In our down time, we have had some socializing to do. Our good friends from Al's Sag Harbor Ambulance days came to Yellowstone to visit, and we drove up after work one day to have dinner with them. It sure was nice to see Ed and Judy Gregory again, and I feel badly that I didn't take any pictures! How is it that we always get so caught up in talking and eating that we forget to take pictures?? We had a nice dinner at the Lake Lodge Cafeteria in the Lake Village area of Yellowstone, and as we drove back to the ranch we had snow! Now this was the first week of September, mind
Our second surprise visit has a funny story to it. The Moran Fire department has a benefit BBQ lunch once a year the third Sunday in September. Brad and Joanne very kindly bought tickets for the whole staff to attend and have lunch together that day. I finished getting my plate of food, and as I was waiting for Al I was checking out the items up for silent auction. I noticed one item, a small child's chair handmade with what looked like a horsehair seat, and noticed a fairly high bid on it. Curious, I looked closer, and was quite startled to find that I recognized the name of the bidder...Ron Dacuk, and old family friend from back in Sag Harbor! The area code on the phone number was even the right area code for Sag Harbor, so we took a chance that it was him and called. Sure enough, Ron and his wife Jackie were on a road trip out here and had just left the picnic. How funny is that? We made arrangements to meet that night in Jackson for dinner, and had a splendid time catching up on the past four years. I just can't believe how things like that happen :-).
We had a wonderful breakfast the following Sunday at Jenny Lake Lodge with Carol and John Herr, and met their friends Patsy and Bob (volunteers at the Elk National Refuge in Jackson) and Jann and Barry, visiting full-time RV friends. After breakfast we all drove down to Jackson Lake Dam, in preparation for a float kayak down the Snake River. It had started raining, so rather than start out in the rain, we headed to Jackson Lake Lodge to wait out the squall in front of their cozy fireplaces in the lobby. About an hour later and the sun broke out, so off we headed.
Getting the kayaks ready..some of us had inflatables, others hard shells. As this was a shuttle kayak, the guys took off and left a vehicle down at our take-out point, Pacific Creek landing.
The current is strong enough that not much energy was expended in paddling...at least at this point!
Sometimes the current carried us around in a circle, and I got a shot of our scenery behind us...notice the clouds building behind Mount Moran...better keep an eye on that!
Our wildlife sightings were on the feathery side....common mergansers...
and bald eagles. Notice this one had flown down and caught his lunch. As we got closer, her grabbed it and took off up into the trees with it.
About halfway through our float, we approached tiny rapids to negotiate, and started hearing rumbles of thunder in the distance. At this point we picked up the pace, and started paddling as well as floating. It's not a good idea to be caught on the water in a storm!
We made it with no problems to Pacific Creek landing, and wouldn't you know it, the sun came back out again! We had a great time regardless, and many thanks to Patsy and Bob for being our guides. The Snake River can be a dangerous river to navigate if you aren't sure of what you're doing, and they suggested this section as a very mild but scenic float to do. Next year, we plan on taking a float trip with one of the outfitters and going further down the river.
In the area of water activities, we also had a guided fly fishing trip that we took on September 15. Al has tried fly fishing a bit in the past, in Colorado the summer we worked there, and enjoyed it very much. After we had our fishing trip back in July on Jackson Lake, where we brought home enough fish for all the staff to have a fish dinner, Brad and Joanne gave us a guided fly fishing trip as a mid-summer "thank you for your hard work" present. We were thrilled beyond belief, and were quite looking forward to our day on the river.
Our guide Steve picked us up in Jackson and we headed down to the Pritchard area boat launch. Once launched, we started floating down the Snake River as he demonstrated the techniques to fly fishing. Its very different from the bay fishing I used to do back in New York, but was fun in a challenging way.
Al had no problems picking it up...
and landed several beautiful cutthroat trout during the day. It was all catch-and-release, however, so no fish dinner this time.
The scenery was stunning, and where I did do quite a bit of casting, I was only able to land one fish...
but that's ok, I was content to enjoy my surroundings!
So that pretty much catches you up with the activities we have been pursuing. We are supposed to have a good-bye breakfast and hike with John and Carol tomorrow, but it looks like the weather is not cooperating, so it will just be a long breakfast. We have one more day of work here, Tuesday, and then Wednesday we pull out and head for Kentucky. We will be arriving at Green River Lake State Park on October 12, and starting work on the 14th. On the way we will be visiting friends at Chalk Creek, where we worked in 2012, and have a couple of days stay in a new state for us, Missouri, at Lakes of the Ozarks area.
We've had a wonderful summer here in Wyoming, and are very much looking forward to returning next year. We couldn't have asked for a better place to live and work, the welcome has been huge and the friendships made I'm sure will last a very long time. Casey has really loved it here as well, and will be quite sad when we leave...it will be back on a leash for him! So we should be on the road again next time you here from me.