From Grand Teton I drove to
It wasn’t a bad city, and like I said, the Mormon church headquarters wasn’t as weird as I’d thought it would be, but nothing really happened there. Many of the Mormons watched me closely as I took pictures of their church and the surrounding buildings, but none of them talked to me, not even the ones in clothing from the 19th century (orthodox Mormons?) who’d obviously been strategically placed to help visitors.I swam in the Great Salt Lake. The area surrounding it smells of really stank methane, but your toes stick out of the water when you float on your back.
From there I drove to southern
I camped just outside of
I cooked my dinner at the communal stove (KOAs are a little less rustic than state parks) next to a French speaking family who were laughing about the fact that the mother had forgotten to bring lots of things they needed on their
The next day I drove to the
I had no phone service in the park and left the next morning in time to meet Danielle’s plane. I arrived in a small town at the foot of the mountains and saw that I had a few phone messages. Danielle’s flight had been changed, but her Expedia tickets hadn’t been updated. By the time the problem got fixed it was too late and she had to buy new tickets from JetBlue. She’s pretty sure she’ll be reimbursed for the second set of tickets.
When she finally arrived we went out to eat and explored
We slept without the rain fly and saw more stars than either of us has seen in a while, including four or five shooting stars.
The next morning we ate at Waffle House and washed up in the bathroom there (there were no showers at our Rockies campsite.
For lunch we ate at a Sonic. I’d never eaten there before and Danielle had promised to show me how it’s done. About a month ago I drove into a Sonic, determined to add yet another new fast food joint to my growing list, but I got freaked out by the ordering stations and intercom system and sped off in the Odyssey before actually ordering any food. I feel kind of silly about this after seeing how easy it is to get Sonic food, but I still don’t understand why a person would prefer to eat in the car.
From there we drove to
From there we went to Wounded Knee in
The town is within a reservation, as is the
The hand painted sign off to the side of the road tells the story of The Massacre at
Across the street from the sign a dirt road curls past a gift shop (with a sign that says Open, although it doesn’t look like it’s been open in years) and up to the cemetery on a hill.
A female dog who’d just had pups was guarding the cemetery. Except for her, no one else was within sight. She sniffed us and let us scratch her for a minute (her skin was very bumpy and her fur very coarse), then she showed us around the graves and led us up to the church at the far end. In addition to the mass grave from the massacre, there are other more recent tombstones (and wooden cross markers) on the hill.
The place doesn’t look as though it receives many visitors, and aside from a few flowers placed on some of the graves (one of them a young man who died in the early 1900s), everything appears neglected and forgotten.
Before leaving, Danielle insisted we give the dog some water. So we put out a bowl for her and gave her a hot dog. She swallowed it without chewing.
We camped in the badlands that night, in the first free campground I’ve stayed at. The campground was full of grasshoppers and prairie dogs and not many other people stayed there.Danielle got very sick, either from bad food (bison jerky), a lot of heat and sun, or both. She vomited on several prairie dogs and had a rough night in the Badlands.
We took a hike through the Notch trail, and despite taking a wrong turn and climbing halfway up a semi-treacherous slope, we finished in less than the time it was supposed to take. The hills there are made of something that feels as though it’s halfway between sand and rock.