.  Almost from the minute I leave home it had me on different roads.  And this route has me bypassing the entire state where my SIL lives.  Does it know something?  Did it get tired of showing me the same old options, thought it would liven things up?  

This sort of thing makes me nuts.  There is a comfort in thinking that there is only one way to do things.  One route to follow.  If you stay on the path, follow the rules, then nothing bad can happen.  It’s probably pathetic that I still think that way after all these years, but I do.  It’s gotten me this far…

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Plans…

Oh come on, don’t tell me that you haven’t fried yourself a nice piece of quiche for breakfast before.  Or ever.  Especially when your brilliant idea from the day before didn’t turn out as you’d planned.  I wanted to use up the spinach that I’d left a few days in the refrigerator, and I had potatoes I hadn’t used, so I thought they would make a dandy hash brown crusted quiche.  There may be a reason that the online recipes I saw called for frozen hash browns, perhaps they magically don’t turn brown the way potatoes usually do.  I know that mine were turning brown faster than I could grate them.  But I was committed (don’t say it) at that point so on I went, browning the hash brown crust first, and even though the bottom crust looked more soggy than crusty I went ahead and poured in the filling and baked it.  Which didn’t improve the bottom crust any, but it was edible.  Faced with trying to figure out what to do with it the next day I knew I had nothing to lose so I resorted to my little frying pan, and when I saw it was browning quickly I covered the pan, even though I imagined a volcano erupting in there, but surprisingly it was quite good.

I’ve been feeling rather scatter-brained lately  Not able to sit down and make a plan for what I might want to do this summer, even if it’s just a fantasy.  I opened the maps function of the computer and put in the farthest possible destination for myself, and now I stare at the map of the US with that blue line that would lead me there.  And there are choices, not one blue line but two, and infinitely more really.  Last year going to New England felt cozy, but looking at that map, that blue line, makes me feel like I’d be traveling naked.  Exposed.  So my mind boggles even as I try to use up the stuff in the refrigerator and tell myself to start making lists.  Making plans, and frying my quiche…