Welcome to our Adventure!

Al and I are thrilled that you have found your way to our blog. We hope you enjoy reading our journal and viewing our photographs of the natural wonder of our United States of America. Let's hit the road together!
Homer, Alaska

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Phone Issues, Work and a Nice Walk

Thanks for all the sympathy on the truck issues, it is really appreciated, and we hope our story may help prevent it from happening to someone else. We are cautiously optimistic that with the new fifth wheel and a new truck engine hopefully our home and transport issues are behind us for a good long while. Meanwhile life does go on....and as so many of us know full-time life is not always rainbows and unicorns every day. We just do the best we can.

We really love this area but one fly in our ointment has been our AT&T cell phone service. We've had AT&T since 2010, which is when we decided we were really going to need a good cell phone and service before hitting the road. Prior to that, we only had a "pay as you go" cell phone as we really didn't need one....I could always be reached at one of two places, either at the shop or at home. And Al had a bad habit of either losing them or dropping them overboard so I wouldn't let him have one :-). But once it was determined we needed a good phone, Al decided on the iPhone, and at the time AT&T was the only service offered for it. And it has been mostly fine since then, until we got here in Moran. Service here at the trailer, behind the cabins, is terrible, and not much better in front of the cabins. The bars jump around like crazy, and every time they change the call gets dropped. I was driving up to the post office where service was better, until about two weeks ago when it got lousy there as well. We pretty much have to drive 45 minutes to Jackson before we get good reception. So its getting very frustrating trying to make or receive phone calls. And having an elderly parent with health issues I really need a good phone.

So, other workampers here have Verizon and it works much better, so we investigated getting a "burner" phone as a temporary line while we're here. It was more expensive than we had hoped, but they don't seem to have the cheap phones that you just load with so much money anymore. So we looked online, picked out the cheapest phone, selected the cheapest "no contract" plan for $35/month, and tried to order it. However, they wouldn't send it to us here in Moran, only to the billing address in Florida :-(. Rather than do that, we knew there was a Verizon store in Jackson, so we decided just to go to the store on our day off, as we were doing a hike down in that direction anyway. As our luck goes, however, they don't have any of those phones in stock, and suggested we check at Staples. Off we went to Staples, and drew a blank there as well.

Frustrated, we headed back to the ranch, and I remarked it was too bad my mother doesn't have a computer, since our wireless internet here is so good I could Skype instead of phone calls. After Al thought about it, he did some investigating, and did you know that now there is an app for that? Of course there is! He downloaded the Skype app to the iPhone, set up an account, and for less than $9 we have unlimited calls via Skype to any phone for three months. How cool is that? It is working very well, so my frustration level has gone down, thank goodness. Which is good, because I see many calls in my near future, as my mom is having some medical issues and we need to get her settled. I thank God every day for having such a good sister-in-law and best friend down in Florida willing to help her out when we're not there.

We're very busy now here at the ranch. It is peak summer tourist season and we are almost always at full occupancy. Al has been doing very well in the laundry, picking up more hours, and I've started training for some office work, which gives me more hours as well. We are also doing an overtime day this weekend as Sunday is a big turnover day this week and they need extra hands to get it done before check-in. Its all good, even though we have to delay a planned kayak trip with our friends Carol and John, and Dianna and Pat Brown who we met last fall at Amazon and are visiting. We will all be going out for dinner Friday night though, so that will be fun, and we'll be here until the end of September and I doubt the lake is going anywhere before that :-).

We did do a great hike this week on Monday. We spent Sunday taking the dogs out for a walk and ride, as the hike we wanted to do Monday is in Tetons NP and they aren't allowed to come with us. Bright and early Monday morning we headed out and drove down to Jenny Lake, and got on the first boat launch over to the trailhead for Cascade Canyon. This is a very popular hike in the park, said to be the most used trail anywhere in the park. The first mile climbs pretty steeply, gaining over 500 feet in elevation, and then levels off to a "mild" climb upwards to and through Cascade Canyon. That first mile, though, is totally awesome! Not that the rest is any slouch, but lets get to the pictures, shall we?

We could have walked around the south end of Jenny Lake to the trailhead, that adds 2 miles onto your hike right from the start. We elected to take the shuttle boat service, which zips you across the lake in 5 minutes and drops you right at the trailhead. Cheating? Maybe, but on a limited time schedule it allows us to walk further into the canyon.

