We stayed in Pray, Montana because of its’ proximity to Yellowstone. Our goal was to drive through Yellowstone in daylight. Because we were heading through to Jackson, it was $50 for a weeklong pass that allowed us entrance into Yellowstone National Park as well as Grand Teton National Park. I did the driving again, so that when he intermittently got reception JZ could finish up some working. Queen Bee was still an issue during this driving day. She actually ended up in JZ’s lap at times, we tried letting her head poke out of her carrier, but ultimately she was still miss cranky pants and was put back into her carrier for most of the drive. Despite the discontent of Queen Bee, the drive into Wyoming was amazing.
Yellowstone did not disappoint! We were up close and personal with a couple herds of buffalo. They crossed the road in front of us and even walked right down the middle of the road, just doing their thing! While we didn’t get to see more wild life than the buffalo, that in itself made the experience epic! Old Faithful was just that- faithful! Right as we walked up she began to shoot up and we got there just in time to see the show. Apparently, others had been waiting over an hour. Then, after leaving Old Faithful, right as night was falling, we passed Yellowstone lake. We wish we could have done some more exploring around the park; but even just passing through it was still so amazing. Yellowstone is on our list of places to vacation to as a family later on in life. Regardless of whether we ever make it back though, our experience there was a good one.
Unfortunately, “our experience there was a good one” will not be said for the rest of our Wyoming adventure. Usually, we start each leg of travel by playing one of “our songs”- On the Road Again by Willie Nelson. We self proclaimed this as our theme song during our bike tour in 2009 (to re live that amazing adventure visit lotsofbiking.blogspot.com). Well, we forgot to play our song when we left Montana, and call me superstitious, but I have since made sure to play that song every time we head out again. To start off, the arrival into Jackson was exhausting. Driving in the dark, worried about hitting antelope, and moose, and buffalo, and elk, and any other number of exotic forest animals is stressful on the driver (aka, ME). Then the meowing; oh the meowing. But alas we arrive to Jackson, Wyoming late Wednesday night. Thursday (day) in Jackson was actually quite pleasant. JZ road his bike into town and worked from a co-op. Little Monkey and I rode our bikes into town later and met him for lunch. We all had a very nice day exploring the cute little town of Jackson. I had discovered Cache Creek trail and decided that we should do a family hike with the dogs when JZ got off work, then go into downtown Jackson and enjoy a nice dinner, since we were leaving in the morning. Well, early into the hike, everything went array.
Apparently, Jackson does a chuck wagon touristy event in the evenings that we did not know about. They bring in covered wagons and reenact cowboys vs. Indians type situation, finishing off with a big cook out. One of the horses bucked toward V2, we grabbed V1 in time to put him on the leash, but right at that moment the Indians began hollering and V2 took off. I ran after V2 and as he approached a fork in the trail the gunshots went off. I continued after him, always just a step behind. The day turned into the night though, a storm came in, and we couldn’t find our precious pup. We had to leave him out there. The search and rescue continued for 5 more nights! We were at our wits end deep into a nightmare that we couldn’t wake up from. Finally, after racking up a hefty hotel bill, hiring an animal communicator, calling for prayers from around the world and essentially turning V2 into a celebrity with our pleas for help, ready to call in professional animal trappers, finally, after 5 nights away, the call came. Tuesday morning JZ’s phone rang. Our prayers had been answered! We had our fairytale ending and we are all reunited! Having combed every.single.inch of Jackson, I will be happy to never see that town again.
The experience wasn’t completely bad though. Jackson is a beautiful place. The people there are amazing. Almost everyone went above and beyond to help us find our pup, and we even made some lifelong friends in the process. The kindness and generosity that one particular couple showed us was out of the world. It was the kind of experience that makes you stop, look at your self, and want to be a better a person. Because of their kindness and generosity we even got to stay at the Grand Teton Lodge for a couple of nights while we recharged and prepared to leave. It wasn’t just the people in Jackson though. Even our own friends showed the depth of their friendship by offering to drive out from California to help. Our parents were extremely helpful financially and supported us in every way they could to help us get V2 home. Although a nightmare, it was also one of those experiences that reminds you how grateful you for your life, family, and the life you choose to live.
While we won’t be going back anytime soon, we could possibly revisit the idea of vacationing in Jackson again someday. Without the animals.
So, what was meant to be a two-day visit turned into a nine-day ordeal. It didn’t matter though because we were reunited. As a family, very happy to be together, we said goodbye to our new friends, to Wyoming, and set off for Colorado.
On the Road Again,
Kato’s Zoo Crew