America Through My Eyes

Yellowstone -3

Telugu Original : Dr K.Geeta 

English Translation: V.Vijaya Kumar

          We left for Salt Lake City at 9 am. We Traveled over 400 miles in a rental car and arrived overnight at our lodge near Yellowstone’s South Gate. There are 2 routes for this trip. One is a fast freeway, and the second one is a nice scenic way though a bit delayed.  We may not have much time on our way back. That’s why we decided to take the scenic route. The route passes through three states.

Scenic Way: After about an hour, we left the freeway and turned into Scenic Way.  All the pleasing spots on this route have been identified in advance, so we have the schedule of where to stop.  One of them is relishing a “raspberry shake”.

          This scenic route passes through Brigham City, Bear Lake, Montpelier, Afton, and Jackson.  It will take about 6-7 hours. But we usually had to stop here and there so it would take another 2 hours easily.

          While leaving Salt Lake City, we bought fresh water bottles, cool drinks, and all such stuff. We prepared everything well with the vehemence of the outside sun and with the previous day’s experience. Varu was entrusted with a task to write the names of the towns, the routes, and the names of the places looking outside through the windshields so that she couldn’t get bored along the way. Varu loves reading and writing a great deal. She could enjoy writing hours together, not distracting her attention from her site. We have a camcorder to shoot the video so that she can record any worthwhile things we come across. She did a great job in her assignment by making a personal travelog solely by herself. Though Siri is pretty young, she also loves books and pens. She also jots down something but what she puts down nobody knows! We stopped our car whenever we felt there was a need or at least once every hour and appealed to children to get down so there were no more cravings from them.

          Passing Brigham City, we entered the mountain range. On the way, we identified a beautiful stream flowing below the road. We decided to spare a while and went down the 10 steps below.  It is the most beautiful place to see. A fine path to walk along is there on the banks of the cool flowing canal.  A little further, there were tables for cooking and a few barbecue arrangements to conduct any small get-together party under the shady trees. The aerial trails of the trees hanging above the water on the opposite side look beautiful, and a small wooden bridge to cross on the other side is appealing. This place seemed a recollection of beautiful scenes that we read in books and dreamed of as a child.  It is like a small ferry. The name of the town is Logan.  We spent almost an hour there.  We had to move from there because we still had 250 miles to go. We spent some time there and took leave from the enthusiasts who were fishing with small boats on the shore.

          I can’t tell you how sad it was to leave the stream, surrounded by the mountains where the clouds reflected amid the green trees. Satya shouted for me to come in five more minutes and took the children ahead, while I was lingering here and there hesitantly. I heard Varu saying to her father, “Is Mommy going to write an ode there now?”

Bear Lake: If we proceed through the beautiful “Cache National Forest” beyond Logan, we will reach “Bear Lake” in another two hours.  As we started coming down from the hills, it began to appear in the distance.  We stopped at the viewpoint from there and saw the beautiful scene for ourselves and went down the hill.  The name of that town is “Garden City”.  This is where they sold the “Raspberry Shakes” that I was very enthusiastic about.

          Bear Lake is a freshwater lake.  It is about 18 miles long and 7 miles wide across the border between the states of Utah and Idaho.  The lake is pale blue and looks like it is competing against the sky. The light blue color is due to the limestone in the interior.  The Garden City valley adjacent to the lake is the largest crop of “raspberries”.  It is a tradition to celebrate the “Ross Berry Festival” every year.

Raspberry Shake: As it was already past lunchtime, we decided to take the “raspberry shake” with us after lunch. We skipped all those busy restaurants, went a little further, and stopped at a small takeout place where kids can play.  We were intensely cheerful to see that they were also selling shakes there. The roof in that small hotel is altogether touching to the head when lifted. There were dollar bills pasted up with countless signatures and stuck to the roof.  Someone might have got this crazy idea to stick to it like that, and then everyone has been followed.  We had burgers and french fries for lunch. They started laughing at me when they saw the “raspberry shake” like an ice cream given in a big disposable glass.  All that stuff cannot be drunk by any single soul, However, it should not be called drinking, it should be called eating. The raspberry flavor and the nuts in the stuff which is like ice cream cum shake, yet, ordering after a meal should never be entertained! When I said this they burst out laughing.

