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We had planned to travel through Yellowstone on our way home but weather reports indicate a rapid change to freezing temperatures and the possibility (or even likelihood) of snow. Without snow tires and having neglected to bring tire chains, we decided to postpone our plans to visit Yellowstone and instead take a more direct route to Idaho and hopefully warmer weather.

Traveling about five hundred miles through western Wyoming today, we encountered one magnificent view after another. We began driving this morning in Gillette, Wyoming, a heavily resource (as in coal) oriented city and followed Interstate-90 to Buffalo where we took state highways to Jackson, Wyoming and then crossed into Idaho. The travel included two mountain passes over nine thousand feet elevation. We were only a mile or so west of Buffalo when we saw the first of several herds of antelope.

Below is a selection of today’s photos.

Snow fencing shows the direction of prevailing winter winds. The purpose: to let drifts form some distance from the highway.

West of Powder River Pass, Wyoming Highway 16. The sign: 25 mph curve.

Magnificent rock formations. The downgrade was six percent with switchbacks for nearly ten miles.

Geologic interpretive signs.

Sign on the east side of Powder River Pass: Bighorn Dolomite. Ordovician. 435-500 million years (ago).

Madison Limestone. Missippian. 330-360 million years (ago).

“Donkeys” scattered across some sectors of the Wyoming landscape. Some slowly move up and down, pumping oil. Others are still. “Played out,” Chuck said.

 

Boysen Dam impounds the Wind River. Down river and north of the dam is the Wind River Canyon with magnificently twisted and layered Precambrian rock.

A picnic place west of Riverton. Very windy but still warm.

Red cliffs long the Wind River (also west of Riverton).

A first view of the Tetons.

The sun’s angle and smoky air drew attention to the shape of the peaks.

As we drove through Grand Teton National Park the angle of the sun changed so that we could see the ruggedness of individual peaks, and the weather system moving in.

It would have been nice to spend more time in the places we passed through today but sometimes it takes more than one trip and the excitement we experienced today came from each new view. I thought a lot about my grandmother who traveled and took photographs even in the 1920s. I have seen her photos of Old Faithful and I wonder whether seeing the famous geyser for myself would give me any insights into what my grandmother might have thought having traveled by automobile to Yellowstone National Park so many decades ago.