Monday, January 31, 2011

Idaho Falls? I'm in Idaho Falls?

Well, I was. Taking a break from insanity, I went to Idaho Falls to visit a friend. Eighteen hours by bus, leaving late in the afternoon, arriving at noon. When I got out at the 2am stop, I realized something. There was snow on the ground. Yes, intellectually I knew there was snow in Utah and Idaho in the winter. But I'm from Los Angeles. We keep our snow sensibly on the mountains, and go visit it from time to time. We don't live in it.

Snow there was. I got some great pictures of snowy mountains and houses and reflections in the window of the passengers on the bus. My camera was of the type that sucked its lens back in when turned off, so having an attachable filter was a non-starter. But the pictures remind me of the trip. They don't have to be shared. [*sniff*]

So for a week, I stayed in Idaho Falls, where the temperature never got above freezing. The house was warm, the company marvelous, the futon couch comfy if difficult to get out of. I was introduced by my host and his two sons to anime. I enjoyed it very much. It snowed several times, but nothing substantial. Enough to make snow angels. I could ask no more.

My host, Bob, took me on a tour of the highlights of Idaho Falls, which took all of an afternoon. I did get some pictures of the Falls of Idaho Falls, which were lovely all frozen over. I also meandered around the neighborhood taking pictures. [Here]I found when I got home that I had managed to gather a collection of prints of various creatures meandering thru the snow. Find them here.

On Sunday, Bob and I took off fairly early for Yellowstone. It was quite likely Yellowstone was closed, but since I was in the area, I wanted to go as far as I could. So off we went, thru the Grand Tetons and the snow. I took five thousand pictures, well, ok, 4,990, of pine trees covered in snow, gorgeous vistas as we topped a hill, trees covered in snow, and lakes and rivers and mountains and trees covered in snow.

Jackson, WY, was fun. Touristy, but fun. We did in fact make it all the way to the south entrance of Yellowstone, which was closed. But driving the roads of the Grand Tetons National Forest with nobody else on the road was a delight. I got a great example of how to drive on ice and snow without having to flinch about running into someone else. It was a tad slippery.

We took the long 'way round, coming in to Jackson. We took 26 to 89, then north thru Jackson. When we came home, the GPS said the shorter route was over Teton Pass. I don't do really well on twisty mountain roads, but I was fine with Teton Pass. I couldn't see over the side because the snow had been piled at least 8 feet high. Part way up the pass, Bob flipped a switch, saying 4-wheel drive is for wusses, but in this case it might be wise. I gave him a startled look and asked, have we been driving without it all along? Yup, said Bob.  Swell.

We did stop sliding around so much, which was good in the face of oncoming traffic. There were a couple of places where the two lanes, one each way, got very... shall we say, friendly. Fortunately when we went around the "friendlier" corners, there was no oncoming traffic. One of the niftier sights along the pass was the crowd of skiers along the side of the road. The vans were letting them off there, and were going to pick the skiers at the bottom of the hill.

The following day, my day of departure, the trees were covered in frost crystals. None of the pictures I took captured the incredibleness of trees seemingly covered in diamond crystals. Ohmy it was gorgeous.

At noon, I got back on the bus, headed south. My days of frost and snow were over.