There were two times today I wanted to scurry to my phone and blog an experience but I could not so I hope I remember the facts. We stopped in J-Hole to do laundry, drove thru town, saw a ton of tourists walking and looking around and I drive us straight thru and OUT of town, north, to see what was out in the country. I never liked cities very much. Too many people, too much service industry and too much concrete and brick. Also reminds me of what my father told me when I left home for college decades ago - Son, just remember, there are alot of assholes out there.
Anyway, we leave the city and drive north about five miles and I see a sign for a campground. We had passed back into the Teton National Park and the sign was very simple. Off to our left we can see the ice pack capped Tetons so I turn right for the campground. It is the middle of the day and Yellowstone is only 50 miles away, but damn the torpedos, I go to the camp grounds. It is four miles east but soon we pass a herd of buffalos right there! Cool! We move on and find the campground along a running rocky bottom river. We decide to get a spot. The lady in the office is from Tennessee so we talk about the South and she sets us up with a spot with a great view of the mountains. There are vast expanses of scrub and sage along the flats and everything is pretty arid. The sun is intense in the middle of the day. We are two miles above sea level.
I take Sum and E to the river and the paths thru the scrub and sage aren't exactly well defined but we get to the river. No one is there. Every ten minutes new campers roll in but no one is going to the river. We were told all about bear behavior etcetera and I look up and down the shallow flowing river but see nothing so we wade into the rush. It is not to fast or deep to worry about the kids if we stay at the sides but the water is COLD. We dunk ourselves and try to skip rocks that look like potatos and when I think we have had enough sun we make our way back to our RV site... no hook ups, but we emptied and topped off the various fluids necessary at Rim Station.
So here is where the first blog moment happens. Kris takes the kids on a walk around the park roads while I gather firewood for the fire pit. I get enough kindling and a few branches but I have no logs. I take a break and get my binoculars out and decide to go glass for some animals. Our camp is on a flat just above the river bed. Just above our spot is another flat about ten feet higher. I walk up to that level and about 80 yards across the sage and scrub is another rise in the land just above a sparse row or trees. I start walking. I figure the higher the level the more I can see.
I am wearing surf shorts, a white t-shirt and flip flops. I am carrying binoculars... that is it. I don't mind the scrub or the rocks and I have not seen a snake since we were launching the raft in Colorado and one slithered right in front of me. I didn't tell anyone or they would have dropped the raft. So I am nearly to the sparse tree line and the next rise in the land when right in front of me, 20 feet away, a brown mass stands up and stares me down. In a split second I think, I have a pair of binoculars to defend myself and flip flops to run in, but I see it is a male mule deer with horns, in velvet, that would rival any Mississippi whitetail deer. It just looks at me. I look at him. He looks at me. I turn and bend over and act like I am eating sage. He does the same. I walk away a bit and keep acting like I'm eating sage and he stays right there in the shade of a poplar tree and eats and watches me. I walk a little farther away and up on the next level of land and glass around with the binoculars to see what there is to see. The mountains are awesome. I find several dry logs from a fallen tree and choose two to carry back to camp but first I watch the mule deer stiil standing there. I glass him and watch his O ring open up and drop maybe 50 pellets on the ground. Nice. He seems pretty relaxed. I shoulder up my logs and hike back to camp.
The family is not back so I grab my phone and hustle back to the mule deer and walk right up to him lying in the shade in the same spot as before. I take a bunch of pictures and make some racket to get him to stand, take more pics and then he bounds slowly away as I take a few more pics. What a thrill.
The second blog moment was with me and the kids sitting around our fire. We were giving ourselves Indian names. I called Ethan, Chief Ethan Feather. I called Sum, Summer Talks Alot but she didn't like it even though it fits perfectly. Then Ethan asks what my name is and I say Chief Daddy Dog but we didn't like it so I say Chief Harry Bear or Hair Bear as Mrs. Culley used to call me, but... Summer says Chief Harry Bear is a terrible name... and she thinks and then says, You are Chief Harry Cock!!!
I had to stand up and walk to the RV where Kris was resting and tell her right away and get my laughing out. The kids had no idea what Summer had said, thank the Lord. So we agreed on Chief Hair Bear and left it at that.