The boat heads back across Jenny Lake for another group as we started up the trail.

It was a perfect morning with a brilliant blue sky.

As we crossed Cascade Creek on the way to Hidden Falls we had a preview of the ferocity of the rushing water.

My favorite hikes follow creeks :-).

Half a mile into the hike is our first treat: Hidden Falls. Stupendous. 

Continuing on, we cross Cascade Creek again...

and continue climbing up...

and up.....

switch-backing up the side of the mountain, at times on a narrow, rocky ledge. Going up was fairly easy though, as there weren't too many people at that time. Coming down, well that was a different story and a lot more people passing up and down.

We reached Inspiration Point, with it's beautiful view of Jenny Lake and the distant mountains. Most people turn around here and return, but we wanted to continue on further into Cascade Canyon.

So off we went. And yes, it is strange to have hiking pictures without the dogs.

The trail follows Cascade Creek through the canyon for about three more miles, then forks into two different trails, one going up higher to Solitude Lake, and the other trail actually going over the mountain range and  into Idaho. We went about halfway to the fork, another mile and a half past Inspiration Point.

The craggy peak of Teewinot (Shoshone for Many Pinnacles) was visible from many angles, and looks very different when you are this close compared to looking at it from the highway overlooks.

The water of Cascade Creek is so clear, and COLD! It is amazing to me that this is all snow melt. The guide on the shuttle boat said there was over 500 inches of snow this past winter. Can you imagine??

Cascade Canyon
“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” 
― Ansel Adams

 We kept saying let's see what is around the next bend, until reluctantly, watching the time, we turned around to retrace our route back. We had not arranged for anyone to take out the dogs at lunchtime, and we still needed to stop in Jackson for our (futile) search for a working phone. 

This little cutie met us on the way down. I'm not sure if it is a chipmunk or a ground squirrel, but he was quite unconcerned with our proximity to him. I don't know if you can see it if you make the picture larger, but you can actually see the mountain reflected in his eyeball. Its really cool!

Yes, we have to go all the way back down there!

Every turn has another beautiful picture.

One last look at the rushing water of Cascade Creek....

and we boarded the boat back to Jenny Creek Visitor Center. It was a beautiful walk on a beautiful day. 

On a last note, we've been going out on a drive after work every couple of nights, laughingly saying we are "bear hunting". Alas, we haven't seen a bear YET, but we did spot a beautiful fox one night...
which was really awesome :-). And nobody else was around at all!

And we have some awesome sunsets around here also, this is the view right from our driveway, looking across the ranch to the Tetons. Life is, still, mostly good!


  1. Great pictures. I'm so glad you're able to hike. It's gorgeous there.

  2. That was an AWESOME hike!! There's nothing better than hiking with the sound of water, the smell of pine and the view of mountain peaks:o))
    Hope Mom is getting better.

  3. Love the fox! I'm still waiting to see one this year....

  4. I hope your Mother issues will be okay. We deal with the same thing and are planning on leaving Florida today (hopefully). That picture of the fox is so pretty it almost looks like a painting. We go "bear hunting" in our place in Georgia too. :)

  5. You are so lucky to have someone to watch after your mom when you are far away. I'm going through health issues with my father now, and may have to return to CA. Good thing to be mobile!

  6. Those Mountains around Jackson are even more rugged and steep than our San Juans. You've landed in a good spot…except for the phone service :((
    Box Canyon Mark

  7. You have your phone issues taken care of but FWIW Walmart's Straighttalk has a 'bring your own phone' program where you just buy a SIM card for your phone. I cannot say if they have a SIM card that operates off the Verizon network. It's $45 a month... like I said this is FWIW & maybe it will help someone else.

  8. Beautiful photos. The fox photo is contest worthy!


  9. I love this post. Your pictures are gorgeous. We took this hike when we were out there and I love taking it again with you. I don't think the water was up as much as it is in your pictures which only adds to the beauty. I agree your fox photograph and your sunset almost look like paintings.

  10. Nice photos! We have the opposite phone problem at our campground. Good AT&T, but no Verizon (which we have). Fortunately the laundramat in town has fast wi-fi so we can catch up on e-mails and blogs!

  11. GORGEOUS shot of that fox! Found you through Sherry's blog, I'll have to do some back-reading and see where you've been of course.