Day 11: Tuesday 16th
We broke camp and left Moab, en route for parts north and east. After a while, we started climbing into the hills. The aspens are really beautiful. The day was spent driving, about 330 miles from Moab to Rock Springs via Rangely and Jensen.
Edit: we stopped at Dinosaur National Monument's Jensen visitor centre on the way, but my diary doesn't include it. Despite having an interest in geology, the relatively short time, uninspiring displays and wet weather meant it wasn't as good as I was hoping.
By the time we got near our intended campsite near Rock Springs it was settling in to serious rain, so Dean decided to stop at an Inn. It was nothing special and as with the tents, Pat and I shared.
Day 12: Wednesday 17th
We left The Inn and carried on North out of Rock Springs towards Jackson, another 180 miles via Farson and Pinedale. Thankfully, as we went North the weather improved from the snow which greeted us in the morning, and at our morning stop for fuel (for us and the van!) it was fairly dry. The lady at the store said they were expecting rain; I suspect that we were only just ahead of the rainclouds. The trip took us into the Rockies, following the Hobeck river, as we were told later, one of only seven rivers in the USA which run from south to north.. We stopped to camp by it's shore at the Lone Eagle Resort, a really well equipped RV (recreational vehicle) and camp ground.
We set up cap by the shores of a small lake in the grounds, which was very pleasant. There was the constant murmur of the Hobeck nearby, as well as the squeaks of choughs? and American robins. Dean had to go talk business with the camp manager, and spent rather longer than we had thought -- when he came back we found out he'd had to do rather a lot of negotiating over the price! Anyway, we had some time until 3pm, when we were due horse riding. Dean, Janette and Cordi went shopping while I went down to the river for a bit. They came back bearing hot dog sausages and buns, and we had a very good meal of hot dogs. Riding was great. I was given "Big Red" who was very even tempered an obedient - most of the time! We set off up the side of the valley, round into a side valley before turning round; the outward trip was fairly boring, just wandering through the trees, although the underbrush had some interesting plants -- sagebrush and ?? . Amy, the guide, was very pleasant, offering to try to name any plants we were interested in. We walked for a while until we reached a meadow at the river's edge, where she suggested we let the horses have the chance to drink. Big Red did, long and slow, so by the time we carried on Bruno and I, who had been at the front, were now at the back, which was good as I could take some photos of the others.
Later on, after we had turned round for home again, Pat had ended up behind me. Her horse, Star, was quite small, lazy, and the saddle didn't sit straight on it. As pat was a rather nervous rider to begin with this made for difficult combination. Anyway, I took Big Red off the trail and told Pat to pass; sadly she didn't, and Big Red got tired and started to play up, in the end kicking out at Pat's horse and bucking me. All was well in the end, except that Pat was now more nervous than ever. Amy took Pat's horse on the end of a rein and led her the rest of the way.
The party carried on, myself at the back. I got quite a few more photos of the group. Big Red nipped the horse in front, carrying Mayumi, but she laughed it off. After that I was quite strict in keeping Big Red a few feet from the back of the next horse, as he had a habit of poking his nose up the backside of the horse in front.
We got back fine, and after a suitable break for cleaning up went over to have the Cowboy meal included in the tour. It was very nice T bone steak with potatoes and sweetcorn, with a very nice lemonade. As meals went it wasn't the greatest, but good anyway. We got changed for a night out and left for our first sight of Jackson.
The valley between Lone Eagle and Jackson is very pretty, although the photos don't (can't?) do it justice. Jackson itself is really nice too, Although it is obviously a "proper" town, with all the normal facilities and shops, a lot of care has been taken, especially in the centre, to keep the style in keeping with tradition and also self-consistent. At first, Cordi and I went off to the cybercafe, which had a number of games computers and a few internet ones. The guy showed me the hotmail email access using IEx, which I used to send mails to mum, folks at work and Nickie. That done, we wandered via "Lees Tees", a T shirt shop with a huge range of designs up to the Million Dollar Saloon, a touristy bar with a decent band, pool tables and some rather unusual bar furniture. The seats were all saddles and in the bar top silver dollar coins had been inlaid in circles around the Bar's logo. I had a Martini (Vermouth) and lemonade at first until the others arrived, then later Janette and Mick (a friend of hers who was in the area) joined us and I had a tequila sunrise, which was quite pleasant. We chatted for a while then played a few gas of pool, which earned me Dean's praise.
Returning back to camp, we were all tired but I think pleased with the way the day went.
Day 13: Thursday 18th
We had a late start today, as we were staying on at the Lone Eagle for another night and the first activity was a white water rafting trip. This was supposed to start at 11.30 at the bus which would take us to the rafts on the Snake River a few miles away. The driver however had heard of some road blasting on the valley road and wanted to start early to avoid it but as the message hadn't got to all involved we had to wait anyway.
The bus driver was quite proud of his radio handle "little satan", giving us a little pep talk while we were waiting. He also gave us some info on the river on the way, such as the fact that the river flow last year was a record-beating 39,000 cfs (cubic feet per second), and that a group of river guides had set out on a trip down during it! The flow when we went was about 12,500 cfs, and the river would normally get to about 15,000cfs. That was quite fast enough or me!
When we had all got into the rubber raft (the air cylinder type) I asked the pilot, Rick, whether he had any hints on staying in the boat. His answer didn't encourage me: "I don't plan on keeping you in it!". Whatever, I ended up in the middle of the boat with a paddle, and we all set out. We were asked to paddle "cowboy" style, that is, one leg in the water, one in the bat. This way you have something to hold on to. Although Mayumi was washed out of the boat she was picked up very quickly.