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 The Trek: The Journals

•
Team: North
Robert Ashley
Wednesday, September 11
Wednesday, September 11, 2002. KOA Campground, Teton Village.

Hiking and hot air ballooning represent two opposite methods of experiencing the landscape. The effort level in hiking is relatively high, but so is the potential for interacting with the individual components of the environment. On the other hand, ballooning is comparatively effortless, and the rider is a passive observer of the surroundings. From above, though, the observer gets the “big picture”-like looking at a living map-and therefore gains a very different perspective. Each is enlightening in its own way. Combining the two perspectives is far more valuable than the sum of the parts.
As we’ve been at the same camp for several days, we’ve all had the opportunity to look up from the demands of the trek and enjoy our surroundings. Some chose to hike, as I did yesterday; others caught up on their journals, took naps, washed clothes, dried sodden tents and shoes, and even went shopping in nearby Jackson.
My hike was a relatively easy loop to Taggert Lake and Bradley Lake, near the foot of Grand Teton. The trail amounted to only about five miles, and we were in no hurry. Both lakes were formed by lateral moraines of the Taggart Glacier, so the moderate rise in elevation around the lakes can hardly be called foothills of the Teton Range. The Teton Fault is still active, and continued uplift of the mountain block is expected; the valley block continues to drop. The landscape, seen up close, is very interesting. The vegetation is dominated by lodgepole pine and aspen-their leaves beginning to take on an autumnal yellow-but I also saw the last of the Indian Paintbrush’s fading red blossoms and the meadow of white-tufted thistles that will provide food for the tiny yellow finches that dart here and there. We saw evidence of moose and elk, but the only large animal we encountered was a mule deer doe, feeding fearlessly near the trail. Stephen claimed to have seen the “back end” of a bear cub; on our drive back to camp we joined several dozen camera-pointing visitors who had stopped along the road to watch a black bear feeding on berries growing on the hillside. Chipmunks and ground squirrels were common along the trail, and a flock of ducks entertained us at Taggart Lake, where we stopped for lunch. Small, fast-flowing streams are also an important element in this landscape, rushing down the mountain to Cottonwood Creek.
Yesterday I watched from camp as three hot-air balloons rose above the valley floor, floating gently against the background of mountains and early-morning fog. What better place to experience my first balloon ride than this, I wondered to myself, and made arrangements to do so.
It was an extraordinary adventure. Of course, the view of the Teton Range was truly memorable, and the sunrise provided the best light possible for viewing and for photography. I was so eager to see the mountains from the balloon that I neglected to think about the other landscape features. I was very pleasantly surprised at the beautiful view of the braided channels of the Snake River, reflecting the rising sun’s rays. Fog covered parts of the surface, lending a surrealistic awe to the experience, particularly in the almost eerie quiet when the flaming jets were shut off. There was little wind, so at times we were almost motionless and surrounded by the silence.
for Wednesday, September 11
North South Both




Biographical
•
Team: North
Robert Ashley
Bob Ashley poses with school children at the Wyoming Hunting and Fishing Heritage Exposition 2002
. Robert Ashley is a teacher from Illinois.
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List of All Journal Entries
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Thursday, September 26
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, September 24
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, September 21
Robert Ashley
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Friday, September 20
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, September 19
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, September 18
Robert Ashley
Kemmerer
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Tuesday, September 17
Robert Ashley
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Monday, September 16
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, September 15
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, September 14
Robert Ashley
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Friday, September 13
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, September 11
Robert Ashley
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Monday, September 9
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, September 7
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, September 4
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, September 3
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, September 1
Robert Ashley
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Friday, August 30
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, August 29
Robert Ashley
Stoddard Creek (F.S.) campground
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Wednesday, August 28
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, August 25
Robert Ashley
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Friday, August 23
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, August 22
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 21
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, August 20
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, August 17
Robert Ashley
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Friday, August 16
Robert Ashley
Meyer Hill
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Thursday, August 15
Robert Ashley
Aspen Grove
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Wednesday, August 14
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, August 13
Robert Ashley
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Monday, August 12
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, August 11
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 7
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 7
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 7
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, August 4
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, August 3
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, August 1
Robert Ashley
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