PROLOGUE AND EPILOGUE
TOUR OF THE
ROCKIES SIERRA NEVADAS, GRAND TETONS
Our Tour of the Rockies road trip was inspired by the sizzling Arizona summer heat. Or more precisely, trying to get away from it. After 3 months of 105F to 115F weather, and barely three cooler monsoon days in between, we decided to head straight north into presumably cooler mountain areas – all the way to Canada.
Alas, that was not to be. Hot weather and smokey haze generated by widespread forest fires in the western states, stayed with us all the way to Wyoming. That’s where and when we decided to change our plans and do a turn-about-face. Instead of a Tour of the Rockies, our trip became a Tour of the Grand Tetons and the Sierra Nevadas.
Overall, it was a 3,010 mile-trip through 6 states in 12 days. We only slept twice in the same bed – in Mammoth Lakes, CA. We constantly kept changing altitudes as we crossed mountain ranges and valleys – from zero, or even below the sea level (in Death Valley), to about 10,000 ft (in Yosemite).
This, in turn, played havoc with our bodies and our sleep, having to adjust to all these altitude changes dozens of times every day. But the beauty of nature around us was more than sufficient compensation for such physical hardships.
TOP 3 EXPERIENCES
As we do at the of each trip, we rated our top three experiences as follows (you can see these stars at the end of each travelogue title below:
#1 – ✮✮✮✮✮ (five stars)
#2 – ✮✮✮✮ (four stars)
#3 – ✮✮✮ (three stars)
For Elizabeth, the #1 (✮✮✮✮✮) experience was our brief stop in Afton, Wyoming. The reason? A wonderful quilt shop where she got not only new fabrics depicting various wild animals and forest scenes, but also an inspiration for a new quilt.
For me, the #1 (✮✮✮✮✮) experience was Yosemite – from beginning to end, including our overnight stay in a rustic cabin at Evergreen Lodge, over 70 miles into the Yosemite National Park from the Tiago Pass entrance gate.
For both of us, the #2 (✮✮✮✮) experience was our return to Jenny Lake. I don’t know exactly what it is about this lake and the Grand Tetons in its backdrop, but both have a magical impact on us every time we are there.
For Elizabeth, the #3 (✮✮✮) experience was our stay at a condo at Mammoth Lodge, and visits to several lakes in the Mammoth Lakes basin (Lakes Mamie, Mary, Horseshoe Lake)..
For me, the #3 (✮✮✮) experience was back in Arizona on our return trip. It was my first visit to the Walnut Canyon with its amazing 900-year old cliff dwellings.
And with that, here’s now a visual collage that sums up our trip.