“I was born lost and take no pleasure in being found.” – John Steinbeck, Travels With Charley
When Steinbeck wrote Travels with Charley, he was on a journey across America, traveling with his large blue poodle in a camper named after Don Quixote’s horse, Rocinante. Charley had crooked front teeth and communicated his bathroom needs by saying “Ftt.” I was traveling with Rosie, my Australian Shepherd/Husky companion. And she snorts. Like a pig. She’s also the canine version of a Hummer, weighing in at 87 pounds of what feels like pure muscle when I’m at the other end of the leash.
Unfortunately for Rosie, I wasn’t traveling in a large camper but in a car named Fiesta, and she required most of its back seat. But we were going to one of the most beautiful places on the planet, Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Steve was heading to the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, and I decided to join him. Since I could no longer register for the festival, I planned to spend five days camping with Rosie while he attended the conference.
We were behind schedule when the three of us piled into the Fiesta to head for the fest, and we drove late into the night to make up for our dalliance. The changing landscape was lost in the blur of speed and darkness, and we finally turned onto a forest service road a few hours before first light. Too tired to explore, we crammed ourselves into sleeping bags and woke to find ourselves surrounded by silhouetted firs and mountains half-concealed by swirling mist.
Several hours later, I dropped Steve off at the Jackson Lake Lodge, and Rosie and I began our explorations. We found a free national forest campsite with unobstructed views of the snow-capped Tetons to sleep in and spent our days wandering by the edges of creeks flowing through smooth white and mauve rocks. We explored river valleys where rising mist touched the tips of clouds and watched foxes on moonlit nights. One morning I spied two black bear cubs peering from the tops of snowberry bushes and a lone grizzly lumbering between turning aspens. And relishing the wildness and beauty of the Tetons, we, like Steinbeck, had no desire to be found.
Useful Links For Dog Lovers:
Dogs, for good reason, aren’t allowed on backcountry trails in Grand Teton National Park. But they can do their daily sniffing on park roads and hike with you on trails in the adjacent Teton National Forest.