I left early out of San Francisco and started making my way east once again, a direction I haven't driven in over five weeks. During the day of driving on Wednesday, I mostly just tried to crank out miles, but I did make a quick pitstop at Lake Tahoe just to check out what it was all about.
After a seemingly endless drive through Nevada, I arrived in the town of Hyrum, UT around 9 that night to set up my camp for the evening. Hyrum is an interesting community, predominantly Mormon like most of Utah, yet simple in every aspect. It's clear that the people who live there are not concerned with many things. Family and the Church, quite obviously, are the main driving forces in this town and several others surrounding the area.
Thursday I had the goal of getting to the Badlands in south western South Dakota, but drastically underestimated what I ultimately found along the way. I passed through Jackson Hole, WY in the late morning and quickly found myself driving along a stretch of road like nothing I've ever see before in my life. I've never imagined that places like this existed in the U.S.
The Grand Tetons are quite literally one of the most photographed locations in all of North America, but similar to the Grand Canyon, it is one of those places you have to see to really take it in all the way. It is magnificent in every way, shape, and form. I didn't know what to expect, I guess, as my main reason for detouring that far north on my way home was mainly to visit Yellowstone, a far inferior visual stimuli to the Tetons just south, in my opinion. I've never seen anything like them before, but I can easily say that the view alone is already encouraging me to book my next trip back out west.
I spent a considerable amount of time in the Tetons and Yellowstone, consuming most of my day and botching any plan I had of making it to South Dakota. I ultimately stopped in central Wyoming at the Big Horn Mountains, an outlier set of peaks east of the main Rockies.
Early on Friday I woke up with the goal of making it all the way to Minnesota by that night. I finished off Wyoming before 10am, but then entered what is to this point the second worst state I had to drive through (behind Nevada), South Dakota. From Sioux Falls to Rapid City, the town main cities on complete opposite ends of the state, there is 400 miles of complete nothingness. It is rolling hills and cattle farms for as far the the eye can see, and it is really quite boring.
I did, thankfully, make it all the way to Minneapolis on Friday night, and enjoyed a wedding on Saturday for two friends from college. Today, I'm writing this post from Anchorage, AK on summer solstice. Being in Alaska and hiking on the solstice has been a bucket list item for me for a few years now, and I'm excited that I'll be getting to check that one off the list this week. It's currently 12:20 am and it is still very bright out, so I'm going to try my best to get some sleep before a few days in a row of some radio silence on my end. More posts soon to come.