Home on the Range

We’re continuing our northern crossing with a week in Wyoming.  Not exactly the week we had planned on but it’s turned out enjoyable nonetheless.  It all started back in Oregon when we found out there was still too much snow on the ground to climb the classic routes in the Teton Nat’l Park which we’d hoped to do.  But we pushed on anyway, thinking we’d get warmed up in the lower elevations and maybe wait for the snow to melt.

Sunset over the Tetons
Sunset over the Tetons

Unfortunately when we arrived in Jackson* Josh started to feel just slightly under the weather. Since we weren’t going to chance it blowing up into a full fledged illness, we decided it would be better if he stayed off the long, steep approaches and back country multipitch climbs that are the only options, even in the lowlands.

So we waited it out for a few clear, sunny days. We visited the tiny local sport crag, went on a mellow bike ride, spent a couple afternoons holed up in Jackson’s super cool library.  We discussed where we thought Harrison Ford might reside.*  We studied the guide book.  We sprayed, swatted and smashed the swarms of mosquitoes that tormented us in our campsite.  Josh reminisced and shared stories about passing through the area during his 52-day, 2000+ mile, south to north bike tour of the Continental Divide trail.  (did I mention Josh is the man?!)

We’ve also been battling a sly field mouse all week.  We first started noticing nibbles from bread and cookies in the back of the truck.  Then from sandwiches in the cab.  We started duct taping holes and cracks.  We moved camp sites.  Even after all that, Josh discovered him cuddled up in the engine – he ousted him but the feeding frenzy continued.  We cleaned everything out of the back of the truck and taped up all possible points of entry.  Still didn’t work.  Who ever suspected that while living in the forest out of a vehicle we’d end up having to buy an arsenal of mouse traps to deal with varmints?  Hopefully tonight we’ll finally be able to put an end to the assault on our groceries.

Eventually, the Teton weather forecast indicated a chance of thunderstorms for the next ten days. Even though the rains would probably end up melting the snow, we just couldn’t see waiting around so we threw in the towel and came up with an alternate plan.

Since we’d also discovered that the local mountain biking isn’t so great and that the mosquitoes in the Wind River ranger are as big as birds (plans B and C) our alternate plan D has us happily clipping bolts at Wild Iris, Wyoming’s version of Jacks Canyon.  The weather has been perfect, the camping free & convenient.  Not in the plans, but maybe better than we could have planned.

 *Jackson is the official name of the city located in Jackson Hole canyon.

 ****Climbing lingo below*******

Wild Iris’ short dolomite cliffs at 9000 feet provide fun, varied routes in the cool pine/aspen forest.  Nice, free camp sites are found at the base of the crag.  Apparently this place was the schizzle during the mid to late 90’s.

If you’re in need of an ego boost, step right up as the ratings are pretty soft and the crux’s short.  Ironically, we discovered one of the most sandbagged routes to have been put up by Jack’s developer Jim Steagall.  A couple of our fav routes were: Claimjumper, Annie get your Drill, Red Ryder and Wild Horses Keep Dragging me Away.

The Wild Iris guide book was spot on and the WI gear shop is fantastic with great service and a really cool fact sheet that they’ve put together for out of towners.


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