After leaving Afton, I pretty much stuck to the road- until I passed the tourist town of Alpine. Then, I reached the Grand Canyon of the Snake River. As with our Grand Canyon in AZ, Wyoming’s draws rafters by the busload. No matter; although hordes of tourists are a concern for conservationists, long-term, the presence of lots of other people has never bothered me much. I don’t go in for trinkets and mementos of a visit to a tourist mecca. I would buy things for my son, or for a certain special friend, but neither of them are very big on junk, either. So, I don’t stand in long lines much at all.
Jim Bridger, for whom the Bridger-Teton National Forest is partially named, along with the Teton Range of the Rocky Mountains, was a “mountain man” in these parts during the mid-19th Century. Every school child in Wyoming and Montana is sure to learn a fair amount about Jim and his close ties to the indigenous people of the northern Rockies.
The Snake and Gros Ventre Ranges, and the river itself, captivated the hordes of rafters, and me. The Gros Ventre show themselves on the south and east banks of the Snake River.
As the river broke through the heavy forest growth, at the raft and kayak put-ins, I walked down for some views of the grandest river in the northwest Rockies, save the Missouri.
A visitor from New Zealand called me over and pointed out some better views of the open flow. He is a home builder, by profession, and does his own architecture and design. The Renaissance Man lifestyle has not disappeared. In my afternoon years, with my sun still bright, I am always glad to meet such people and explore their views, much as I explore landscapes and build new friendships.
As he left to rejoin his “mates”, I enjoyed the views to which he was referring.
My mindset was healed somewhat by the magnificence. I look back on the hour or so that was spent here, just taking in the ambiance of the river and its mountain backdrop. The message is clear- “Gary, remember the song, ‘May It Be’, from The Lord of the Rings- ‘The promise is within you now’. ”
There would be so much more- Promise, doubt, regrouping and fulfillment, as the quest continued.
Next: Grand Teton National Park