Thursday, July 23, 2020
Yesterday’s drive from our take-out at Cache Bar to 93, through Salmon to Challis follows the Salmon River, and it is gorgeous. It makes you want to float the whole river. 93 from Challis You would turn on 75 to continue following it, as I drove it north from Stanley before the Middle Fork trip. 93 turns southeast, and is still a beautiful road. I had asked Steve if 93 was a good road to Jackson. He said yes, saying it would take about 4.5 hrs to get to Jackson.
I passed Chilly, Idaho at 6,300’, crossed Lost River that sinks underground, went through Mackay and took a picture of Leslie Butte. I stayed the night at Craters of the Moon KOA.
I got off at a reasonable hour. The trip should take 2:45 hrs, unless you stop to take pictures. Just as Carla told me, I turned onto Rt. 26, then 20 to Idaho Falls where I crossed the Snake River. As I approached the mountains, I stopped at a rest area with an overlook of the river. There’s another river I would like to float. I am not on The Fly Highway, but I am close. Rt. 20, known as The Fly Highway, crosses some of the most famous trout rivers in the country.
The road passes through Swan Valley, one of the prettiest valleys I have ever seen. Bordered by small mountains with big ones in the distance and the Snake River to the west, there are miles of lush, green crop fields.
Climbing up through the mountains, I came to Jackson about noon. I haven’t been here for ten years. I was surprised to see crowds of people. As Steve would say, a Disney World. I picked my way through the busy streets to the east side of town and stopped for lunch beside the Elk Refuge. What a beautiful spot for lunch, with geese and ducks swimming a few feet from the trailer.
The road turns north through Grand Teton National Park. With very cool clouds sweeping the tops of the mountains with blue skies above, it was unique for taking pictures in the middle of the day. I stopped at every overlook. It’s amazing to think the Snake River covered this whole plain as the glaciers receded, then making steps in the plain as it eroded the soil. I wondered where the source was and later found this on Wikipedia.
Parting of the Waters is an unusual hydrologic site at Two Ocean Pass on the Great Divide, within the Teton Wilderness area of Wyoming‘s Bridger-Teton National Forest. Two Ocean Pass separates the headwaters of Pacific Creek, which flows west to the Pacific Ocean, and Atlantic Creek, which flows east to the Atlantic Ocean. At Parting of the Waters, at 44°02.571′N 110°10.524′W
, North Two Ocean Creek flows down from its drainage on the side of Two Ocean Plateau and divides its waters more-or-less equally between its two distributaries, Pacific Creek and Atlantic Creek. From this split, Two Ocean Creek waters flow either 3,488 miles (5,613 km) to the Atlantic via Atlantic Creek and the Yellowstone, Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, or 1,353 miles (2,177 km) to the Pacific via Pacific Creek and the Snake and Columbia Rivers. In the marshy area of Two Ocean Pass adjacent to Parting of the Waters, water actually covers the Continental Divide such that a fish could swim from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean drainages. In fact, it is thought that this was the pass that provided the route for Yellowstone cutthroat trout to migrate from the Snake River (Pacific) to Yellowstone River (Atlantic) drainages.[
I want to go see that!
It was difficult to pass the south entrance to Yellowstone, and difficult to leave the Tetons. I could easily spend four months here……every year, especially if I had a drift boat like Carla’s. It’s a gorgeous road all the way to Dubois as the mountains change their appearance and the landscape turns more arid.
Calling ahead to Casper campgrounds, everything was full except the KOA, and it was almost full. Covid 19 may have slowed travel, but people sure are camping! I was lucky to get a spot, and all I wanted to do was sleep. This is a large, gravel campground. A nice young man named Greg showed me to my spot.