So with the smell of the Salt Lake behind us it was time for a bit more camping. Our basecamp for the night was in Grand Teton National Park and our 8th US State, Wyoming. I’d never heard of the park before but it was a short drive to a more famous park, Yellowstone National Park. The Whole journey was full of sights. From the amazing Rocky Mountains running alongside the road, to the biggest Elk horn arch in a small town called Afton, this trip had it all. A good friend of mine, Nicky P, had been to the States and had fallen in love with Yellowstone. He couldn’t recommend it enough and if we hadn’t of gone, I would never have heard the last of it!
Upon entering the park, we paid our entrance fee and were informed about all the different types of wildlife they have roaming free. There were a lot. But the ones to worry the most about were the Bears. You couldn’t leave ANY thing out. If it wasn’t in the boot of your car, it had to be in special food boxes that were like metal bear safes. You couldn’t even keep deodorant out side. The bears could smell it for miles and wander into your camp to have a nose. Even if you had stuff in your boot, bears have been known to rip a car apart to get to it! I don’t have bear cover on my insurance so I hope that doesn’t happen! We’ve been places before that had bear warnings but here they were warning us like it WAS going to happen. Things to do if you see a bear? Don’t run, make noises, stand your ground and if it attacks? Either play dead or fight back. These things can be 8 foot tall. If you had to fight back – you would not stand a chance but how cool would it be to say you wrestled a bear and won!
Driving through the park, every now and again the traffic would slow to halt. One time, there was a herd of buffalos crossing the road. Massive beasts and there were loads of them. Once they got to the other side of the road, they had to jump over a wooden fence. All but one made it. He tried but every time he did, he just couldn’t get over. The size of this thing, he could have just nudged it and the fence would have collapsed but persistence paid off and eventually he made it. You had to drive very cautiously as these things could run out of the bushes at any moment. I couldn’t get over the fact that they are wild. They are zoo material to me but to see them in the park was a truly amazing sight.
We finally made it to the Colter Bay Campsite; we set up our tent and placed all of our belongings into the bear safes. Our space this time was quite hidden as a large tree had fallen down just in front of where we had put our tent (not while we were there though). There were tents in our area, but you couldn’t really see anyone else as trees surrounded us. One thing I had noticed though, was the pollen in the air. It wasn’t that noticeable unless you had a newly cleaned black car! The car was covered in a thin green powder. You’d think it would come off in the wind but it didn’t. As it was still quite early and hot, we decided to drive down to the tourist centre and walk a trail. It was near a lake that gave me a great opportunity to get some amazing photos. While Stef was filling up the water, I looked at the map to see what we were doing. Stef met me and we walked a good 20 minutes to the start of the trail. However, it wasn’t. I had led us in the completely different direction to where we should have been. I don’t know why I am trusted to do things like this as I have proved many times during this trip that I am hopeless at taking in information! One day Stef will learn, however, she’s not that great either. It’s like the blind leading the blind! We walked back to the other end and after a short walk, we decided we were just too hot to walk around the bay which was a 2 hour trek. We jumped back into the car and went back to the tent.
We could have bought some firewood for the bonfire at the shop but I wanted to do this all by myself. Any fallen wood is fair game so I went around our little site and collected all the wood I could. It took me about 20 minutes to collect all the wood but by the time I had finished, Stef had done dinner. We had to eat it quick, as we didn’t want any bears smelling the food!
It was getting dark and was perfect for me to see if my campfire building skills were up to scratch. Using a few matches (I know that’s cheating but one step at a time), I lit a few parts at the bottom. Within seconds, the flames were high and the heat was intense. We grabbed our chairs from the boot of the car and sat down. Instantly, it began raining. Not just a soft mist, it was like stepping into a shower. It had been sunny all day but it couldn’t have timed itself any worse! We were running around like headless chickens trying to pack up all our stuff and put it in the safe. We had no choice but to run for cover into the tent and watch our fire from afar. It was that good of a fire that it managed to keep going for a good few minutes in the rain without going out.
With nothing else to do, we decided to watch a film on the laptop in the tent. A bit in to the film and we heard a noise. It was a bear’s roar and it was coming from right outside our tent. We both sat up and looked at each other. I know they say you have to make noises to make the bear aware that you are there, but we were trapped in a tent that had only one zipped up exit. If it didn’t know we were there then it shouldn’t bother us. Would it? As we were sitting there in silence, there it was again. A roar that I would never forget. Our hearts were beating so fast that I’m surprised the noise of it didn’t attract the bear! I had to look out of the tent. The door had a little window that you could unzip. I was slow and quiet. I edged the zip millimetre by millimetre as not to get the bears attention. If I died, trust me, I’d be haunting my mate Nick till the day he died – who tells someone to go to bear infested woods? With a small gap in the window, I could see it. There it was. Just outside our tent. It was a clear as day. It wasn’t a bear. It was the couple next door using a knife to cut open some cardboard boxes. The tearing noise was so loud, it really sounded like a roar. Stef and I instantly fell to the floor laughing. There we were in fear for our lives and we were scared of a bit of paper! It was absolutely hilarious!