Our trip across the country from North Carolina to Wyoming was mostly just travel time, followed by school time, followed by travel time...rinse and repeat. While our brief stop in St. Louis was all too brief it allowed us a nice break from the motorhome to stay, visit and eat pizza with my college roommate, Mia. Pushing onwards, we arrived in Casper, Wyoming on Saturday. This was our first big stop and first of many adventures yet to come.
Historic Trails West was a stop I found on Harvest Hosts. If you have not heard of Harvest Hosts, it is a membership based company that generally lists free, overnight dry camping sites. The hosts are anyone from private farm owners, to vinyards, breweries, golf courses and museums, to name a few. I see that John Schneider (aka Bo Duke) is a host under this program!! The hosts provide a level, dry camping site and ask for little in return, except maybe a small donation or purchase from the host. Membership is around $90 a year and well worth it in my opinion.
Historic Trails West was a bit of an exception. They offered free camping for clients who booked a trail ride. Not an inexpensive camping option, but one that I thought would offer a wonderful opportunity to not only see Wyoming a bit closer, but to learn about westward expansion and the history of the US. We were not disappointed.
We met up at the National Historic Trails Museum where we were escorted about 30 minutes out of town, to a campsite along the Oregon Trail. There you could see the ruts, still many feet deep in parts, of the wagon trains that journeyed across the US in hopes of a better life in the West.
Our trail ride took us along the Oregon Trail and down to the North Platte River crossing. Here we dismounted at camp for a wonderful campsite meal made over open fires in cast iron dutch ovens. The boys loved the biscuits and beans but nothing could beat the warm peach cobbler served as dessert.
We rode back to our motorhome as the sun was setting over the hills of Casper. That night we camped under the huge Wyoming sky, out along the Oregon Trail. The boys were overjoyed with the experience.
Our arrival to Grand Teton National Park was no less than grand! The welcoming committee of a herd of bison was accompanied by a surprise visit of bald eagles chasing each other over the snake river with the Teton Range as their backdrop.
We decided to chance getting a campsite at Gros Ventre Campground. This is a first-come, first-served campground. Arriving at 4pm was chancing it. We were in luck! We got a campsite!
Located between the entrance of Grand Teton National Park and Jackson, Gros Ventre was perfect for our week of exploring the area.
Our first adventure was taking the gondola to the top of Jackson Hole Ski Resort. Our goal was to hike across the ridge and enjoy the view. Upon reaching to the top of the lift, the affects of the altitude began to take it's toll.
As we began our ascent up the ridge, Aron was plagued with headaches that I attributed to a bit of altitude sickness. At nearly 10,000 feet, the thinness of the air set my lungs on fire. We turned back and opted to have lunch at the cafe instead. A much more "civilized" way to spend the afternoon!!!
I am sure, if you ask the boys, the highlight of the week was the white water river rafting trip out of Jackson. It did not disappoint. Our guide, Zach, was amazing. He let the boys be as crazy and daring as safety permitted. It was a blast. Along the river were bald eagles perched on the rocks, watching us as we passed.
These truely are the mountains of the imagination. The beauty is staggering.
It's been a week of driving and schooling. So far, nothing too exciting. A couple of overnights using the apps that find great free overnight parking. Tonight is the Golden Spike Tower in North Platte, Nebraska. This is NOT where the golden spike is located. The actual golden spike is located in Utah. I guess we will find out tomorrow why this tower is called the Golden Spike Tower.
We are in the final stages of preparing for a year of travel and schooling. The boys are enrolled in Virtual Academy. We are planning on schooling in the mornings and traveling and exploring in the afternoons and evenings. Our first adventure....The Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park. Stay tuned!!!
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