As soon as the eclipse was over, I grabbed my hiking gear and headed up the mountain on the Ski Lake Trail!
The first part of the hike was fairly easy, though with a consistent mild uphill grade. It alternates through pine forest and beautiful open meadows with great mountain views.
You might be saying “Gee Scott, these picture are pretty, but they all seem to be close up. Where are the mountain views?” Sadly, I accidentally deleted about ten breathtaking panoramas during editing. They were all Sound Of Music spectacular, and losing them was almost worse than getting stuck in the mud at midnight in Junior.
The Good News is that I’m now shooting RAW on a regular basis, which makes especially outdoor shots a lot better for a variety of reasons. For those unfamiliar, instead of compressing the image like Jpeg does, RAW simply writes down all the data flowing into the camera’s sensors so nothing is lost. This makes image tweaking a lot more effective.
As a consolation prize, I’m ending with this Wikipedia image of Ski Lake, about half way up the mountain.
In addition to being visually gorgeous, the lake was full of these little guys, who look pretty much exactly like big brine shrimp. This is a freshwater snowmelt lake, so there’s not much salt, but they are clearly related.
Here’s a video of them buzzing around through the water.
It occurred to me that brine shrimp, also known as Sea Monkeys, would be a *perfect* van pet! In the wild they only live a few days or weeks, and they almost always die from heat and dehydration. Any experience I could provide for them that’s better than that would be ok with me ethically, they’re easy to care for, don’t take much space, and are very temperature variation tolerant. If I needed to put in a small aquarium heater to keep them warm, it wouldn’t take much power. Having an aquarium in the van would be dope!
I hooked up with a group of four, some of whom were from Idaho, at the lake. I was in such a hurry to go up the trail after the eclipse that I hadn’t refilled my food and water. I still had more than most hikers, but was flagging from the heat and altitude, and feeling a bit lonely. The group, mostly in their twenties and including an adorable Golden Doodle, was interested in my yurting and van adventures. Some of the pictures I lost were of the Doodle with flowers in his hair.
I want you to pause here and really *feel* the loss of those pictures.
Keeping up with them at almost twice their age was a constant challenge, and I was huffing and puffing. The climb above the lake to the ridge, while spectacular, is narrow, steep, and shadeless. If I had been alone I would have taken at least three times as long to make it. This is exactly the kind of conversation, motivation, and safety in numbers I’d been hoping for. One couple excitedly followed me back for the Junior Tour afterward, and were super into my mobile house. I gave them my contact info, but neglected to make a note about *where* they’d met me. It would really be helpful to have some business cards when the Internet isn’t available.
I’m headed back down into Jackson Hole tonight to get some supplies, company, and wifi, then I’ll be rolling out for Yellowstone!