          There are yet so many things to see on that day so we had to move on.

Paris: In another hour, while going ahead beyond Montpellier, a small town called “Paris.”  Because there are many French people in that area, all those areas are named in France. I always wanted to go to France and see Paris. Satya told me,  “Look, Paris has arrived, that’s where it is.”  We stopped the car on the side of the road and got out of the car to take a photo near the big church opposite.  Meanwhile, one of the two elderly men who were sitting in a small booth on the road towards the church came running and introduced himself as a volunteer.  He invited us to visit the church.  Even if the time was short, we decided to go inside to see it in five minutes. It was a Mormon church built in the same manner as seen in Salt Lake City. Although it is small compared to there, it is very beautiful. About 2000 people could sit in that hall at one time and it was never full.  Because the population of that village is only 500, we were surprised at this fact. Both of the elders are prominent businessmen in the town, but they work as volunteers for the church for some part of the day. We talked with them for a while and took our leave.  Paris is located on the state borders of Idaho and Wyoming.

          In this journey, we crossed the states of Utah and Idaho and entered the third state in one go.

          Wyoming is also mostly forested. The first town we saw in the state of Wyoming was Afton. The special feature of this village is the welcome arch in the name of this village from this side to that side of the road.  The arch is built of elk antlers, which are abundant there.  It is also remarkable that this is the biggest arch in the whole world. The large antlered moose in this neighborhood are representative of the elk species.  Every year when summer comes, their horns fall off and new ones grow. The fallen horns are collected and sold in the auction. These are in high demand in the manufacture of drugs around the world. 

Jackson Hole: We reached the town called Jackson Hole around four to five in the evening. This town can be said to be the southern gateway to Yellowstone National Park.

          It is a beautiful town with many features. After eating, we reached downtown.  The central park there is magnificent with elk antler arches on all four sides. The surrounding restaurants, shops, and roads were bustling with people milling around on that summer evening. It is a place that makes you feel refreshed after traveling since morning and not feeling tired from the drive. We have another hour to spare in that place. After that, we have to travel for another hour to our hotel and reach before night.

          So we thought of a plan that could be done in an hour. A tour program was about to start there.  But it was a total 2-hour event. We decided to take the horse-drawn carriage that rides back and forth downtown, and for the ride, we bought tickets and drove two to three streets. In exactly an hour, we concluded our trip and left.

          We decided to stop in Jackson another time and see the rest of the pleasantries.

The Resort & Mosquitoes: We reached our accommodation around seven o’clock that summer evening. The resort is adjacent to Titan National Park which is the gateway to Yellowstone National Park. It is a resort with beautiful structures like tree houses, in rows of trees with big logs surrounding a forest area. As we approached there we said to ourselves, “Wow, what a beautiful location!” 

          However, we did not understand the real mischief until we got out of the car. The formidable mosquitoes from the thickly grown grass around started biting terribly.

          Our cottage is a bit away from there. We didn’t dare to walk from this office to there, so we shoved into the car again briskly. There was no way to escape while carrying the things into the cottage and when we came out for dinner. I bought bug spray instantly from there and sprayed it, but it was no use at all. We were already bitten by them a great deal. Mosquitoes and mosquito bites are not new to us in India! But these mosquito bites are more formidable than I have ever experienced before. I developed a rash that didn’t go away for months after the stings. Those bites during my four days stay in Yellowstone caused me to suffer from fever.  And even in Yellowstone, mosquito bites greatly disturbed us and the entire trip turned into a mess.


(Rest in the next part)

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