Monday, August 17, 2009

Jackson Hole - Day One

Rather than wake up at the crack of dawn and start our vacation with bleary, bloodshot eyes, Andy and I caught an 11am flight out of O'Hare and even got to go down the Puff Daddy terminal before stopping at the Vosges chocolate store and picking up some Garrett's popcorn. 10am is not too early for a caramel and chocolate covered marshmallow, in case you were wondering.

The flight was an easy one, and before long, I could see this out my window.

I snapped this photo just before the mean, United flight attendant growled at me to turn off my camera. He even made me show him the screen to prove that it wasn't still on. Apparently I have a shifty, disobedient look about me... he was right. We had to circle after getting beaten to the runway by another plane, so we flew right by the tetons and my camera finger was itching the whole time. Though I was pretty sure hitting the power button wouldn't bring the plane down, I reverted to my former student self and sat quietly with my tray table up and seat fully upright.

We were warned against taking photos upon exiting the plane as well because I'd imagine many vacationers can't wait for that first photo of the peaks. Because of this, you get no photo of the thing I really wanted to shoot: The tiny Jackson Hole airport with no real gates and an antler arch you walk through to get to the "airport" (which really just looks like a ranch house that's been added on a few times with a couple runways built out back).

We got our cute little compact car and were on the road in minutes thanks to Andy running straight to the growing car rental line while I waited for our suitcase. I kept trying to take photos of the mountains around Andy's big head.

We met up with Jenny, Chad and the rest of the crew at Dornan's to get our first view of the teepee and to grab some sandwiches before heading over the mountain, through the small town of Victor, Idaho and along some dirt roads to our cabin. If you don't have to bump over rocks and dirt to get there, I'm not interested. This was the road leading up to our cabin and one of our views from the deck.

The cabin was even more beautiful and awesome than we thought. It did come with a bit too much wildlife, which I found after stepping out our back door and almost squashing two small snakes slithering frantically into the nooks of the cabin foundation. On the bright side, it helped prepare me for the other couple snake sightings we had on the trip.

Mine and Andy's room was Western-themed, but I really loved it because it was on the lowest level and stayed the coolest.

The kitchen was amazing and looked out onto our back deck.

Our back deck looked out onto this.

We'd stopped in Victor to pick up some beer, fearful that we'd end up with a horrible grocery store selection like in Nederland, CO last year. (3.2 beer. Blech!)

After settling in, which involved Andy getting friendly with some pieces of the cabin's decor:

We headed to the closest grocery store to grab some food for the week.

Coming straight from our CSA produce, Andy and I were feeling very veggie friendly and even bought some beets to grill up that night while everyone else got sausages for Chad to cook.

We chose poorly. Beets don't cook very well without being wrapped in aluminum foil (something we forgot to pick up from the grocery,) and after 60+ minutes on the grill and hard-as-a-rock beets, we sliced them and sauteed them in a last ditch effort to save our meal. Smothered in balsamic vinegar and goat cheese, they were edible.

Lesson learned--our meals for the rest of the week centered on sandwiches and items that could be taken straight out of the refrigerator and consumed.

We had some fun on the deck waiting for the beets to cook, though. Jenn even managed to stay out for awhile before the insects swarmed around her, waiting to feast on her flesh.

Everyone was still adjusting to mountain time, so pretty soon after dinner (which included about a half pound of cherries and tough beets for me and Andy) and some delicious Grand Teton Brews, we headed to bed early to prep for our long drive to Yellowstone the next day.

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