For the last month it has been incredibly smoky from all of the nearby wildfires. For a couple days it worsened until we could not see the mountains at all. It was like re-living Mt. Rainier when the cl0uds would come in and you would never even guess there was a large mountain right in front of you.

For days the air would be semi-clear during the dawn and dusk hours, but around noon the smoke would be so thick even Donoho Point was but a silhouette. A bunch of people here have had sinus problems. To the east of us one of the culprits can be seen – a great cloud of smoke billowing into the air, from a fire in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. It’s close but contained.

When the smoke cleared several days ago, it was like when you get miserably sick and then recover. You appreciate your health so much more! As if apologizing for being watercolor silhouettes for so long, the mountains were vivid and glorious. And the sky was incredibly blue, and the clouds… it was all amazing.

Had that sky always been that dark blue?

I didn’t work until 5pm yesterday, so made an adventure for myself. I walked along the shore of Jackson Lake to the dam, and from there cut through Willow Flats towards Jackson Lake Lodge. This took a bit more time than I thought it would – I started out in shallow, green grass and had to wind a bit around bushes, following animal tracks. I made a lot of noise crashing through the brush, which was good as that area was well frequented by animals. I came across several small streams that were easy enough to cross and finally, as the lodge grew larger, came to a large field of thick grass that was up to my waist and very difficult to step through.

Finally, I reached the lodge, where I ate lunch and used the fast internet to Skype my family. When I headed back to Signal, I walked on the road. I had had my adventure through the brush but now my legs were scratched enough, thank you. It reached 4 o’clock and I knew that to get back for work on time I would have to hitchhike. So I said a prayer that I would not be picked up by a murderer or rapist and stuck out my thumb. Quite a few cars passed by but finally one stopped. Praise the Lord, it was a sweet, elderly couple from England. They dropped me off at Signal Mountain and insisted I take a British newspaper with me (they brought them to give away), and several UK coins. Thank goodness, that all turned out all right – and I was back in time for dinner & work.

Tomorrow I don’t work until 5pm again, and I will spend the time packing. Friday morning I will be heading up Cascade Canyon, walking behind the mountains and through the Alaska Basin, before heading back down Death Canyon. I am planning on spending Friday night and Saturday night in the mountains, and coming back Sunday before my evening shift.

By myself? Yes, no one else had the same days off or was free for a backpacking trip. But I don’t mind. 🙂 I am very excited and ready to head off – the last couple nights I have slept restlessly, as my mind zips around planning everything I should pack.

I will be documenting the trip so I’ll give you a full report when I get back. 😉 Praise the Lord it’s clear now – I should have some great views!

Well it’s gorgeous outside and I am off of work so the whole evening is before me – time for this blog post to end.

-Sarah

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